Despite what you may have heard the benefits of Greek Yogurt for weight loss are plentiful. Not only does it provide a great sustainable source of protein, but it provides many other health benefits as well. Getting the figure that flaunts like a goddess is everyone’s dream. People are all set to try out anything promising the desired results, but they find it tough to reconcile their choices with the strict recommendations of dieticians. Guilt can ruin your ‘dream body’ plans in a single stroke.
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Is Greek yogurt good for you?
Greek yogurt differs from other yogurts because it goes through a straining process to remove the whey. Whey is a liquid that contains lactose, a natural sugar found in milk. Greek yogurt is a popular dairy product, but is it good for you?
Making yogurt involves fermenting milk with live cultures of beneficial bacteria.
Strained Greek yogurt is lower in sugar than regular yogurt. Removing the whey produces a thicker, creamier yogurt with a tart taste.
Some manufacturers add thickening agents to regular yogurt, and market it as “Greek-style” yogurt, which may not share the same health benefits as Greek yogurt.
Also, low or no-fat Greek yogurt may not share the same health benefits as traditional Greek yogurt.
In this article, learn about eight potential health benefits of Greek yogurt, as well as how to incorporate it into a balanced diet.
Health benefits of Greek yogurt
Eating Greek yogurt may be good for health thanks to the nutrients it contains, including:
- vitamin B-12
The potential health benefits of Greek yogurt include:
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1. Improving bone health
Eating Greek yogurt may improve bone health, as it is rich in calcium and protein.
Calcium promotes bone health and can reduce the risk of osteoporosis, a degenerative bone disease. Consuming enough protein is also vital for bone health.
2. Reducing appetite and hunger
Greek yogurt is protein-rich, so it may help people feel fuller for longer. Research suggests that people may eat less throughout the day after a meal that is high in protein.
A further study found that increasing dietary protein leads people to consume fewer calories overall, which contributed to greater weight loss.
3. Boosting metabolism
Research suggests that eating a high-protein diet may increase the number of calories a person burns per day. It is best to include some protein with every meal.
Despite its protein content, eating Greek yogurt alone is unlikely to make a person burn more calories.
But eating Greek yogurt, as part of a balanced diet that includes enough protein, fibrous carbohydrates, and healthful fats may aid weight loss and boost metabolism.
4. Improving gut health
Greek yogurt contains probiotics. These are good bacteria that may restore a healthy bacterial balance within the gut.
But recent research raises questions about these benefits. Not everyone may respond to probiotics in the same way.
A 2018 study suggests that some people’s guts are resistant to the benefits of probiotics while others are more receptive.
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5. Encouraging good mental health
Research suggests that consuming probiotic yogurt is beneficial for a person’s mental health.
A 2016 study found that workers who ate 100 grams of probiotic yogurt a day or took a daily probiotic capsule experienced less stress, depression, and anxiety than those who did not.
This effect is likely due to the relationship between the gut and brain, and the ability of the gut to make neurotransmitters, such as serotonin and dopamine.
6. Building muscle mass
Protein-rich foods, such as Greek yogurt, may help build muscle mass. Research shows that a high-protein diet may increase muscle mass in people doing resistance training.
7. Lowering blood pressure
Greek yogurt is a form of probiotic fermented milk that may lower blood pressure.
A 2013 meta-analysis of 14 studies, involving more than 700 participants, found that fermented milk with probiotics helped reduce blood pressure.
However, the research is not conclusive. Another study from 2015, involving 156 overweight participants, found that eating probiotic yogurt did not affect blood pressure and other cardiovascular risks.
8. Reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes
Greek yogurt may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, a condition that affects how the body processes blood sugar.
Researchers linked eating more yogurt, although not other dairy products, to a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, 2014 study.
Reasons Why Greek Yogurt Is Great For Weight Loss
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1. Greek Yogurt Is High In Protein
Whether you eat it for a snack or as a main meal, Greek yogurt is higher in protein than regular yogurt. It has been proven to improve appetite control, and satiety and energize you. Protein is only received in the body from food and protein intake matters! It supports functions in the body ranging from lean muscle mass to creating disease-fighting antibodies and enzymes [R]. Protein is also one of the necessary macro-nutrients necessary for metabolism, growth, and other functions in the body, that is needed in higher amounts. Satisfy hunger, feel full longer, reduce overeating, and deliver good, clean nutrients to your body with protein-packed Greek yogurt. Not to mention, eating a breakfast that is higher in protein leads to a greater reduction in hunger compared to eating a breakfast higher in carbohydrates
FUN FACT: In one 6oz serving of Greek yogurt you will be receiving anywhere from 15-20 grams of protein! That amount is equivalent to 2-3oz of lean meat. Greek yogurt is a great addition to any diet to help with weight loss.
2. Greek Yogurt Is Low In Carbohydrates
There are no big secrets behind the benefits and success of a low-carbohydrate lifestyle.
Carbohydrates are sugars and starches, often from overly processed foods, that the body uses as an energy source. Greek yogurt is a great food to implement if you’re trying to keep them on the lower side and are looking for a power-packed food that will leave you feeling healthy and full. Greek yogurt has nearly half the amount of carbs versus regular yogurt (5-8g versus 13-17g per serving).
PRO TIP: Avoid buying Greek yogurt that has preservatives and flavored versions of the original unflavored version. Instead, add in your own goodies at home – chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, frozen berries, fresh fruit, flaxseed, cinnamon, stevia, honey, granola, etc.
3. Greek Yogurt Helps With Inflammation
Many people find that dairy is positively correlated with inflammatory responses or processes, however, that’s not the case not when it comes to Greek yogurt. Research has actually been shown to prove that Greek yogurt that contains probiotic strains of Lactobacillus actually promotes the formation of a desirable anti-inflammatory environment in the blood system. The effects of probiotics may be a consequence of the body working against potentially pathogenic/pro-inflammatory endogenous microbiota in the digestive system. A healthy tummy means a healthy body in a lot more ways than one.
4. Greek Yogurt Is A Dairy Alternative for Lactose Intolerance
Low carbohydrates and naturally lower lactose levels? Now that’s a match made in heaven! For individuals who are lactose intolerant or sensitive to lactose, Greek yogurt is a great addition to still reap the benefits without the negative side effects of consuming dairy products. Greek yogurt is a more easily digestible alternative to milk in effort to get adequate amounts of important nutrients such as calcium and vitamin D. Greek yogurt can actually help soothe the uncomfortable digestive issues many individuals receive from consuming dairy by providing a safe, cost-effective, and ‘natural’ approach that adds a barrier against microbial infection while promoting weight loss.
5. Greek Yogurt Is Low On The Glycemic Index
The Glycemic Index (GI) is a general ranking system widely used to rank how various carbohydrate foods affect blood glucose levels. Typically speaking, a rank of 55 or less is more slowly digested, absorbed, and metabolized better, and causes a slower rise in blood glucose + insulin levels. Greek yogurt ranks on this scale (that goes to 100) from 6 to just 11 points!! Did we mention it’s a great food for individuals who may struggle with high blood pressure and/or try to manage diabetes as well as those who struggle to shed extra, unwanted pounds? The bottom line is this; foods lower on the glycemic index will produce less blood glucose and insulin, which will avoid creating added body fat. Therefore, greek yogurt is a great addition to help with weight loss.
High simple carbohydrate diets have long been associated with a risk of insulin resistance and poor glycemic control. Not consuming Greek yogurt on a regular basis leads to greater insulin resistance and related chronic disease development, such as obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases. The Glycemic Index Foundation states that “carbohydrate is an essential part of our diets, but not all carbohydrate foods are created equally”
** In response to a comment specifying how Greek Yogurt & the insulin index** “Hyperinsulinemia may not be a concern for yogurt because, although its Insulin Index is higher than its GI, the Insulin Index of yogurt is within the range of Insulin Index values for nondairy low-GI foods. Additionally, mixed meals containing dairy protein elicit insulin responses similar to those elicited by mixed meals of a similar composition containing non-dairy protein. Because the GI of yogurt is lower than that of most other carbohydrate foods, exchanging yogurt for other protein and carbohydrate sources can reduce the GI & glycemic load of the diet, and is in line with recommended dietary patterns, which include whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, fish, vegetable oils and yogurt.”
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What Happens To Your Body When You Eat Greek Yogurt
Is it really as healthy as it seems? We asked the experts.
Is Greek yogurt really the pinnacle of healthy eating like so many people claim? Greek yogurt is constantly used to make all kinds of meals healthier—even as frosting on cupcakes. But we had to ask ourselves—is yogurt really that healthy? And what happens to your body when you eat Greek yogurt regularly?
In order to learn the health benefits—and risks—we turned to a few dietitians to learn the truth about what happens to your body when you eat Greek yogurt.
It can help you feel full and lose weight.
“Greek yogurt is a great portable protein and it can also help you quell hunger,” says Katherine Brooking, MS, RD. “What’s more, Greek yogurt may also help fight belly fat, according to a recent study presented at the annual Society for Endocrinology conference. Researchers found that when protein is digested and broken down, one of the resulting amino acids, phenylalanine, triggers hormones that help reduce appetite, which can lead to weight loss.”
It’s also full of vitamins and minerals.
“All yogurts are excellent sources of calcium, potassium, protein, zinc, and vitamins B6 and B12,” says Brooking. “What distinguishes Greek yogurt is its thicker, creamier texture because the liquid whey is strained out. Greek yogurt also contains probiotic cultures and is lower in lactose.”
It’s an excellent source of protein.
Brooking points out that Greek yogurt has almost twice the amount of protein. A 3/4 cup serving of low-fat Greek yogurt contains around 17 grams of protein, compared to a normal low-fat yogurt which only contains around 8 grams per 3/4 cup. To put this in perspective, that serving of Greek yogurt provides even more protein than two large eggs, which only have 10 grams.
It provides great bacteria for your gut.
“Eating Greek yogurt on a regular basis can provide your gut with a healthy influx of probiotic bacteria, as Greek yogurt can contain live active cultures,” says Leah Silberman, RD from Tovita Nutrition. “It is important, however, that you eat greek yogurt from reputable brands that use milk from grass-fed, pasture-raised cows to ensure you’re eating a quality product.”
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It can pack in calories if you’re not careful.
“There are really not any risks when you eat Greek yogurt every day limiting it to two servings a day. However, you may not get the benefits if you choose the wrong Greek yogurt,” says Elena Paravantes, RDN and creator of OliveTomato.com. “Greek yogurt should only contain milk and or cream and live cultures. You should not be consuming Greek yogurts that contain gelatin, stabilizers, protein, sweeteners, flavorings, or other additives.
Paravantes also points out the importance of watching your calories. “Another factor that may reduce the benefits of Greek yogurt is what you add to it. Very often we add fruit, nuts, seeds, grains, honey to Greek yogurt and even though these are healthy additions, they can add up the calories. Traditionally Greek yogurt in Greece is consumed either plain or adding a few walnuts and a bit of honey. Yogurt in itself is a complete meal combining protein, carbs, and a bit of fat, so it does not necessarily need anything else nutrition-wise.”
Be sure to also look out for the Greek yogurts that are full of added sugars, which can be sneakily advertised as healthy for you. Aim for Greek yogurt that is lower in sugar—or doesn’t have any at all—and add your sweetness to it like berries or honey.