August 6, 2007

With Love, From Greece

Although non-fat dairy products are one good way to add calcium and protein to your diet without taking in excessive calories, I find fat-free plain yogurt to have an unappetizing watery consistency and tremendously boring flavor.

Luckily, Greek yogurt is here to save the day.

When friends often see me purchasing Greek yogurt, they ask me, "How is this different from regular yogurt?"

Here is how they compare:

127 calories

13 g protein
451.7 mg calcium

120 calories

20 g protein
150 mg calcium

Why the significant decrease in calcium? This can best be answered by explaining Greek yogurt's texture.

What fat-free Greek yogurt offers that makes it such a spectacular product for me is its rich consistency, courtesy of having its whey (milk plasma) strained.

The lack of watery whey increases the protein content but decreases the amount of calcium in Greek yogurt. Still, eight ounces of this Mediterranean nectar provide 15% of our daily calcium needs.

I should "warn" you in advance that Greek yogurt has a strong, unmistakeable, tart taste.

I wouldn't recommend eating it on its own. But, throw in banana slices, a handful of blueberries, some uncooked ready-to-eat oatmeal, and a tablespoon of ground flaxseed and I have a feeling you'll never go back to "normal" fat-free yogurt again.

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