Whether your goal is to trim up your waistline, gain lean muscle or both, Greek yogurt can help you. Chances are, your local grocery store already carries Greek yogurt and may even stock several kinds. Different brands may leave you confused over which Greek yogurt is the best to support your health and fitness.
Susan Bowerman, assistant director of the UCLA Center for Human Nutrition, explains the popularity of Greek yogurt, "It has all the benefits of a high-quality protein without the fat and without the calories." Anyone on a low-calorie, high-protein diet can add Greek yogurt. Barbara Davis, vice president of HealthFocus International, a market research company that studies nutritional trends, states that that the number of people purchasing high-protein foods like Greek yogurt has nearly doubled since 2004.
Vicky Newman, director of the Healthy Eating Program at the Moores' Center for Cancer at the University of California at San Diego, suggests you look very closely at the nutrition labels and pick the Greek yogurt that is low-fat or non-fat. The regular version or "full-fat" version can have up to 20 g of fat with 16 g coming from saturated fat. The "flavored" Greek yogurts are not too healthful either, as these types tend to be high in sugar and calories. Your best bet is the plain, non-fat Greek yogurt. If you want to sweeten it, add fresh fruit.
Comparsion to Regular Yogurt
Plain, non-fat or low-fat Greek yogurt is generally more healthful than regular yogurt. Greek yogurt will generally have significantly more protein and significantly less carbohydrates per serving. Many popular regular yogurts have added sugars in the form of high-fructose corn syrup according to Clemson University and the Psychology Department at Princeton University. High-fructose corn syrup encourages your body to store fat significantly more than regular sugar. Both Greek yogurt and regular yogurt contain live bacteria cultures, often referred to as "probiotics," which may promote digestive health and boost your immune system.
Weight Loss With Greek Yogurt
Eating Greek yogurt will not make you directly lose weight or burn fat. Non-fat, plain Greek yogurt, however, is a high-protein and low-calorie food that can be substituted for foods with high calories from saturated fat or simple sugars. Substituting regular yogurt with non-fat Greek yogurt may be a good start. For example, snack on a medium bowl of non-fat Greek yogurt with strawberries and bananas instead of potato chips dipped in a cheese dip to remove a significant amount of calories from your diet. Vicky Newman encourages you to experiment with Greek yogurt beyond as a breakfast food.