Greek yogurt has taken a huge chunk of the Québec yogurt market and now comes in a wide variety of brands and flavours.

Creamy and high in protein

Greek yogurt differs from “regular” yogurt by its creamy texture. The difference is due to the manufacturing process, which removes a portion of the liquid from the yogurt, leaving a solid, high-protein residue. For the same portion size, Greek yogurt has twice the protein of regular yogurt. This process also gives the yogurt a creamy taste even though it is made from skim milk.

A premium price

Because liquid is removed, the production of Greek yogurt requires three to four times the amount of milk as traditional yogurt, which justifies its higher price.

High nutrient value

The technique Greek-yogurt manufacturers use to remove water from the milk before producing the yogurt has an effect on its nutritional value. For example, the traditional drip technique results in the loss of some of the calcium and lactose contained in the milk, whereas a different technique preserves these two nutrients.

The table below compares various plain Greek yogurt brands on the market. The table uses the “fat free” variety when available, or the lowest-fat version if a company does not produce a “fat free” product.

Nutritional Value of Plain, Fat-free Greek Yogurt Compared to Regular Yogurt
Per 175 g (175 ml or 3/4 cup) Protein (g) Carbohydrates
Calcium (%  DV*) Vitamin D (%  DV*)
Plain, regular yogurt1 8 12 30% 0 to 35%
Astro Original, plain, fat free 17 7 14% 0%
President’s Choice 18 12 50% 0%
Iögo Greek 18 7 50% 35%
Liberty 17 6 20% 0%
Oikos (Danone) 17 7 20% 0%
Skotidakis 18 10 45% 0%

* percentage Daily Value; that is, the percentage of the amount you need daily
1.  the nutritional values of similar products on the market can vary

Choosing a Greek yogurt

Like all milk products and alternatives, yogurt should help meet your requirements of calcium, vitamin D, protein and other nutrients (vitamins A and B12, potassium, etc.), with the lowest fat possible. Remember: the saturated fat in milk products is considered harmful to heart health.

One serving of plain Greek yogurt (3/4 cup or 175 g) should contain at least:

  • as much calcium as regular yogurt, or 30% of your Daily Value (DV)
  • 2% or less fat
  • vitamin D, especially if you do not drink milk or enriched soy drinks

The ingredient list should be short: skim milk, bacterial cultures. Note: Greek yogurt with 2% fat has some added cream.

Benefits for a diabetic

If you have diabetes, it may be better to choose Greek yogurt because it contains fewer carbohydrates than regular yogurt. In addition, its higher protein content will make you feel full more quickly. Greek yogurt can be a delicious breakfast food that also adds more protein to a meal that is often lacking sufficient amounts.

Some studies show that people with type 2 diabetes would benefit from consuming an adequate amount of protein at each meal to prevent or slow the loss of muscle mass that occurs with aging. By replacing high-fat foods, Greek yogurt can reduce the caloric count of your meals. If it is also eaten as a substitute for foods high in saturated fat, fat-free Greek yogurt can also reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Some ways to incorporate Greek yogurt into your diet

Plain Greek yogurt can replace all or some of the higher fat ingredients, such as cream, oil, cream cheese and mayonnaise, in many of your recipes without affecting their texture. Use it for dips, served with sliced raw vegetables or baked pita chips; in marinades for poultry and fish; or to replace sour cream in tzatziki. Greek yogurt can also be used as a base for creamy salad dressings and added to purées or creamed vegetables.

For a snack or dessert, add a drop or two of vanilla to Greek yogurt and use it to top your homemade fruit salad, or sprinkle Greek yogurt with cinnamon and use it to garnish a plate of sliced apples or baked pears. At breakfast, add it to your homemade muesli or muffin recipes. A few spoonfuls of Greek yogurt added to regular yogurt will give it a more velvety texture.