The first time I had Greek yoghurt, I thought it didn’t seem like diet food at all.
It was one day in May, and I had paired it with a strawberry on a hot early summer afternoon.
It was one of my first trials of a “diet regimen,” and I remember thinking that the combination wasn’t so bad.
The creaminess was reminiscent of the texture of ice cream, but the acidity of the fat-free version made me nauseous, compared to the overwhelming sweetness of the creamy but sugary yoghurts I was used to.
Today I’m past that impasse, and I know that associating Greek yoghurt is legitimately delicious, and I’ve been eating it almost every day since for more than three years.
Many people snub it, in part because they’re not aware of its many benefits, but there are several key benefits of Greek yoghurt worth knowing about.
What are the different types of Greek yoghurt?
As a result of the process of turning milk into yoghurt, Greek yoghurt has one additional fermentation step and one more filtration step than regular yoghurt, which is why it is thicker and creamier.
In fact, more milk is required to produce it and it contains less water but more nutrients.
In its original, less-filtered form, whole Greek yoghurt contains the highest fat content, approximately 9 grams per 100 grams.
This results in a higher calorie intake but also provides a greater sense of satiety over time, thanks to the balanced fat-to-protein ratio and a fuller flavour profile, which is lost in the 5% or 2% skimmed versions along with the reduced calorie content.
Greek yoghurt 0%, on the other hand, which is the most popular option, is clearly less calorific due to the absence of fat, but consequently tastes more like cream cheese than soft yoghurt.
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What are the benefits of Greek yoghurt?
The benefits of Greek yoghurt primarily stem from its high bioavailable protein content which helps maintain lean body mass. Additionally, its low (or even absent) sugar and lactose content make it suitable for people with diabetes or dairy allergies.
The probiotics, also known as lactic acid bacteria, within it contribute to the balance of intestinal flora, facilitate the absorption of vitamins and minerals in the body, balance the metabolism, and also reduce abdominal bloating.
Greek yoghurt has a high concentration of minerals including calcium, but also water-soluble B vitamins and vitamin A (retinol), also the amino acid leucine, which increases the sense of satiety and decreases the need for continuous snacking, a feature that makes this yoghurt suitable in diets to lose weight but also for those who have busy lives and want to feel full for a long time.
Why Greek yoghurt at breakfast decreases hunger pangs
When eaten in the morning, Greek yoghurt ensures protein intake right from the start of the day, and keeps blood sugar levels at bay.
Your metabolism starts differently when you have a breakfast of Greek yoghurt rather than something like a cappuccino and croissant.
Something sugary like the latter contains complex sugars that need to be digested, causing your body to experience fatigue as it uses energy for these processes, meaning your energy and attention drops right when you need it.
Greek yoghurt is the key to a balanced breakfast without going without anything because you get the same creaminess but vitally cut out the sugars that cause the post-fasting nighttime glycemic spike.
Personally, since I stopped dieting and kept trying new combinations by mixing cereals, fruits, fats like natural nut butter, even adding a few cookies here and there, I am no longer hungry 1 hour after breakfast, and I finally understand what is meant when we talk about bioavailable foods that are easily digestible by the body right away.
Interesting recipes and pairings with Greek yoghurt to make it less acidic
A lot of people aren’t fans of Greek yoghurt because of its apparent acidity. Yet as explained above, this varies according to the amount of fat contained within the food: the less there is, the closer the taste is to that of a cream cheese. Greek yoghurt is a rich and extremely versatile food, which is why you need to test and try it in all its versions before understanding how much it can be used in cooking, without being afraid of making dishes too acidic.
For sweet flavours, one combination that can’t be be beaten is having it drizzled with honey and a few nuts. Likewise, combining chocolate and fruits always works well, from strawberries and berries to tropical fruits such as mango and papaya.
For savoury options, on the other hand, Greek yoghurt is the perfect base for creating sauces with fresh spices, for example the beloved yoghurt sauce from Middle Eastern countries created with yoghurt, salt, mint, lemon and oil.
Equally, amazing dips that make for excellent appetisers can be made with Greek yoghurt, for example by mixing Greek yoghurt, chopped spinach, garlic, lemon and saffron.
Greek yoghurt is a great ingredient to add into things like omelettes, helping to bolster heir protein content and add some creaminess.
Likewise, it can be used to add more flavour to sweet and savoury doughs by substituting butter and eggs, for example in pancakes or bagels – allowing you a lighter alternative without having to sacrifice the dough’s fluffiness.
This feature originally appeared in Vogue IT.
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