Greek Yogurt Vs. Regular Yogurt

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Greek Yogurt Vs. Regular Yogurt

Which Is Healthier: Greek Yogurt or Regular Yogurt?

How does Greek yogurt compare to its conventional counterpart and other options?

Greek yogurt was once thought to be an exotic option. It's now as common as regular dairy yogurt. Most customers love the flavor, which is tangier, less sweet, and creamier than traditional "regular" yogurt made from whole milk. Is Greek yogurt, however, healthier than regular yogurt? What about the various other types of yogurt?

To begin, let me state unequivocally: Greek and regular yogurt, in plain, nonfat, or low-fat varieties, as well as a wide range of plant-based and premium yogurts, can all be part of a healthy diet. They're low in calories and high in calcium, as well as live bacterial cultures. But our Mediterranean pal – which is extensively strained to remove much of the liquid whey, lactose, and sugar that gives it its thick consistency – has an undeniable edge. It can pack up to double the protein in the same amount of calories while cutting the sugar content in half. According to Dawn Jackson Blatner, a registered dietitian and author of The Flexitarian Diet, these are two things dietitians love.

Going Greek is definitely not all hype for someone who wants a creamier texture, a little more protein, and a sugar decrease.

Sharon P. Banta, a registered dietitian in Brooklyn, NY, concurs. "Greek yogurt is superior to regular yogurt because it contains more protein," Banta explains. "As a low-fat, nutrient-rich option, I recommend plain low-fat Greek yogurt to my patients." According to Nielsen, a global marketing and advertising research company, Greek yogurt sales have increased nationwide in the last decade or so, most likely because the product meets consumers' needs for health, convenience, and taste. According to Statista, a market and consumer data firm, Greek yogurt sales accounted for 52 percent of the total U.S. yogurt market in 2016.

According to Jenna Bell, a registered dietitian in St. Petersburg, Florida, "a variety of other yogurts are now on the market" in addition to Greek and regular yogurt. She is a co-author of "Energy to Burn: The Ultimate Food and Nutrition Guide to Fuel Your Active Lifestyle." Non-dairy yogurt, non-dairy Greek yogurt, low-fat yogurt, nonfat yogurt, high-protein yogurt, and sugar-free yogurt are among the many yogurt options.

Here's a closer look at how Greek and regular yogurt compare in terms of nutrition.


Protein

Greek yogurt contains a lot of protein, which helps you feel full. A typical 6-ounce serving contains 15 to 20 grams, which is equivalent to 2 to 3 ounces of lean meat. This makes it especially appealing to vegetarians, who can struggle to get enough of the nutrient. A similar serving of regular yogurt, on the other hand, contains only 9 grams, which means you may experience hunger pangs sooner.

"Getting enough protein every day is important for your immune system, fluid balance, and nerves," says Ann Louise Gittleman, a certified nutrition specialist based in Post Falls, Idaho. She wrote "Radical Metabolism: A Powerful New Plan to Blast Fat and Reignite Your Energy in Just 21 Days."

According to Bell, the protein in Greek yogurt is of high quality. If you want a high-quality protein alternative, she recommends soy-based yogurts. "They have about 9 grams of protein per serving," says Bell. "However, plant proteins other than soy lack all of the essential amino acids needed to build a complete protein." Most nuts, for example, are deficient in a couple of essential amino acids and are considered incomplete proteins." That's not a big deal because other foods, such as whole-grain breads, beans, and legumes, can usually compensate for the lack of amino acids in plant protein.


Carbohydrates

Low-carb dieters should consider going Greek. It has about half the carbs as the regular kind – 5 to 8 grams per serving versus 13 to 17. Furthermore, the straining process removes some of the lactose found in milk, making Greek yogurt less likely to upset lactose-intolerant people. However, "both types of yogurt can contain high amounts of carbs if they're sweetened with sugar or another sweetening agent," warns Kari Hartel, a registered dietitian in Missouri. "Choose yogurt with less added sugar, regardless of type."

If you have lactose intolerance, try yogurt made from ultra-filtered milk, which has 99 percent of its lactose removed, suggests Sarah Krieger, a registered dietitian in St. Petersburg, Florida.


Fat

Greek yogurt has a high fat level, so be cautious. Fage's full-fat Greek yogurt contains 16 grams of saturated fat in 7 ounces – or 80 percent of your total daily allowance if you follow a 2,000-calorie diet. (That's more than you'd find in three Snickers bars.) In an 8-ounce serving of Dannon's regular full-fat yogurt, there are 5 grams of saturated fat. Saturated fat raises total and "bad" cholesterol levels, as well as the risk of cardiovascular disease. Carefully read nutrition labels. Stick to low-fat and fat-free versions if you're going Greek.


Sodium

A serving of Greek yogurt contains 50 milligrams of sodium, which is about half the amount found in most brands of regular yogurt. (There are low-sodium versions of regular yogurt available.) Excessive salt consumption can raise blood pressure and increase the risk of other heart problems. According to the federal government's 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines, Americans should limit their sodium intake to 2,300 milligrams per day, or 1,500 milligrams if they are over 50, African-American, or have hypertension, diabetes, or chronic kidney disease.


Calcium

Regular yogurt contains 30% of the daily value recommended by the federal government. Greek yogurt loses some calcium during the straining process, but it still packs a punch. A 6-ounce cup typically provides about 20% of the daily requirement. If you're still concerned about calcium intake, Krieger suggests adding another serving of milk or stirring almonds into your yogurt every day.

Still unsure about which team to join? Contrast the labels of Dannon's regular and Oikos Greek varieties. Chobani and Fage are two other popular Greek yogurt brands.


Greek Oikos (5.3 ounces, nonfat, plain)

  • 80 calories
  • 0 gram total fat
  • 5 milligrams of cholesterol
  • Sodium content: 60 milligrams.
  • 6 grams of sugar
  • 15 gram protein
  • Calcium: 15% of a 2,000-calorie diet.

Continual (6 ounces, nonfat, plain)

  • 90 calories
  • 0 gram total fat
  • 5 milligrams of cholesterol
  • Sodium content: 120 milligrams.
  • 12 gram sugar
  • 9 gram protein
  • Calcium: 30% of a 2,000-calorie diet.

Though most experts agree that Greek yogurt has a nutritional advantage over regular yogurt and other varieties, all types can help you lose weight by keeping you full while consuming fewer calories. The key is to stick to plain, nonfat, or low-fat options.

Yogurt may help prevent age-related weight gain, according to research. In one study, for example, adding a daily serving of yogurt to one's diet resulted in a nearly one-pound weight loss every four years, most likely due to the way bacterial cultures affect our intestines.

According to a review of 17 studies published in the International Journal of Obesity in 2016, yogurt consumption "is associated with lower body mass index, lower body weight/weight gain, smaller In epidemiological studies, yogurt consumption was linked to a smaller waist circumference and reduced body fat." "Well-controlled, appropriately powered trials in research and community settings appear likely to uncover a moderate but favorable effect of yogurt consumption." for weight gain prevention and management," the researchers wrote.

Yogurt, particularly Greek yogurt, is so versatile that it can be eaten as a meal or as a snack, according to Krieger. "Yogurt with granola and fruit is classic and delicious, but how about substituting it for buttermilk in pancake batter or mixing it with honey to top your favorite whole grain?"

Yogurt is an excellent snack on its own or when combined with nuts, seeds, and chopped fruit. It can also be served as a dessert for lunch or dinner. Plain Greek yogurt with chopped fresh herbs, minced garlic, and fresh lemon zest makes an easy dip for vegetables or a topping for a grain bowl with quinoa, beans, colorful vegetables, and lean meat, such as beef tenderloin.

Hartel adds that yogurt can also be used in place of fatty ingredients like cream cheese, mayonnaise, and butter. "Because of its thick texture, it's an excellent substitute for mayonnaise on sandwiches or in dishes like potato salad, egg salad, pasta salad, and coleslaw." Because these are comfort foods, it is easier to make the switch to using yogurt in recipes.


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