What Is Skyr? All About this Dairy Product from Iceland

Skyr is one of the highest quality dairy products that can be included in the diet. It stands out for its high protein content and probiotics.
What Is Skyr? All About this Dairy Product from Iceland
Saúl Sánchez Arias

Written and verified by the nutritionist Saúl Sánchez Arias.

Last update: 11 May, 2023

Skyr is a common dairy product in Iceland that has started to spread in different cuisines due to its nutritional value. It’s a food that can be beneficial to health and can efficiently complement natural yogurt. It has a high dose of high-quality proteins and cis-type fats, both of which are particularly important to achieve a good state of health.

Before we begin, it’s important to note that the consumption of dairy products is recommended by most nutrition experts. These products contain essential minerals that help prevent the development of chronic and complex pathologies. However, as far as possible, they should be consumed without added sugars, otherwise a glycemic peak could occur, which could be harmful in the medium term.

Properties of skyr

Skyr is a dairy product made from skimmed milk. The temperature of the milk is raised to 100 degrees Celsius and then drastically reduced to 37 degrees Celsius (212 to 98 Fahrenheit)

It will also be important to inoculate bacteria that allow fermentation, so it can be said that the product has probiotics inside. Before finishing the preparation of the product, the liquid must be eliminated, leaving the solid part, with a high protein concentration.

Skyr from Iceland.
Skyr is similar to yogurt, although with an interesting presence of cis fats.

It is also important to note that skyr has a lower percentage of fat than natural yogurt or other types of dairy products. However, they’re all cis fats, i.e. beneficial ones. Only trans fats should be avoided in the diet, as they are the ones that have been shown to increase internal inflammation in our bodies. Their regular consumption leads to the development of pathologies.

Benefits of skyr

First of all, skyr is a source of proteins of high biological value. These elements concentrate within them all the essential amino acids. They also have a good score in terms of digestibility.

For this reason, they’re ideal to meet our daily requirements, which are estimated at at least 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of weight per day in sedentary people. This is according to a study published in the Annals of Nutrition & Metabolism.

Yogurt with papaya.
The proteins present in skyr can help prevent chronic pathologies.

Protein consumption is essential in order to ensure proper recovery after intense physical exercise. But it’s also decisive in preventing the development of chronic and complex pathologies that affect lean mass over the years, such as sarcopenia. This causes a progressive loss of muscle mass and strength, which affects people’s functionality.

Skyr is also a source of probiotics. These elements selectively colonize the digestive tract, generating benefits for the host. Research published in the journal Molecular Nutrition & Food Research confirms this. Not only will the digestive system become more efficient, but problems such as constipation are less likely to develop.

In addition, probiotics themselves can help prevent disorders such as intolerances to certain nutrients. These are caused by the body’s inability to digest substances such as lactose. They’re often conditioned by a problem of diversity at a microbiota level, which is why addressing this aspect will soon bring benefits.

You may also be interested in: Top 15 Healthiest Probiotics and Prebiotics

How to consume skyr?

Skyr can be consumed in the same way as natural yogurt. It’s also possible to find it in different flavors, which improves its organoleptic characteristics. However, it’s important to avoid versions that contain a large amount of added sugars so you don’t generate alterations at the metabolic level.

In addition, it is a food that combines well with other quality foods such as oatmeal, nuts and even chopped fruit. It can be part of breakfast or any snack, thus providing quality nutrients that contribute to ensure the proper functioning of the digestive system.

It shouldn’t be forgotten that there’s also the option of including skyr in savory recipes. It’s usually very good with avocado, smoked salmon, and even on toast. The options to introduce this dairy product in the diet are varied, and so we recommend that you give it a go!

Skyr for sportspeople

Beyond the commented benefits, skyr is especially positive in the diet of sportspeople. It provides high-quality protein in a context of low energy density.

Thanks to this, recovery processes can be optimized without compromising the state of body composition. It could even be introduced in the context of a low-calorie diet aimed at reducing the body’s fat percentage.

Skyr is also a good source of calcium. This element will contribute to improving bone health, preventing fractures in the future. Normally, athletes’ bones are subjected to high levels of stress, so it’s key to optimize the supply of vitamin D and calcium, and improve the condition of muscle mass to avoid injury.

Include skyr in your diet on a regular basis

As you have seen, skyr is a very beneficial food that can be part of your diet on a regular basis, and improve its quality. This product provides a good amount of essential nutrients. In addition, it’s very versatile at a culinary level. It has excellent organoleptic characteristics, meaning it can be combined with many different foods.

However, remember that you should always pay attention to the labeling of dairy products. Not all of them are of good quality. Sometimes they may contain artificial additives, such as sweeteners, whose effects in the medium term haven’t been fully tested. In general terms, it’s advisable to be cautious with the consumption of these substances to avoid dysfunctions in the future that could affect your health.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • de Souza, R. J., Mente, A., Maroleanu, A., Cozma, A. I., Ha, V., Kishibe, T., Uleryk, E., Budylowski, P., Schünemann, H., Beyene, J., & Anand, S. S. (2015). Intake of saturated and trans unsaturated fatty acids and risk of all cause mortality, cardiovascular disease, and type 2 diabetes: systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies. BMJ (Clinical research ed.)351, h3978. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.h3978
  • Richter, M., Baerlocher, K., Bauer, J. M., Elmadfa, I., Heseker, H., Leschik-Bonnet, E., Stangl, G., Volkert, D., Stehle, P., & on behalf of the German Nutrition Society (DGE) (2019). Revised Reference Values for the Intake of Protein. Annals of nutrition & metabolism74(3), 242–250. https://doi.org/10.1159/000499374
  • Sánchez, B., Delgado, S., Blanco-Míguez, A., Lourenço, A., Gueimonde, M., & Margolles, A. (2017). Probiotics, gut microbiota, and their influence on host health and disease. Molecular nutrition & food research61(1), 10.1002/mnfr.201600240. https://doi.org/10.1002/mnfr.201600240

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.