Greek yogurt is not better for the environment than American-style yogurt, for one simple reason: It requires much more milk to make. For American-style yogurt, the ratio of milk to final yogurt product is about 1:1 (sometimes more like 1.3:1, since many manufacturers add in a little bit of condensed skim milk to improve the texture and protein content), while for Greek yogurt it's often as high as 4:1. Considering that dairy farms take quite a toll on the environment and produce a large amount of greenhouse gases (a recent United Nations study found that 3 percent of the world's greenhouse gas emissions come from milk production, including shipping) the environmental difference between Greek and American yogurt is fairly significant.
There's another problem, too: What to do with the whey that's left over from the Greek yogurt straining process? Rolf Carlson, vice president of sourcing and development at the yogurt manufacturer Stonyfield Farm explained that there are two kinds of whey: Sweet whey can be used as a food additive, but acid whey isn't as useful. Many major yogurt manufacturers give their acid whey to farmers to be used as animal feed or fertilizer, but according to Carlson, farmers must be careful when applying it to cropland, since whey runoff can pollute waterways (PDF). "It can affect the microbiology of the water," says Carlson. Some good news: Both Stonyfield Farm and the Greek yogurt company Chobani told me they are in the process building pricey anaerobic digesters to convert their waste whey into energy to power the factories.
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
The rage right now is Greek yogurt, it is every where! To be honest I am not sure what all the rage is about. Even though I am eating it because it is part of the 17 day plan, I don't really like it. If you have never tried it, it is very tart and a little sour. Kind of tastes like they mixed yogurt and sour cream together. I have tried all the flavors and just couldn't acquire the taste. Yet I don't mind the nonfat, plain greek in my morning smoothies. It still tastes a little tart but I use Truvia (stevia) to sweeten, along with my berries and it is delicious. It would probably be really great with a little pineapple (not on plan). Out of all the brands that I have tried, I prefer the Chobani...but this is just my opinion.
I have been wondering about the health benefits to greek yogurt and so I started reading. What I found is that both American yogurt and Greek yogurt have a lot of the same nutritional benefits. The only big difference is that the greek yogurt packs a little more protein and a few less carbs. It is thicker in consistency because the way that the whey is strained out during the process. Greek yogurty is more expensive; if you are on a budget you can just pick which you like the best!
One thing to be aware of though is sugar. For example, Yoplait yogurt has 27g of sugar in it (more than 5 teaspoons)...you can almost have a soda for that amount. Don't be fooled into thinking that those yummy yoplaits are good for you...they taste like dessert for a reason. Whether you eat american or greek yogurt, try to find a variety that is higher in protein and less in sugar. You can always do the plain and add a little vanilla and truvia to sweeten it up. Yogurt can be a great light treat and give you all those added healthy probiotics. I try to eat it at least once a day for good digestive health.
I also read something very interesting regarding Greek yogurt and the environment; thought I would share for my green friends.