It Is All Greek To Me

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Greek Yogurt vs Regular Yogurt…Which is more Healthful? First to be clear: Both Greek and Regular yogurts, in their plain, non-fat or low-fat forms, can be part of a healthful diet. They are packed with calcium and live bacterium cultures. But our Mediterranean friend has elbowed it’s way onto refrigerated shelves everywhere. Why so popular?

The Greek yogurt is creamier, has less sugar and tangier, which makes it more desirable  Greek yogurt is strained extensively, removing the whey, lactose and sugar. You know the verse: Little Ms. Muffet, sat on a tuffet, eating her curds and whey…like most, I had no idea what whey was! Well, it is the watery byproduct of dairy manufacturing. It is used by farmers as livestock feed and fertilizer and also is an ingredient in dietary supplements. When removed, the yogurt becomes thicker, therefore a creamier product. It takes three times more milk to make a cup of Greek yogurt. This makes Greek yogurt have a higher protein content. A typical 6 ounze serving conatins 15-20 grams of protein! That is triple the amount of Regular yogurt. The only downside to Greek is the fat content. If you have high cholesterol and you want to go “Greek”, stick to the fat-free versions.

The company Fage, with their successful marketing, was the first to infultrate our western world with Greek yogurt. Now a $4.1 BILLION yogurt industry, Fage is still my favorite. There are now are so many companies making Greek yogurt that it can be an overhelming choice at your local market. Please take the time to read the ingredients so that you choose the appropriate yogurt for you. Many of the companies have added sugars, like the popular Chobani. Choose wisely.

So what do these companies do with the leftover whey?  Known in the industry as “acid whey,” it should not be just dumped into the rivers. Although not necessarily poisonous, they acidity provides a risk to the fish and plant wildlife. My favorite Fage, feeds their whey to the city’s wastewater treatment plant, where anaerobic microorganisms convert the wates to renewable gas that can be used as an energy source. Pretty cool, huh?

So Regular or Greek yogurt? I have jumped on the bandwagon…Opa!

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