What’s the difference between Greek yogurt and regular yogurt?
Plain Greek yogurt is made by straining regular yogurt to remove the liquid whey, lactose, sugars, salt, and water.
The result is a creamier, thicker yogurt with slightly more calories than non-Greek yogurt, but twice the protein.
Here’s a quick comparison of regular and Greek yogurt nutrition information:
- Plain, low-fat Greek yogurt (6 ounces): 124 calories, 17g protein, 6g sugar
- Plain, low-fat regular yogurt (6 ounces): 107 calories, 9g protein, 12g sugar
Keep in mind, depending on the brand that you buy, the protein and sugar content of each brand may vary.
Greek Yogurt Nutrition: Is Eating Greek Yogurt Good for You?
It’s good to include Greek yogurt as a part of a healthy diet.
But choosing the healthiest Greek yogurt brand involves reading the nutrition label.
“Greek yogurt will contain sugar naturally because it is made from milk, but, try to select a greek yogurt with no added sugar,” says Brittany Crump, M.P.H., R.D. at Savornutrition.
“If you like your yogurt sweeter, pick plain yogurt and mix in some fresh or frozen fruit for natural sweetness. The protein content varies by brand, but a good target is looking for one that provides 15-20 grams of protein per serving,” she adds.
Here are a few Greek yogurt nutrition benefits.
1. Greek yogurt is high in quality protein
A 6-ounce serving packs between 15 to 20 grams of protein — that’s the same as eating 2 to 3 ounces of meat.
Greek yogurt is a dairy food, so the protein is high-quality, meaning:
- It is a complete protein food containing all 20 amino acids.
- It has a high biologic value, and the protein can efficiently be used by the body.
Protein is a macronutrient that is consumed and broken down, which is used for energy.
Protein also contains amino acids, which are the building blocks to form nearly every cell of your body.
If you don’t eat meat, Greek yogurt could be a good way to add more protein to your diet.
2. Greek yogurt contains probiotics
During production, live bacterial cultures ferment milk into tangy yogurt, adding probiotics to Greek yogurt’s nutritional value.
Probiotics are the “good” bacteria that can help keep the harmful bacteria on our bodies in check.
Bacteria like Lactobacillus in yogurt can survive digestion and remain in the gut to influence digestive health.
Some evidence suggests that probiotics may help relieve digestive issues like irritable bowel syndrome and specific diarrhea types.
3. Greek yogurt contains minerals good for bone health
Greek yogurt is certainly not empty calories! Besides its high protein content, Greek yogurt contains minerals like calcium, potassium, phosphorus, and zinc.
These same minerals are essential for maintaining strong, healthy bones.
4. Greek yogurt is easier on your stomach
If you’re lactose intolerant, you may find that yogurt is easier on the stomach compared to other dairy foods.
The bacteria present in yogurt already does some of the lactose digestion for you!
Another nutrition plus for Greek yogurt: It contains even less lactose than non-Greek yogurt because of the straining process.
Crump adds, “Though Greek yogurt is made from milk, it contains much less lactose. (Milk generally contains more lactose than Greek yogurt and is considered a high-lactose food.) Many people with lactose intolerance can enjoy greek yogurt without experiencing gastrointestinal issues.”
5. Greek yogurt is an excellent post-workout snack
Fueling up after an intense workout can improve recovery because you’re giving your body the nutrients it needs to boost protein synthesis for muscle repair and growth.
The ideal post-workout food includes both protein and carbohydrates.
If you buy fruit varieties of Greek yogurt, then it already contains both.
Is Greek Yogurt Good for Weight Loss?
Now that you know about Greek yogurt nutrition, you’re probably wondering, “Can it help me lose weight?”
The evidence that dairy foods can promote weight loss is mixed, meaning some studies say yes while others say no.
Still, yogurt is considered to be a great addition to your diet regardless of your weight loss, maintenance, or weight gain goals.
Eating yogurt as part of an overall healthy diet is a good strategy. But you’ll still need to practice proper portion control.
“Greek yogurt has the added benefit of being high in protein, which can help you feel fuller for longer,” explains Crump.
This can help you portion control without feeling as deprived.
Can Greek yogurt be bad for you?
If you have a milk protein allergy or an extreme form of lactose intolerance, then you should avoid yogurt and dairy products of all kinds.
And if you don’t choose carefully, certain yogurt products can have more added sugar than you think.
For those watching their refined added sugar intake, you can pair plain Greek yogurt with naturally sweet fruit.
Try these nutritious and delicious recipes that make your snack feel more like a treat: