What Is Skyr?

What Is Skyr?

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By Kristen Simonds, BSc, Contributing Blogger

A walk down the dairy aisle reveals shelves packed with an overwhelming variety of yogurt. From Greek yogurt to soy yogurt to fruit-bottomed yogurt, plus full-fat and low-fat varieties, the choices are endless. But now there’s a new, yet ancient, type of yogurt being stocked on shelves across the country: skyr. Pronounced “skeer” this traditional Icelandic yogurt has been made for over 1,000 years.

Skyr contains just a few simple ingredients: skim milk, microbial enzymes and bacterial culture. Traditionally, the yogurt is made by combining skim milk with live active cultures, then straining out the whey to create a thick and creamy yogurt. Skyr is similar to Greek yogurt, but it’s strained even more to create a thick stick-to-your-spoon product. In fact, about 3-4 times more milk is needed to produce one container of skyr than one container of regular yogurt!

Skyr has a slightly sour dairy flavor, with a hint of sweetness. In addition to plain skyr, commercial manufacturers have also created flavors like vanilla, strawberry, and peach. Keep in mind that these flavored varieties often contain added sugars. Though skyr has a smaller market share than Greek yogurt, consumer demand has been growing rather quickly. But how does skyr stack up against its competitors? Let’s take a look:

Plain skyr (per 170 g): 110 calories, 19 grams of protein, 7 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fat

Plain Greek yogurt (per 175 g): 100 calories, 17 grams of protein, 6 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fat

Plain yogurt (per 175 g):60 calories, 10 grams of protein, 5 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fat

Strawberry yogurt (per 175 g): 170 calories, 7 grams of protein, 26 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of fat

Most skyr products contain more than 20 grams of protein per cup, with little to no fat or added sugars. Skyr is high is calcium and vitamin D, as well as other vitamins and minerals found in milk products, which keeps your bones and muscles healthy and strong. It’s also a great choice for those who are lactose intolerant, as the yogurt is naturally lactose-free. Packed full of probiotic cultures, aka ‘friendly’ bacteria, skyr may help improve digestive health and potentially boost immunity. Skyr makes an excellent addition to smoothies, sauces and dips, desserts, and other baked goods! Like other yogurts, skyr, can fit into a healthy diet and help meet the recommended 3 servings of dairy each day.

Kristen Simonds, BSc is a recent graduate of the Honors Specialization Nutrition and Dietetics program from Western University in London, Canada. She hopes to become a Registered Dietitian in the near future and use her love of food, nutrition, and fitness to better the lives of others. She is passionate about culinary nutrition and cooking nutritious plant-based recipes for her family and friends.

  • Caoimhe
    Posted at 17:05h, 13 March Reply

    I love Skyr products! They taste great and are full of protein. The yogurt is great with fruit or homemade granola.

  • Richard Phillips
    Posted at 15:39h, 12 October Reply

    Dear Kristen, 12.10.18.

    You write of Skyr: ‘It’s also a great choice for those who are lactose intolerant, as the yogurt is naturally lactose-free.

    Can this be true? OK, it can have a low lactose content, but can you guarantee that it has zero lactose? I find this difficult to believe.

    Best wishes,

    Richard Phillips.

    • Toby Amidor
      Posted at 21:42h, 13 October Reply

      Hi Richard,
      Skyr is a low lactose food– it has less lactose per serving than traditional yogurt (about 4 grams per vs 13 g per serving). It also has live and active cultures to help with the lactose digestion. It is not lactose-free. Research does show that those with lactose intolerance can tolerate up to 12/13 grams of lactose per sitting, but it is individual and needs to be built up over time.

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