Even plain Greek yogurt contains some sugar—but unlike many other types of yogurt products, it wasn’t added. This is lactose, the sugar found in milk and an 8 ounce serving of Greek yogurt has around 9 grams of this naturally-occurring sugar. The good news is that despite its sugar content, yogurt doesn’t cause cavities. None of the yogurts that scientists at Turkey’s Marmara University in Turkey tested were found to erode tooth enamel, which is the main cause of decay. Bonus: People who eat at least two ounces of yogurt reduce their risk of severe periodontal disease by 60 percent, compared with those who skip it.
After studies proved that animals’ brain function was altered by gut bacteria, researchers at UCLA wanted to see if the same phenomenon could also be observed in humans. They took three groups of people: To Group A they gave yogurt with probiotics, to Group B a yogurt-like dairy product, and to poor old Group C they gave sweet FA. The women who ate the real yogurt showed increased connectivity in the periaqueductal gray region and the prefrontal cortex, which affects cognition. Get smarter by dipping your spoon into some yogurt? Sounds good to us!
Depending on your age, you’ll know Jamie Lee Curtis as an actor or as the person who introduced you to something called probiotics as the face of Activia yogurt. The jury is still out on the effectiveness of probiotics but some people swear by them, and credit them with regulating their digestion and strengthening their immune system. Greek yogurt is strained more times than traditional yogurt, making it thicker, higher in fat blasting protein (see below) and increasing the amount of probiotics. These live microorganisms—“good bacteria”—in Greek yogurt can not only help improve your digestive system but also help your body absorb nutrients and improve your immune health. Greek yogurt may also help ease gastrointestinal conditions like constipation, inflammatory bowel disease and lactose intolerance. Motivated to be kinder to your belly? Pick up the best-selling new Zero Belly Cookbook!
Regularly eating yogurt as part of a healthy diet can lead to slimming down faster, says research from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Researchers there found that participants who ate 18 ounces of this tasty, tangy treat on a daily basis — in concert with cutting their total calories — lost 22 percent more weight and an incredible 81 percent more belly fat than their fellow calorie cutters. But that’s not all, the yogurt for weight losseaters also retained one-third more lean muscle mass, meaning that they had a higher resting metabolic rate, burned more calories and are set up to maintain weight loss. “Fat around your waist produces the hormone cortisol, which tells your body to accumulate even more belly flab,” says nutrition professor and lead study author Michael Zemel, PhD. Calcium – which yogurt has plenty of — signals your fat cells to release less cortisol, making it easier for you to shed pounds. For more ideas to trim your middle and wear that fitted tee with confidence, check out the 42 Ways to Lose 5 Inches of Belly Fat.
Studies about how high-protein foods can satisfy your hunger and keep you from overeating are plentiful—and by now, you should already know that yogurt is a primo source of protein. But all yogurts are not created equal. Greek yogurt is strained, which ups the amount of protein per serving. In fact, it can more than double it; Greek yogurt has up to 20 grams of protein per container. To get that satiated feeling, head for the Greek kind of yogurt and select one that provides at least 10 grams per serving. No wonder it’s one of the Best High-Protein Snacks in America!