Monday, August 15, 2011

Greek Yogurt

Since Greek Yogurt was on sale this week, I thought I'd buy several varieties and see what they were like.

It was astonishing the variety of products that are called "Greek Yogurt."

Some companies (Oikos by Dannon, Lucerne) seem to think that regular yogurt plus a little extra protein equals Greek Yogurt.  Not so.

Yoplait made a great Greek Yogurt--except the strawberry flavor was so hideously awful that I actually emailed the company with a complaint, which I almost never do. It was inedible. But the blueberry was great so....just don't buy strawberry?

FAGE was, hands down, the best Greek Yogurt out there.

So here's the kicker. I realized much much after the fact that there are two products on the market out there. Greek Yogurt, which is actually just thickened regular yogurt, often with cornstarch or powdered milk, isn't really that good. It's also high in sugar and carbs still, and is usually nonfat and tastes nonfat (and you know how I feel about nonfat yogurt--waste of space!).   This is not "Real" Greek Yogurt.

The other product is Strained Greek Yogurt, which is lower in sugar, lower in carbs, higher in protein, and still thick but without the help of thickeners. This is a whole different product than the thickened "Greek" Yogurt.

Really, the FDA should regulate the name "Greek Yogurt" to mean a single product like they do with everything else. In the meantime, read the labels. If it doesn't say "Strained" or if it does have cornstarch, pectin, or gelatin in the ingredients, don't be fooled. It's just regular yogurt. And they put so little thickener in it that once you stir it, it's just the same as other yogurt, but with fewer artificial colors and fewer preservatives (but still some).

The other thing I discovered in the process of all the taste-testing is that the fat content does matter, no matter how much the yogurt makers claim it doesn't. In fact, the cream top yogurts, unstrained but made from whole milk, are actually creamier and more satisfying a treat than the fake Greek Yogurts.

Also, I discovered that I really really prefer the fruit on the bottom yogurts--and then I just eat the yogurt part and throw the fruit part away. The subtle flavors are so much nicer.

Also discovered that plain Greek Yogurt, with a little sugar or honey added at home, is way better than the pre-flavored stuff. Although you have to beware. Some companies add sugar to their plain yogurts!

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