Is all Greek Yogurt equal?

Most of us have heard of greek yogurt, or at least seen the product in the store.  But what is it? And why is it more expensive than regular yogurt?

What is greek yogurt

Before looking at the price, it's important to know that greek yogurt is.  Yogurt has two majors parts, yogurt and whey.  To create greek yogurt, regular yogurt is strained to separate the yogurt from the whey.  Whey is mostly milk plasma that is acidic and contains most of the lactose. Straining off the whey from yogurt creates a thicker more protein filled substance called greek yogurt.  The process is so simple you can even make greek yogurt at home.  Click here to read how.

Why is greek yogurt better

Now that we know what greek yogurt actually is, what are the benefits of greek yogurt versus regular yogurt?  The first benefit would be the lower amount of lactose in greek yogurt.  People who are somewhat lactose intolerant may find it easier to digest greek yogurt than regular yogurt.  Because greek yogurt is more dense, it has about 25grams of protein per serving (depending on the brand).  Along with more protein, there are great amounts of B12, potassium, iodine and calcium.  The best benefit of greek yogurt is the live probiotics.  Probiotics help the digestive system stay help and run efficiently.  The standard for yogurt to be healthy is to have 100 million cultures of probiotics per gram at the time of manufacturing.

What yogurt to buy

Because of the greek yogurt craze, there are many different brands available now.  It's important to understand the spectrum of best to worst greek yogurts to buy.  Using the process of elimination, the first yogurts to eliminate would be any yogurt that contains added sugars or fruit.  The second yogurt to avoid would be any non/low-fat yogurt.  To understand the importance of dairy fat, read my last article here.  So the best greek yogurt is full fat, no additives, and has multiple live cultures of probiotics (read the label to check for probiotics).  I would be weary of any brand that does not list probiotics in the ingredient label. In my opinion, two brands of greek yogurt that have been tried and true for quality are Chobani and Fage.  Although they have a higher price tag than other brands (plus more tart and sharp taste),  the quality of the yogurt cannot be denied.  These two brand are best for both price and quality. 

On a final note, dollar for dollar, the amount of calories in full fat greek yogurt is cheaper than almost any protein powder you can buy.  My advice would be to eliminate the protein powders and eat some greek yogurt after your workout.

Kevin Molenda