Product Review: Greek Yogurt vs. Regular

For those of you who know Sade, my feelings on Greek yogurt will resonate with you…

I can’t hate you, though I have tried… Ohhohohhhh…

I still really, really love you

Love is stronger than price

I heard the crew on the Weight Watchers message boards raving about Greek yogurt for a couple of years, but I dismissed it when I saw the prices in the dairy section of my grocery store. “Regular fat-free yogurt will do just fine for me,” I told myself.

Out of a bit of boredom with the food I was eating, I decided to give Greek yogurt a try a few months back. And? I haven’t bought plain yogurt since.

Fat-free, strained Greek yogurt has roughly the same nutritional profile as the regular fat-free yogurt, except in one key area: protein. This is what the LA Times had to say about the difference between Greek and American yogurt:

In many ways, Greek yogurt looks like the ideal health food. A 6-ounce serving of Chobani nonfat plain Greek yogurt, for example, contains 100 calories, 18 grams of protein, 20% of the recommended daily value of calcium and 7 grams of carbohydrates. The same size serving of Dannon All Natural nonfat yogurt may have slightly fewer calories (80) and some more calcium (30% of the daily value), but it’s got half the protein (9 grams) and almost double the carbohydrates (12 grams).

In other words, Greek yogurt stays winning as a lean protein.

For me, it’s not just the protein boost that has me gaga for Greek, but also the consistency. Because Greek yogurt is strained, it is much thicker than the yogurt I’m used to. Like sour cream thick, depending on the brand. I haven’t yet, but I know some people do use Greek yogurt as a substitute for sour cream in recipes and as a topping. For me, the thickness makes me feel like I’m eating something much more decadent than it really is.

My regular supermarket carries four brands of Greek yogurt: Fage, Chobani, Oikos and Cabot. So far, I have tried Fage and Chobani fat-free yogurt. (I haven’t tried Oikos yet because the package size is smaller and won’t last me a week; as for Cabot, I haven’t tried it yet because I haven’t seen a fat-free variety at my grocery.) Hands-down, I gotta ride with Fage. It is expensive (about 7 dollars for a 32-oz. container, vs. about $5 for a comparable container of Chobani), but it tastes much thicker than Chobani.

Fage (pronounced Fay-yeh, from the container), comes with a paper over the top of the yogurt, which I’m guessing means you could actually invert it and sit in your fridge for a little bit to strain some more liquid out of it. I will have to try that some time. Chobani is not quite as thick as Fage, but it is still thicker than unstrained yogurt.

I like to eat Greek yogurt for breakfast, with cereal mixed in, and fruit mixed in or on the side. Cereals I use include Kashi Go Lean Crunch, Kashi Heart to Heart, or Multigrain Cheerios (For all of these, I go with a full 1-cup serving or a half cup, depending on how hungry I am.) The other way I like to enjoy Greek yogurt is in the classic combination of honey and yogurt. As a dessert, I eat a half cup of the Greek yogurt with one tablespoon of honey mixed in.

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