Nothing gets me out of bed in the morning like a dense glob of Greek yogurt. Though, as I savagely gulp my way through the infinite ‘gurts in the dairy aisle, I’ve yet to encounter the absolute best Greek yogurt — a ‘Gurt God among ‘gurt pawns. So, I’ve embarked on a monumental quest to unearth the best Greek yogurt, and to just learn more about this creamed cow sauce. By my side? Cate Shanahan, a New York Times bestselling author who focuses on replacing drugs and supplements with real food. Let’s fucking get it.
Is Greek Yogurt Good for You?
“Greek yogurt is healthy — absolutely,” Shanahan says. Dope!
Why Is Greek Yogurt Good for You? Does Greek Yogurt Have Probiotics?
Yes and yes! The main benefits of Greek yogurt are probiotics, “good bacteria that may live on in your gut and help protect you from pathogens,” Shanahan says. It also contains prebiotics, which Shanahan calls a “good source of food for good bacteria.” That means Greek yogurt is fantastic for your gastrointestinal health.
What’s the Difference Between Greek Yogurt and Regular Yogurt?
“Both Greek and regular yogurts are made from milk that has been fermented, and the bacterial action converts the milk into yogurt,” Shanahan explains. “The difference is that Greek yogurt is ‘strained,’ meaning more of the liquid whey is filtered out than with regular yogurt, where all the whey remains in the milk. Thus, Greek yogurt is thicker due to retaining more of the proteins that thicken during fermentation.” Because of this process, Greek yogurt is higher in protein than milk, but lower in vitamins and minerals that are filtered out with the whey.
What’s the Best Greek Yogurt?
You should always start with unflavored Greek yogurt, because Shanahan says, “Flavored yogurts should really be called sugar-sweetened yogurts, since they often contain more sugar than a candy bar. This added sugar weakens the protective effect of the good bacteria and the ability of the bacteria to make their own prebiotics, so I recommend getting unflavored yogurt and adding your own flavoring agents — it will save you money and be much healthier.” Granola and nuts are good toppings, but make sure to shop responsibly and avoid extra sugary options.
Is Nonfat Greek Yogurt Good for You?
Counterintuitive as it may seem, Shanahan says you’re better off glugging fattier choices when it comes to Greek yogurt. “The other reason you benefit from getting unflavored yogurt is that it’s almost impossible to find flavored yogurt with any fat in it,” she explains. “The dairy fats in yogurt are a very healthy source of energy, despite what the American Heart Association wants you to believe. I advise against low-fat dairy products, because they’re higher in sugar, and without the fats, many vitamins are also missing, especially vitamins A and K.”
What’s the Best Greek Yogurt Brand? FAGE? Chobani? Clover Sonoma? Stonyfield? Greek Gods?
Shanahan says Stonyfield’s whole milk Greek yogurt is the obvious choice, not only because it has some of those healthy fats she mentioned. “Grass-fed dairy is the way dairy is supposed to be made, and only this brand promises to be pasture-raised, which may not be true, but at least they know it’s important,” she explains, adding that grass-fed dairy products are one of the best ways to ingest omega-3 fatty acids, which are good for your heart.
Finally, I’ve captured the Holy Grail of ‘gurt. Good morning to me.