Thick and creamy Greek yogurt is catching on. What used to be a specialty food is now a product of major food manufacturers and available in all supermarkets. To make Greek yogurt, milk is fermented with live bacterial cultures and then strained of liquid whey, resulting in the thick and tangy-tasting concentrated finished product.
Though full-fat Greek yogurt is a rich source of healthy nutrients, it's high in saturated fat. Consider eating fat-free or reduced-fat Greek yogurt instead. For one serving, which is equal to a 7-ounce container, of Greek yogurt, the general nutrition facts are as follows:
- Calories: 190
- Fat: 10 grams
- Carbohydrates: 6 grams
- Protein: 18 grams
High in Saturated Fat
Full-fat Greek yogurt is high in saturated fat not only because it's made from whole milk but it also becomes concentrated when the liquid whey is drained during production.
A 7-ounce container of plain full-fat Greek yogurt from Fage contains 190 calories; 90 come from 10 grams of total fat, of which 7 grams is saturated fat. That equals 35 percent of the daily recommended limit of saturated fat for a 2,000-calorie diet.
Saturated fat raises cholesterol and increases the your risk of heart disease. The American Heart Association recommends limiting your intake of saturated fat to no more than 6 percent of your total daily calories.
Packed With Protein
Full-fat Greek yogurt is a good source of protein, a nutrient you need to include in your daily diet. Your body needs protein to build, maintain and repair your skin, hair, bones, muscles, cells, enzymes, organs and every other tissue.
A 7-ounce container of full-fat Fage Greek yogurt contains 18 grams of protein, which is 36 percent of the daily value for a 2,000-calorie diet. The Institute of Medicine advises adults to get about 0.7 grams of protein for every kilogram or 2.2 pounds of body weight; that equals approximately 51 grams, if you weigh 160 pounds.
Read more: The 6 Best Yogurts and 4 to Avoid
Good Source of Calcium
Greek yogurt loses some calcium when the whey is drained but it's still a good source. A 7-ounce container of Fage full-fat Greek yogurt contains 25 percent of the daily value of calcium, a mineral you need for healthy bones and teeth, blood clotting, muscle contraction and normal heart rhythm.
Men ages 19 to 50 should aim for 1,000 milligrams of calcium daily and 1,200 milligrams after age 71. Women ages 19 to 50 should get 1,000 milligrams daily and 1,200 milligrams after age 50, according to MedlinePlus, the website of the National Institutes of Health.
Contains Gut-Friendly Probiotics
Full-fat Greek yogurt contains probiotics, live bacterial cultures, which may have positive effects on your health. Yogurt's probiotics may strengthen your immune system, protect you from gastrointestinal infection, decrease your risk of osteoporosis and fight certain cancers.
In addition, the lactose intolerant can eat yogurt because the bacterial cultures break down the lactose in milk. The probiotics remain live and active — and remain beneficial — only if the yogurt isn't heat-treated. The National Yogurt Association advises consumers to look for the "Live & Active Cultures" seal on yogurt packaging.