In the past few years, frozen yogurt has become an increasingly popular food. With its creamy texture, thick consistency, and boasting more protein than regular yogurt, it’s no surprise that Greek yogurt has expanded to a wide variety of products on the shelves. From shelf stable products like cereals or covered pretzels to Greek frozen yogurt ice cream, are the commercial products that contain this tangy yogurt just as healthy as Greek yogurt itself? Read on to find out if Greek frozen yogurt is everyone’s answer to dessert!
What Is Greek Yogurt?
The processing, flavor, and nutrition content of Greek yogurt differs greatly from regular yogurt. Greek yogurt has been strained, and the whey is removed; which yields a thick and creamy product. It is also tangier than regular yogurt. Its thick consistency allows for it to easily act as a substitute for many ingredients. For example, Greek yogurt can be used as a substitute for recipes that call for whole milk, sour cream, or even cream cheese! (Try Fage non-fat, plain Greek yogurt for a healthier alternative to cream cheese. It’s thick consistency allows it stay in tact yet spreadable on toasts!) Compared to regular yogurt, most Greek yogurts have higher protein and calcium content and lower added sugar content. Note that calcium content can vary depending on the brand and flavor of the yogurt. When food shopping, check the back of the nutrition label to see the percentage of calcium that the product contains. Typically it can vary from 20-50% calcium.
Is it Healthier?
With it’s reputation for being healthier, a recent trend is that people have been substituting Greek frozen yogurt for ice cream or frozen yogurt. But is it really healthier or just as healthy as Greek yogurt itself? Here is breakdown of some popular items’ nutrient compositions:
From the information above, you can see that Chobani non-fat Greek yogurt has the least calories as well as the most protein. Instead of focusing on the calorie content however, note that the protein content is what really sets Greek yogurt apart from the frozen products. The protein will increase satiety—essentially helping to keep you feeling full, longer—and it won’t spike your insulin. Compared to its frozen counterpart, this makes Greek yogurt a great everyday food choice for those who may have diabetes or are insulin resistant. And if you’re looking to reap the health benefits of Greek yogurt, enjoy it straight from the container or use it as a healthy alternative for recipes like salads, dips, and even cheesecakes!
It’s important to recognize that while Greek yogurt itself can be a nutritionally dense and tasty food, know that not every Greek yogurt product is going to have the same nutritional value. Unfortunately, the labeling of the product as “Greek frozen yogurt” may create a perception that it provides the same benefits as regular Greek yogurt. Products that claim to contain Greek yogurt (whether frozen or shelf stable) often contain added sugars like syrups or candy pieces, and fillers, which increase the saturated fat and dwindle the amount of Greek yogurt that is actually in the product.
Despite the differences between Greek yogurt or Greek frozen yogurt, the takeaway is that it is perfectly OK to enjoy Greek frozen yogurt (or simply ice cream!) sometimes as a snack or dessert. Remember, here at Eating and Living Moderately, we believe in enjoying all foods in moderation and balance!