Hey Angels and Alphas,
Every person who cares about their health and nutrition has at one point grabbed a spoon and dug inside a bowl of some thick Greek Yogurt. This meal has been on the rise in recent years due to it being high in protein, cool, creamy, and convenient. Most of us can already agree that there are plenty of reasons to love it. It has double the amount of protein of regular yogurt and seems to be a very healthy snack.
But may dietary and environmental factors can turn this treat into sour milk, meaning you may need to think about reconnecting with good ol’ regular yogurt instead.
What is Greek yogurt, really?
To make a serving of Greek yogurt, you strain plain yogurt to get most of the liquid out, a cloudy brine of lactose and whey. And not all Greek yogurt is created equal – the amount of removed liquid will largely determine its nutritional content and thickness.
Similar products might include labneh, a yogurt cheese that comes from the Middle East, thick enough to be spread with a knife. One other alternative is skyr, a very thick yogurt that comes from Iceland, usually made from strained nonfat yogurt.
The many health benefits of Greek yogurt.
About 200 grams (or 6-7 ounces) of whole-milk Greek yogurt clocks in at about 200 calories and a massive 18 grams of protein… all for just 8 grams of sugar. This makes it a thrilling breakfast option and a snack that treads lightly on your daily diet.
Cooking with it is also amazing since it can take the place of sour cream, cream cheese, crème Fraiche, be used in baking or just about anywhere. Greek-style yogurt is super thick and variations such as labneh can stand on their own as appetizers drizzled with healthy olive oil.
With pretty much minimal effort, you can make Greek yogurt at home. All you have to do is line a fine-mesh sieve with a piece of cotton fabric and place that over a catch bowl.
You then pour regular yogurt into the cloth and allow all the liquid to pass through. The longer you let it set, from one hour to a couple of days, the thicker it will become. You can leave it at room temperature so it can get a tangier taste, or you can refrigerate it to reduce its bite.
You can use it in smoothies, cooking, cocktails, or in cooking instead of lemon juice. Some people also use it for making pickles. Others swear by it as a way to rinse their hair to give it extra shine.
The good, the bad, and the ugly.
Because Greek yogurt is much more dense than regular yogurt, you’re going to be paying more for that extra protein boost. And it might not be just your wallet that’s doing taking the price – it could also be your teeth.
Flavored Greek yogurts contain high amounts of added sugar and could be treated more like dessert than anything else. If you simply can’t take it straight, use fresh fruit, a spoonful of low-sugar jam, or even a scant drizzle of honey.
Not only that, but it’s not all Greek yogurt that’s as wholesome as the label promises. Rather than straining yogurt, some manufacturers might rely on added thickeners like gelatin or cornstarch to make the yogurt more viscous.
If you make yogurt this way, it won’t have the same nutritional value as the real deal.
One of the biggest problems with the rising uptick of Greek yogurt consumption is the overabundance of its waste products. Uneaten lactose waste and whey liquid are the leftovers from most cheesemaking.
One other leftover is sweet whey – it has countless uses in industrial food processing, including protein powder dietary supplements. But the acidic whey that actually comes from Greek yogurt production has limited use in the agricultural chain.
A tiny amount of it can be used for farming, but the majority of it ends up being dumped, and its acidity is harmful to the environment, especially in large quantities.
Even though we all love and cherish Greek yogurt since it’s healthy and high in protein, we might be much better off if we reach for delicious regular yogurt instead. Especially if we’re worried about the environment or just want to avoid the possibilities of harmful added sugars and other additives.