Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Industry Trend: Greek Yogurt

Industry Trend: Greek Yogurt

Health-conscious people have recently switched their breakfasts from sugary, calorie and fat-packed American yogurt to a more nutrient rich form, Greek yogurt. This trend has picked up within the past two or three years as people look to start their morning with a burst of probiotics and double the amount of protein in traditional yogurt.

What It Is: The fundamentals of all yogurts include the fermentation of milk, which creates bacteria as well as sugar, which forms lactic acid. Nutritionally, yogurt is filled with protein, calcium, riboflavin, vitamin B6 and B12.

Greek yogurt, unlike traditional yogurt, has been filtered through cloth or filter usually made of muslin. This process removes the whey creating a texture somewhere between yogurt and cheese. The amount of live and active cultures in Greek yogurt is much higher than that in American yogurt; however, because this type of yogurt is separated from its liquid whey, it loses amino acids and therefore loses glutathione, a Cancer-fighting compound.

In general, Greek yogurt is thicker and creamier, lower in carbohydrates, higher in protein and lower in sodium.

Who Might be Interested: Those who are somewhat lactose-intolerant can enjoy yogurt because the milk sugar is changed to lactic acid by the bacteria culture. This decrease in lactose keeps these people from having to process the milk sugars themselves and therefore, stops them from feeling the harmful effects of lactose.

Greek yogurt helps with a variety of gastrointestinal issues and can help prevent diarrhea associated with antibiotics.  Due to the lactic acid in yogurt, it is said to help with gum health. The probiotics in yogurt can also prevent yeast infections.

Availability: Greek yogurt can be found in almost every grocery store these days as well as online. Some popular brands include Chobani, Stony Field Farm’s “Oikos,” and Fage and Dannon and Yoplait have expanded and now offer Greek yogurt along with traditional yogurt.

Make-Your-Own Greek Yogurt
Line a sieve with a coffee filter and set it over a bowl. Place 4 cups of whole-milk yogurt in the filter and refrigerate for 12 hours.

You will get about 2 cups of thick Greek yogurt. Divide among bowls, top with honey, dried fruit and walnuts.

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