Dispelling nutrition myths, ranting, and occasionally, raving


Leave a comment

Grocery store lessons: Greek yoghurt

PicFrame

I’ve extolled the virtues of Greek yoghurt in the past. It’s a pretty great source of protein at up to 18 grams in 3/4 of a cup! Of course, once something gets popular you know that the knock-offs aren’t far behind. I think that nearly every brand of yoghurt now has their own line of Greeks on the market. Unfortunately, many of them aren’t actually Greek yoghurt.

True Greek yoghurt is made by straining regular yoghurt so that you’re left with a thick creamy yoghurt. This separation of the whey (that’s the watery stuff that’s strained out) leaves the Greek yoghurt rich in protein but also removes some of the calcium… It can’t all be good, right? While a serving of plain yoghurt has about 30% of your daily recommended calcium, a serving of Greek yoghurt only has about 15% of your daily recommended calcium. But I digress…

What’s wrong with the “knock-off” Greek yoghurts? Well, they’re not strained. Instead of just containing milk and bacterial culture they add thickeners like carrageenan, corn starch and pectin to achieve a thick Greek-style creaminess. They also add milk protein to bump up the protein content but from the ones I’ve seen that still only puts them at 8 grams of protein per serving. That’s actually less protein than you’ll find in many traditional plain yoghurts. Most of them also tend to be targeted at the “dieting” community so they’re sweetened with artificial sweeteners. And lest you think “at least I’m still getting the calcium I would from traditional yoghurt” you’re probably only getting about 10% of the Daily Value.

If protein and a thick creamy yoghurt are what you’re looking for make sure to check the ingredient panel as well as the Nutrition Facts Panel to ensure you’re getting exactly what you bargained for. When it comes to yoghurt ingredients, less is definitely more.

*The photo above shows the Nutrition Facts for a traditional Greek yoghurt and a “knock-off” Greek. Can you tell which is which?


1 Comment

Grocery store lessons: Honey Bunches of Oats Greek Yogurt Honey Crunch

greek-yogurt-honey-crunch

I’ve noticed a proliferation of Greek yoghurt “product” on grocery store shelves recently. Capitalizing on the popularity of Greek yoghurt, the food industry is now making “Greek yoghurt” cereals and granola bars. But do these products provide you with the same benefits (i.e. protein and probiotics) as eating actual Greek yogurt does?

One of these products is Honey Bunches of Oats Greek Yogurt Honey Crunch. Essentially, this is a flake-type cereal with a smidgen of yoghurt flavouring. “Greek yogurt powder” is the 20th ingredient; not exactly prominent. It’s also important to note that it’s a powder. Even if this “yogurt” still contained any live probiotics (which is highly unlikely) the miniscule amount included in this product is not enough to provide you with any of the health benefits you would obtain from eating actual Greek yoghurt. The same goes for protein. There is only four grams of protein in a 3/4 cup serving of this cereal. In comparison to plain Greek yoghurt which can have as much as 18 grams of protein per serving, and even flavoured Greek yoghurt which generally has 8 grams of protein, this is not a whole lot of protein. To put this in perspective, Shredded Wheat (which consists solely of wheat) contains six grams of protein per serving.

Aside from the yoghurt factor, looking at the overall nutrition profile of the cereal, it’s still not a great choice. The second ingredient is sugar. Keeping aware that sugar is also included in other forms and ingredients further down the ingredient list, it may actually be the most abundant ingredient in this cereal. Honey Bunches of Oats Greek Yogurt Honey Crunch boasts that it’s a “source of fibre”. Um… 3 grams of fibre in a cereal is nothing to boast about.

My advice: don’t fall for these Greek yoghurt products. If you want to obtain the nutritional benefits of Greek yoghurt, eat actual Greek yoghurt.


2 Comments

Greek yoghurt

Oops, I forgot to write a post yesterday. Sorry about that! I hope you managed to survive all right without me.

I thought that I’d write a little bit about Greek yoghurt today as there’s been some recent lobbying in the US to make it separate from regular yoghurt on their My Plate food guide.

People often ask me if Greek yoghurt is a healthy food and if it’s really any better than regular yoghurt. This is one of those foods that lives up to the hype. As long as you’re getting the low-fat or fat-free Greek yoghurt (and preferably plain) you’re making a great choice. Greek yoghurt generally has 14-18 grams of protein per serving. Which is about 2-3 times as much as traditional yoghurt. However, if you’re buying the individual, fruit-flavoured portions you may be getting less protein (and lots more sugar); make sure that you read the nutrition facts panel. As far as other nutrients go, there’s not a whole lot of difference between Greek yoghurt and other yoghurt. All yoghurt has bacterial culture. Greek yoghurt is essentially regular yoghurt that’s been strained so that it’s extra thick and creamy.

If you don’t like plain yoghurt mix yours with some fresh or frozen fruit for a snack or part of your breakfast. I also like to use Greek yoghurt in place of mayonnaise in recipes. I’ve had great success using it to make a curry “mayo” for salmon cakes, and in potato salad.