What is Greek yoghurt and why is it different to normal yoghurt?
Yogurt comes from milk that has had healthy bacteria added, causing it to ferment. During this process, it thickens and takes on a slightly tangy taste. Yogurt is then strained through a cheesecloth, which allows the liquid whey part of milk to drain off. Regular yogurt is strained twice, while Greek yogurt is strained three times to remove more whey (leaving a thicker and creamier consistency).
Greek yogurt has almost double the protein of regular yogurt.
Greek yogurt has fewer carbohydrates than regular yogurt.
Greek yogurt is lower in sugar than regular yogurt.
Greek yogurt has half the sodium of regular yogurt.
Greek yogurt can also be used in cooking as it does not curdle when heated like regular yogurt.
Always choose full-fat yoghurt. Yes, read that again, full-fat! Fat is satiating, so full-fat yoghurt will keep you fuller for longer. When food manufacturers take out the fat, they usually replace it with sugar to give it flavour and texture. Fat won’t make you put on weight, but sugar will. Full-fat dairy contains fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K which all have a multitude of health benefits. These are all removed from fat-free yoghurts.
Don’t buy flavoured yogurt, they contain too much sugar. Flavour it yourself with fresh fruit.
Buy yoghurt that is actually made in Greece. In this country, if the yoghurt is not actually made in Greece, it must be called ‘Greek-style’ or ‘strained’ yogurt.
Some proper Greek yoghurts can be a bit more expensive but I recommend Waitrose Authentic Greek Natural Strained Yogurt which is lovely and only around £1.50 for 500g.
I haven’t tried it yet but in Scandinavia, particularly Iceland, a similar product called Skyr is produced.