Got Greek yogurt?
What’s all the craze about Greek yogurt? Find out why Greek yogurt is becoming so popular.
February 25, 2013 - Author: Diana Hassan, Michigan State University Extension
Guess what the hottest-growing food category of all time is? Greek yogurt! According to a report by UBS, a global financial service company, sales of Greek yogurt are doubling every year. So what exactly is Greek yogurt? While its name indicates it is from Greece, it is actually very popular in many other cuisines such as the Middle East, South Asia and Mediterranean. Simply put, Greek yogurt is a term describing strained yogurt. The process of making Greek yogurt is by straining out liquid whey, which creates a denser form of yogurt. When you taste Greek yogurt, the first thing you’ll notice is its consistency, which is thicker and creamier than regular yogurt.
So how is Greek yogurt different than regular yogurt nutrition-wise? Both types in their plain, non-fat or low-fat forms can be part of a healthy diet. Nutrient wise, Greek yogurt contains more protein, which keeps you full longer and contains fewer carbohydrates. Six ounces of Greek yogurt contains 15-20g of protein versus nine grams in regular yogurt. Greek yogurt also contains half the carbs of regular yogurt (5-8g) versus 13-17g. Keep in mind that the sweetened variety that appeals to most consumers may contain high amounts of sugar. When the whey is strained, some of the calcium is lost from Greek yogurt, making regular yogurt a slightly better source of calcium. Pay close attention to fat content in Greek yogurt since it varies among brands.
Greek yogurt is very versatile. It can be ate as a sweet snack by adding honey, fruits or jam, and it can be used as a cooking ingredient in many recipes. Michigan State University Extension suggests using Greek yogurt as a healthy substitute to butter, cream cheese and sour cream.
Before reaching for your favorite sweetened Greek yogurt, give plain Greek yogurt a try, add your favorite fruit with a drizzle of honey and enjoy a savory, low-fat, protein-rich dessert. If you enjoy trying new foods, try this refreshing Greek tzatziki sauce or side dish that can complement your grilled meat and vegetables or sandwiches.
Greek tzatziki sauce
2 cups non-fat or low-fat plain Greek yogurt
1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded, shredded or diced
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil (optional)
1 Tbsp fresh or 1 ½ t dried dill or mint
Mix all ingredients together in bowl. Cover and refrigerate one hour. Enjoy!