Over one-quarter of Americans are now eating yogurt on a daily basis. In recent years, the availability and popularity of Greek yogurt has skyrocketed to the point that even Ben & Jerry’s offers it (frozen, of course).
As a convenient source of quality protein and other nutrients, both Greek and regular yogurt offer benefits for health, and each have their own appeal.When it comes down to it, however, what are the major differences between the two, and in the end, which one is better for health?
Greek yogurt is strained extensively to remove much of the liquid whey, lactose, and sugar—this is a benefit for those who may be lactose-intolerant or diabetic. This process also happens to be what gives Greek yogurt its thicker consistency and characteristically bold flavor—very appropriate from the country that also produced the Spartans!
When it comes to the numbers, six ounces of plain Greek yogurt contains 14 grams of protein, while regular yogurt provides just seven grams. This suggests that Greek yogurt may have an advantage for helping you to feel fuller for longer, while also helping to preserve lean muscle.
For carbohydrates, Greek yogurt contains an average of six grams per serving, as compared with 11 for regular yogurt—as a reminder, these numbers apply to yogurt that is plain. The addition of fruits and other flavorings will almost certainly raise the carbohydrate count for either type.
So far, Greek yogurt is offering double the protein and cutting sugar content by nearly half. Both of these factors make it a great choice for anyone looking to manage their weight or their health.
One potential problem, however, is that Greek yogurt does tend to be higher in fat than regular yogurt. In the same six ounce serving, full-fat Greek yogurt contains 17 grams of fat, while regular full-fat yogurt contains just six grams. For those who have been advised by their doctor to restrict dietary fat, this may count as a strike against Greek yogurt.
Also, for those who are concerned about their teeth and bones, regular yogurt contains roughly three times the calcium of Greek yogurt—this is because some calcium is lost during the straining process mentioned above. Again, this doesn’t automatically disqualify Greek yogurt, but it might be worth noting for those looking to boost their calcium intake.
When it comes to a final verdict, Greek yogurt does display some distinct advantages—those who are concerned about their fat intake can simply opt for low-fat or non-fat varieties. On the other hand, it’s been said that the best diet of all is the one you know you can follow, and the sharper flavor of Greek yogurt doesn’t suit everyone’s taste. In the end, both varieties can be incorporated into a healthy eating pattern, and it’s best to pick the one you like.