Greek yogurt is also known as strained yogurt, yogurt cheese, labaneh or dahi. Greek yogurt, even fat-free Greek yogurt, is higher in protein, thicker and richer than traditional fat-free yogurt. It contains probiotics, which are healthy active cultures that aid digestion, as well as other nutrients found in traditional yogurt, such as calcium and phosphorus.
Fat-free Greek yogurt has a consistency between that of traditional yogurt and cheese. This is because, during processing, it is strained in a cloth or filter, traditionally made of muslin, to remove most of the whey. Yet Greek yogurt retains its distinctive sour taste. Greek-style or strained yogurt is a traditional food in southern Asia, the Middle East and Eastern Mediterranean regions. This versatile fermented dairy product is appropriate for eating plain or using in sweet or savory dishes.
Basic Nutrient Values
The fat-free version provides the fewest calories of the Greek yogurts. Single serving Greek-style yogurts typically come in 5.3- or 6-oz containers. One serving of plain or unflavored, fat-free Greek yogurt provides 80 to 100 calories, 15 to 18 g of protein, 6 to 7 g of carbohydrates, 0 g of fat and 60 to 80 mg of sodium. Fat-free Greek yogurt comes in a variety of flavors, such as honey and vanilla. Fat-free honey Greek yogurt provides 120 to 150 calories, 13 to 16 g of protein, 0 g of fat, 18 to 20 g of carbohydrates, 17 to 20 g of sugars and 50 to 65 mg of sodium per 5.3- and 6-oz serving, respectively.
Fat-free Greek yogurt comes in several fruit flavors, either infused or mixed into the yogurt, as an add-on in a smaller container or on the bottom to stir in before eating. Typical fruit flavors include blueberry, strawberry, raspberry and peach. Occasionally, a more exotic fruit flavor, such as pomegranate, is available. A 5.3- to 6-oz serving of fat-free blueberry Greek yogurt provides 120 to 140 calories, 13 to 14 g of protein, 0 g of fat, 16 to 20 g of carbohydrates, 15 to 20 g of sugars and about 65 mg of sodium, respectively.
Vitamins and Minerals
Fat-free Greek yogurt is high in calcium, riboflavin or vitamin B2, phosphorus and other nutrients. One serving, depending on the brand and size, meets 20 percent of the recommended daily value, or DV, for phosphorus; 15 to 20 percent for calcium and riboflavin; and 10 percent for vitamin B12. Fat-free Greek yogurt contains some thiamine or vitamin B1, vitamin B6, pantothenic acid and magnesium. Calcium and phosphorus are essential for forming and maintaining teeth and bones. Riboflavin aids in energy metabolism or helping to convert food into energy. Along with vitamin B12, riboflavin aids in the production of red blood cells and supports nervous system function.
Greek yogurts contain twice as much protein as traditional yogurts because it takes more milk to make 1 pound of Greek yogurt versus the same amount of traditional yogurt. Yet Greek yogurt is lower in sodium, carbohydrates and sugars because these nutrients are removed along with the excess whey. Protein-rich foods are satisfying, which is helpful for weight management, and fat-free Greek yogurt is a beneficial choice for those monitoring their carbohydrate, sugar or sodium intake. Similar to traditional yogurt, Greek yogurt contains live active cultures that promote digestive health. Because it is not as runny as traditional fat-free yogurt, Greek yogurt makes a suitable healthy substitute for sour cream.