Whether you hear it from your friends, family, advertisements, or nutritionists, the obsession with Greek yogurt is hard to avoid. According to the consumer market research group Packaged Facts, Greek yogurt’s share of the refrigerated yogurt market has risen to 35 percent, up from what was a measly 1 percent in 2007.
There is no place more infatuated with the the creamy, tart dairy product than our very own NYC. In fact, New York now surpasses California by more than 100 million pounds of yogurt production thanks to Greek stuff. So what is all this hype about this type of yogurt and is it worth the fuss?
The difference between regular yogurt and Greek yogurt is that they strain out the whey for the Greek stuff, making it extra thick and creamy. “And because they’re removing the whey, there’s less sugar, fewer carbohydrates, and a lot more protein compared to regular yogurt.” says Karen Roth, clinical nutritionist and founder of Karen Roth Nutrition in Los Angeles. Click here for a nutrition face off between 2% Greek yogurt and organic low-fat yogurt. And if those fat contents frighten you a bit, keep in mind that you can easily buy non-fat Greek yogurt as well!
While yogurts are excellent sources of calcium, potassium, protein, zinc, and vitamins B6 and B12. A typical 6-ounce serving of Greek yogurt contains as much protein as 3 ounces of lean meat–up to 19 grams! Also, it contains probiotic cultures and is lower in lactose and has twice the protein content of regular yogurts.
So where can you find this tasty snack that will not only satisfy your sweet tooth but keep you fuller for longer and help prevent weight gain? Greek yogurts are everywhere, but watch out because there is not much regulation on the term “Greek” and many food producers are labeling not-so-Greek products “Greek.” So when it comes to choosing a product that is truly Greek and not just packed with corn starch and milk-protein concentrate, there are a few steps you can take:
Read the ingredients. The best thing for people to do when shopping for Greek yogurt is to look at the product’s ingredients list. It should contain only milk and live active cultures.
Steer clear of the shelf. Other yogurt companies and food producers have jumped on the Greek bandwagon by falsely labeling themselves as Greek. Packaged foods like cereal and granola bars claim to contain Greek yogurt but certainly do not have the same health properties as real yogurt. These products often have a lot of added sugar, and if they’re sitting on a shelf, they most likely do not contain live cultures and, thus, are really just a sweet treat masquerading as a health food.
3. Make sure the label says contains live cultures. If you want to ensure your yogurt is packed with probiotics—which have been show n to promote digestive health, boost immunity, and even prevent yeast infections—make sure the label says contains live cultures, rather than made with live active cultures.
Also, check out Chobani that just opened on 150 Prince St in Soho. Not only do they serve real Greek yogurt with a number of addable toppings, but they also have a carefully selected menu of other healthy foods including eggs, granola, and lox.
So head to your nearest deli, grocery store, or check out Chobani and jump on the Greek yogurt bandwagon if you haven’t already. Your taste-buds and more importantly your body will thank you!