The Benefits of Fage Greek Yogurt
The range of reviews on the Fage Greek yogurt – of the famously rhythmic commercials, and current American ‘fad’ – stretches to really just two camps: either you hate it or love it. The plain Fage isn’t very sweet at all, but Westerners who are used to Dannon or other, sweeter varieties of yogurt can still enjoy it due to the unique and wonderful texture of the specially-made yogurt; as soon as you open the cup, you see that Fage is far creamier and seemingly more substantial than other yogurts, with the appearance of smoothed-over cream cheese.
For others though, there are a lot of complaints regarding the sourness and relative lack of sweetness of Fage. While these complaints are understandable, they miss the point a bit; Fage is actually a very customizable alternative to all the artificial coloring and sweeteners of more popular yogurts, many of which are little more than milk poured over kid’s candy (I have a nephew that prefers Yoplait to Skittles, to buttress the previous point!). With Fage yogurt, you can add fresh strawberries, blueberries, or (a personal favorite) kiwis, for an altogether natural and healthy sweetness.
The plain yogurt, by itself, makes a wonderful breakfast – perhaps mixed with a measure of carbohydrates such as cereal, as it is lacking this by itself, unless you opt for the fruited Fage. As kids won’t likely take to plain Fage – raised as they are on cereal with as much sugar as most candy-bars, you may need to find alternative toppings to entice them into eating such a wonderfully filling treat. Myself, I originally added semi-sweet chocolate chips to encourage my nephews to try it; today, they actually enjoy Fage with honey (although they are probably a few years away from indulging my own favorite, the plain!).
Fage is not only very fulfilling, but, with a whopping 20 grams of protein, is by no means an insubstantial start to the day. I know weightlifters that use Fage as an alternative to protein bars, and are far better for it, given the candy-bar-like (if it sounds like I have something against candy bars… well – I do! Somewhat) quality of most bars on the market today.
When you consider too that protein naturally takes longer to digest than fat or carbohydrates, you will feel full longer, despite having eaten fewer calories! The bacterial cultures inherent in Greek yogurt – which you simply won’t find in the super-processed junk that we like to yogurt over here – are instrumental in several ways; bolstering the immune system to fight off disease, as well as replacing lost (good) bacteria in our stomachs that aid in digestion. Furthermore, Fage yogurt comes in both 2% and 0% fat, with just 150 calories for a cup.
Not only plain Fage yogurt is available on the market, as might be expected. There is a honey-dipped variety, as well as pre-made fruit yogurts, with the currently available varieties being strawberry goji, blueberry acai, peach – in addition to fat-free, 2%, and 0%. The fruity Fage and honey are considerably less nutritionally valuable than plain Fage; however, they are still light-years ahead of Yoplait and Dannon, and are attractive to kids.
At no point, however, do they lose their overall attractiveness from a health perspective. They usually sacrifice much of the protein, but at 10 grams per cup, still beats every other yogurt (which usually have between 6-8 grams of protein per). Going Fage for 3 weeks will be enough to sell anybody on the health benefits… and it’s a plus that you don’t have to altogether sacrifice taste!