Fermenting cow and goat milk was a method of preservation hundreds of years ago, helping to prolong the shelf life of food. Strained yogurt, also known as Greek yogurt, removes some lactose sugars, as well as water and salt. The result is a thicker yogurt with increased protein in comparison to regular yogurt. Simultaneously, the strained yogurt is lower in both carbs and sugar. So far so good, but is Greek yogurt good for you?
Well, let’s not go so fast! Today’s commercial products actually take shortcuts rather than following the traditional methods of preparing Greek yogurt. So, you’re actually not getting all the benefits our European ancestors did when they made their yogurt. Commercial yogurts are thickened with specific thickening agents. These agents are one of the following: corn starch, condensed milk, or gelatin, among others. Keep that in mind when you think you’re eating the very best.
In truth, with the modern commercial methods used to make and brand Greek yogurt, it is NOT healthier than the average, regular type. Marketing is all about finding loopholes in laws, shortcuts in preparation, and a slew of other “tricks” to fool consumers into thinking they’re getting the greatest benefits from the products they choose. Also, keep in mind that the term “Greek-style” yogurt is not regulated by the FDA.
Moreover, there’s lots of waste to consider. How? Well, each cup of Greek yogurt requires THREE cups of milk, resulting in plenty of disposal as opposed to regular yogurt. Click this link to learn about Greek yogurt vs. regular yogurt nutrition. As for regular yogurt, it requires roughly one quarter of the amount of milk that Greek yogurt requires.
So, Is Greek Yogurt Good For You and Healthier Than Regular Yogurt?
Yes and no. If the product is made the traditional way, then YES it is. According to the commercial Greek yogurt that’s mainstream, then NO. You must consider the preparation and manufacturing process. Pasteurization is another process to consider as well. As the milk undergoes all these processes, many nutrients found in dairy are destroyed.
Lactose intolerance is a huge problem many suffer from, and is caused mostly from the natural sugars and proteins found in dairy products–lactose and casein or whey, respectively. People intolerant to dairy may experience one or more of the following reactions: gas, bloating, diarrhea, and acne.
There’s also the issue with growth hormones in milk used to boost milk production. These hormones can increase problems in those with sensitive hormones. Experiment and keep a log to ensure you can digest dairy, including yogurt.
And the Problems Continue…
Autoimmune reactions can also occur in those with sensitive digestive systems. A damaged gut can react negatively to dairy, triggering sensitivities and allergies. If you suffer from arthritis or any autoimmune disease, eliminate dairy altogether to see if your symptoms improve.
The issue of histamine reactions is another problem that can arise from lactose intolerance. Just consuming homogenized milk or pasteurized milk can create various problems in people. Casein may also trigger a histamine reaction, where the result is inflammation and swelling, along with other food allergies, which can cause eczema, hives, asthma, and more, including acne.
Weight gain is highly likely in commercial Greek yogurt labelled “healthy.” This is because the healthy option is a low-fat dairy product lacking in taste, which is sweetened with plenty of sugar to give it taste. Remember low-fat or non-fat products are NOT healthier. This is true regardless of what mainstream nutritionists and marketers recommend, since additives are used to make them tastier and provide the appropriate texture. You are better off without the added high fructose corn syrup, cane sugar, and other artificial sweeteners. If you want to sweeten your Greek yogurt use organic honey.
What’s the Best Yogurt and the Best Greek Yogurt?
Choose raw milk and organic dairy products. These are made without hormones and instead from pasture-raised cows, sheep, and goats. Eating good yogurt that’s good for you starts with unprocessed fermented dairy that naturally breaks down lactose molecules. These products benefit the gut, providing the necessary probiotics the body needs, while being less allergenic.
The best Greek yogurt is the one you’ll make at home with natural, organic products. If you can’t commit to the task of making Greek yogurt at home, then buy the unsweetened, organic, grass-fed commercial yogurt. It may cost more but you can’t put a price on health. Plus, it’s better to eat less of a good thing than more of something that’s potentially harmful.
If you suffer from gut issues, especially when eating dairy products, try raw milk and yogurt made from raw milk. The pasteurization process makes the difference, and you may actually be able to digest raw milk without a problem.