We all know how dairy products are important in our nutrition for protein, calcium and vitamins. Milk, cheese and yogurt are some of the favorites. Just like there is low-fat or skim milk or low-fat cheese like cottage cheese, there are also low-fat alternatives for yogurt.
One of them is Greek yogurt. Greek yogurt is also known as strained yogurt since water and whey have been stripped during the production process. This is why it’s thick, smooth, creamy and a bit tangy.
This type of yogurt is popular in the Mediterranean diet and is a healthy food choice for anyone on a muscle-building or weight loss diet.
The plain Greek yogurt can be pretty gross for many people but there are other flavors like strawberry, blueberry which are better tasting. Adding honey, berries, walnuts, dried raisins or dried cranberries in your Greek yogurt will definitely improve the taste. Greek yogurt has many advantages over regular yogurt. Here are some:
High in protein – Greek yogurt has more protein than the conventional yogurt. With 12-22 grams of protein per cup as compared to 4-9 grams per cup for regular yogurt, it’s no wonder the Greek yogurt is gaining popularity among fitness and weight loss enthusiasts. A protein-rich diet builds muscles and helps burn fat while leaving you satiated for hours. Hence, there is no need for unhealthy snacks and binging.
Low in fat – fat has more calories than other nutrients like protein and carbs so people who want to lose weight can eat Greek yogurt on a regular basis. In a typical 8 oz serving of low-fat Greek yogurt, there are 120 calories which is ideal for a weight loss diet whereas in a 8 oz serving of regular fruit yogurt, you have 230 calories. In addition, consuming regular yogurt too often is not very healthy due to its saturated fats which is about 5 grams per 8-ounce serving. Saturated fats raise bad cholesterol levels(LDL) and also blood cholesterol levels known as triglycerides responsible for coronary heart diseases.
Low in sugar – cutting sugar is crucial in any weight loss program. Too much sugar in your bloodstream cause a spike in insulin levels making you more prone for fat storage. You should reduce your sugar intake if you want a slimmer waistline. Greek yogurt has 6-8 grams of sugar per 6 oz serving as compared to 12 grams of sugar for regular yogurt.
Low in carbohydrates – anyone on a weight loss diet should cut back on carbs as too much carbs promote weight gain as excess glucose in your blood is converted to adipose tissue. For a 6-ounce plain and non-fat Chobani Greek yogurt, there are only 7 grams of carbs whereas the conventional yogurt has about 15 grams of carbs.
Low in sodium – wherever there is sodium, there is water. Water retention is one of the reasons for weight gain. For health reasons, too much sodium isn’t good as it can cause high blood pressure. Greek yogurt has 50% less sodium than regular yogurt.
Lactose-free – some people are lactose intolerant and as such, they tend to get side effects like gas, bloating, stomach cramps, diarrhea when consuming products containing lactose. Since Greek yogurt is lactose-free, this is a healthier alternative for them.
There are many types of Greek yogurt like full-fat, low-fat and fat-free flavored and unflavored. For a healthier choice, better opt for the low-fat or fat-free versions. Greek yogurt can also be added to your whey protein shake to thicken it and make a nice smoothie, used in muesli, potato salads, salad dressings, meat marinade, french toast and in making panna cotta, berry pops, various desserts and delicacies.
Author Bio: Jean Lam is a fitness enthusiast and enjoy exercising and building muscle fast while paying attention to proper nutrition. He also has an avid interest on weight loss topics notably ways how to lose weight quickly by adhering to healthy nutrition and regular exercise.