Dr Oz: Healthiest, Authentic Greek Yogurt
Greek yogurt is the perfect high-protein, low-carb snack, right? Recently, Dr Oz uncovered several Greek yogurt brands were selling food products with additives like extra sugar and thickeners, as if it were the real thing. This time, Dr Oz wanted to put his foot down and start naming names. Mark Schatzker was back to blow the lid off the Greek yogurt industry. So who’s selling real Greek yogurt and who’s tricking you into buying the fake stuff?
What sets Greek yogurt apart from ordinary yogurt is that it’s strained, so it’s thicker. Whey, which is made up of sugar and carbs, is what’s taken out, leaving the yogurt with a higher level of protein. When you buy Greek yogurt, you want to be sure you’re getting that higher level of protein as well as probiotics necessary to keep your gut healthy. Brands that claim to have probiotics promise at least 100 million cultures per gram.
Mark set out to look beyond the label and find out what’s really in 80 different samples of Greek yogurt. The big question is: did your favorite Greek yogurt pass the test?
Dr Oz: Thickeners In Flavored Greek Yogurt
Dr Oz first wanted to focus on added thickeners to reveal which brands have them. Mark learned that when he looked at plain Greek yogurt, he was pleased and somewhat surprised to learn that they were all exactly that, plain Greek yogurt! Occasionally, when you see “Greek-style” yogurt, it could have thickeners, but those types are becoming harder to find.
Things get more complicated when you look at flavored Greek yogurt. Thickeners like cornstarch, xanthan gum, pectin, and gelatin may be listed on the ingredients. Thickeners were found in all flavored Greek yogurts except for those with separated toppings. Fruit-flavored yogurts tend to have a lot of sugar, which means it’s no longer a low-carb snack. If you want to get the benefits of a high-protein, low-carb snack, buy plain Greek yogurt. If you want the flavor or the sweetness, add your own fresh fruit!
Dr Oz: Probiotics & Live Cultures In Greek Yogurt
As for probiotics, you want to be able to look at the ingredients in Greek yogurt and see just two things. Look for milk and live cultures. Those live cultures are bacteria and you typically see three listed, but you might see some more. There are such thing as bad bacteria, but these are bacteria you actually want in your gut. Eating probiotics can improve digestion, boost your immune system, and possibly even improved mental health!
Some of the most popular brands of plain, fat-free yogurt were tested. Oikos, Fage, Simply Balanced, Wallaby Organic, Chobani, and Stonyfield Organic were tested. All brands had between 200 and 300 million live active cultures per gram, which means they passed with flying colors.
When looking at the label of a Greek yogurt, you may see a Live and Active Cultures seal. Some yogurts are marked with that seal, claiming that it verifies they have at least 100 million cultures per gram. Through his investigation, Mark found that the yogurt did, in fact, stand by that seal, but as did the other ones without the seal.
Interestingly, Mark wanted to stress the importance of eating a variety of probiotics, because you may be getting the same bacteria from yogurt, that you won’t get in something else like kimchi. Additionally, active cultures in yogurt don’t change as yogurt nears its due date.
Dr Oz: Drinkable Greek Yogurt & Icelandic Yogurt
As for drinkable Greek yogurt, the first two ingredients tend to be milk and live active cultures, but then it “sort-of falls off the cliff from there.” Some versions can have as much sugar as a soda! If you want to drink Greek yogurt, make a smoothie at home. Savory Greek yogurt is becoming more popular and they’re actually better than the sweet versions, but you still want to be careful of the ingredients in them.
Dr Oz then introduced many people to Icelandic yogurt for the first time. It’s yet another step up from Greek yogurt, which means it’s super healthy and great for you, as long as you buy the real thing!
Dr Oz also wanted everyone to know some of the ways you can use Greek yogurt to make otherwise sinful food, much healthier. For example, chicken tenders battered in Greek yogurt and buttermilk and then covered in whole wheat breadcrumbs before going in the oven to cook. Tasty and entirely guilt-free!
You can also make hollandaise with Greek yogurt and egg yolk, so you don’t have to feel too bad about enjoying Eggs Benedict for breakfast!