Greek yogurt is a creamy dairy product made by straining whey and lactose from regular yogurt.
As a result, it has a thicker texture and contains more protein and less sugar.
This article provides a guide to Greek yogurt’s nutrition profile, health benefits, and potential drawbacks.
What Is Greek Yogurt?
Greek yogurt starts as regular yogurt.
Producers make yogurt by fermenting milk with the bacterial starter cultures Streptococcus thermophilus and Lactobacillus bulgaricus (1).
Once the yogurt is ready, more work needs doing.
The next stage requires for the whey liquid to be separated from the yogurt.
There are several ways of doing this, but the typical method used by most producers is centrifugal separation.
To do this, the producers run the yogurt through a centrifuge until the milk solids concentrate. At this stage, the leftover (liquid) whey is removed (2).
The process of separating the whey liquid also removes some lactose (milk sugar). This separation makes Greek yogurt lower in carbohydrate/sugar than regular yogurt.
Since this process leaves a more concentrated yogurt, Greek yogurt is also higher in protein than regular yogurts (3, 4).
Providing it is plain Greek yogurt, the taste should be sour and tangy.
Since it has slightly lower amounts of sugar/lactose than regular yogurt, the flavor is much sourer than regular yogurt.
Greek yogurt is also thicker and creamier than regular yogurt. Many people enjoy this extra creamy consistency.
For those that don’t mind a slightly sour taste, Greek yogurt is delicious.
The taste of Greek yogurt is somewhat similar to sour cream, but nutritionally they are very different.
Key Point: Greek yogurt is a thick and creamy dairy food that is higher in protein and lower in lactose than regular yogurts.
The table below shows the nutritional values for whole milk Greek yogurt per container (200-gram) serving (5).
|Saturated Fat||7.0 g|
Greek yogurt also contains a good range of vitamins and minerals.
These nutrients are shown, per 200-gram serving, in the following tables (3).
|Vitamin B12||1.4 mcg||58 %|
|Vitamin B2||0.562 mg||43 %|
|Vitamin B5||0.664 mg||13 %|
|Vitamin B6||0.128 mg||10 %|
|Choline*||30.2 mg||5 %|
|Vitamin B1||0.044 mg||4 %|
|Vitamin B3||0.422 mg||3 %|
|Vitamin A, RAE||2 mcg||2 %|
|Vitamin E||0.02 mg||0 %|
*Choline has an ‘adequate intake’ (AI) level rather than a set reference daily intake (RDI). This is because there is inadequate data to calculate a recommended intake (6).
|Calcium||222 mg||22 %|
|Phosphorus||136 mg||19 %|
|Selenium||9.9 mcg||18 %|
|Zinc||0.53 mg||5 %|
|Potassium||141 mg||4 %|
|Magnesium||10.7 mg||3 %|
|Sodium||36 mg||2 %|
|Copper||0.017 mg||2 %|
|Iron||0.07 mg||0.4 %|
|Manganese||0.009 mcg||0.4 %|
Key Point: Greek yogurt is an excellent source of protein, B vitamins, calcium, and selenium.
Benefits of Greek Yogurt
Due to its nutrient composition and the compounds it contains, Greek yogurt may have various health benefits.
1) An Excellent Source of Protein
Since Greek yogurt has a higher concentration of milk solids than regular yogurt, it also contains a greater amount of protein.
For this reason, Greek yogurt is one of the best dairy sources of protein, and it compares favorably to milk and other yogurts.
With one container (200-gram) of Greek yogurt offering 18 grams of protein, you would need to drink 2-3 cups of milk to get the same amount.
In this regard, a serving of Greek yogurt offers a similar amount of protein as 100 grams of meat (and for a similar amount of calories too).
All in all, this delicious yogurt is an excellent option for anyone looking for a protein-dense snack.
For another high-protein dairy option, Skyr may also be worth a look.
Key Point: Greek yogurt contains a large amount of protein.
2) Greek Yogurt Is a Rich Source of Calcium
Per container, Greek yogurt offers 222 mg of calcium, which is 22% of the recommended daily intake.
Calcium is an essential mineral that is also the most abundant mineral within the human body (7).
This mineral also plays a significant role in bone health and helping to retain bone mass density as we age (8).
In addition to its protective role in skeletal health, calcium is also a necessary nutrient for vascular contraction.
On this note, some studies suggest that calcium may have a beneficial effect on lowering blood pressure, but the research is inconsistent, and higher quality studies are necessary to confirm this (9).
Key Point: Greek yogurt provides a good amount of calcium.
3) Contains Probiotics That May Improve Gut Health
Greek yogurt is teeming with so-called ‘beneficial bacteria.’
The probiotics contained in this yogurt include (1);
- Streptococcus thermophilus
- Lactobacillus bulgaricus
First of all, human trials have demonstrated that these bacteria survive digestion and can be found in human feces several days after ingestion (10).
There is also evidence that they have a positive impact on gastrointestinal health.
For example, in animal studies, long-term yogurt intake increases the ratio of Bacteroidetes to Firmicutes in the gut, which are two types of bacterial strains (11).
Interestingly, human microbiome studies show that obese and overweight subjects have a higher amount of Firmicutes and a lower amount of Bacteroidetes (12).
In other words; long-term yogurt intake may lead to beneficial microbiome changes thatmay be a factor in helping to prevent obesity (13).
However, research into the human microbiome is an emerging field, and more research is necessary to confirm these potential benefits.
For those interested in probiotics, other fermented dairy products such as buttermilk and kefir will also have these potential benefits.
Key Point: The probiotic bacteria in Greek yogurt may lead to a healthier microbiome, which could have a positive impact upon general health.
4) Greek Yogurt Is High In Vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 is an essential vitamin, but unfortunately, vitamin B12 deficiency is widespread in recent times.
For instance, more than 6% of adults in the United States and the United Kingdom have a vitamin B12 deficiency. In the over-60 age group, this figure rises to more than 20%, and much larger numbers of the population have a marginal deficiency (14).
On the positive side, dairy foods such as Greek yogurt provide a moderate amount of this vital vitamin.
Although red meat is the best dietary source of B12, Greek yogurt offers a respectable 1.4 mcg per 200-gram serving. Since the reference daily intake for B12 is 2.4 mcg, this works out at 58% of the RDI (15).
Vitamin B12 has numerous important functions within the human body, and it is responsible for producing and regulating DNA. It also plays a key role in energy production and the formation of red blood cells (16).
Key Point: Greek yogurt is an excellent source of vitamin B12.
5) May Have Benefits For Oral Health
Some (limited) research suggests that the probiotics in Greek yogurt may have a positive effect on oral health.
In a systematic review and meta-analysis of 24 studies, probiotic sources of dairy increased the PH of saliva and reduced counts of Streptococcus mutans, a “bad” bacteria that promotes tooth decay (17).
Furthermore, numerous clinical trials show certain probiotics in yogurt reduce the presence of harmful oral bacteria (18).
However, it is worth noting that the research in this area is limited, and more studies are necessary to prove these potential benefits.
Key Point: Studies suggest that probiotic bacteria in yogurt may improve the balance of good/bad bacteria in the mouth.
6) May Promote Satiety and Appetite Control
Research shows that Greek yogurt may have a beneficial impact on satiety levels.
Satiety refers to the feeling of satisfaction—and not feeling hungry—after a meal.On this note, a randomized trial showed that Greek yogurt might have a beneficial satiating effect.
In this study, an afternoon snack of Greek yogurt led to reduced hunger, better satiety levels, and a longer time before subsequent eating compared to calorie-matched, lower protein snacks (19).
A further randomized study found that in twenty healthy female participants, a mid-afternoon yogurt led to greater feelings of fullness than a calorie-matched cracker or chocolate snack.Additionally, the women who ate the yogurt consumed around 100 calories fewer at dinner compared to the cracker and chocolate group (20).
However, this is likely due to the protein content rather than Greek yogurt having any unique satiating properties.
Dietary protein is widely thought to be the most satiating of the three macronutrients (21).
Key Point: Greek yogurt is an ideal high-protein snack, and it leads to reduced hunger compared to lower protein snack options.
7) Potential Heart Benefits
Numerous systematic reviews and meta-analyses suggest that fermented dairy products, such as Greek yogurt, may be good for the heart;
- A 2016 systematic review on dairy product consumption and the risk of cardiovascular disease demonstrated a favorable impact of fermented dairy on stroke risk and hypertension. Additionally, there was a neutral impact on cardiovascular risk (22).
- In a systematic review of 18 studies that followed 762,414 individuals for 8 to 26 years, yogurt consumption had no association with cardiovascular or stroke risk (23).
- In a systematic review of nine studies featuring 291,236 participants, a daily serving of >200 g yogurt was significantly associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease (24).
Generally speaking, all extensive studies show neutral or favorable effects of yogurt on cardiovascular health.
However, it is important to remember that these are observational studies. In other words, correlation doesn’t prove causation.
Key Point: According to large-scale systematic reviews, Greek yogurt is likely neutral or beneficial for heart health.
Potential Drawbacks of Greek Yogurt
While the health benefits of Greek yogurt are clear, there are also some potential concerns to know.
1) Many Flavored Brands of Greek Yogurt Contain Large Amounts of Sugar
Although plain Greek yogurt is very healthy, opting for a heavily processed brand may cancel out these health benefits.
For example, a regular plain Greek yogurt naturally contains only three grams of sugar per 100 grams (5).
On the other hand, more processed options, such as this lime-flavored yogurt, contain four times the amount of sugar as well as various additives.
For health purposes, it is better to opt for plain Greek yogurt and add any extra ingredients (such as real fruit) at home.
2) May Cause Problems For People With Lactose Intolerance
As previously mentioned, Greek yogurt contains a lower amount of sugar than other dairy products.
Since some of the lactose is strained out during the process of making the yogurt, there are only three grams of lactose per 100 g.
This lactose content is significantly less than regular yogurt and whole milk, which both contain around 5 grams of lactose (25, 26).
Since there are substantial variabilities in the extent to which people suffer from lactose intolerance, this reduced lactose content could make a difference for many people (27).
For this reason, people withslight sensitivities to lactose may better tolerate Greek yogurt compared to other dairy options.
However, it is still possible that Greek yogurt could cause problems for people.
Individuals with strong adverse reactions to lactose-containing foods may have to avoid Greek yogurt.
Key Point: People with lactose sensitivities may better tolerate Greek yogurt compared to regular yogurt and milk.
For those that enjoy regular yogurt, Greek yogurt offers more of the same – just with a thicker and creamier taste.
This delicious dairy food also has the benefit of offering more protein and less lactose, which could make it a favorable choice for many people.
Just be aware that there are many Greek yogurt products out there, and most of them are full of sugar and unnecessary additives.
In contrast, plain Greek yogurt appears to have numerous health benefits, and it tastes great too.
For more high-protein dairy foods, see this article on Quark cheese.
Is thick Greek yogurt good for you? ›
While regular yogurt tends to have fewer calories and more calcium, Greek yogurt has more protein and less sugar — and a much thicker consistency. Both types pack probiotics and support digestion, weight loss, and heart health.What is the benefits of Greek yogurt? ›
Greek yogurt is a type of yogurt that's high in protein and other nutrients like vitamin B12, calcium, and selenium. It's linked to a few health benefits, such as supporting muscle and bone health, and certain types may help contribute to a healthy gut.Is creamy Greek yogurt good for you? ›
Greek yogurt is an excellent source of calcium, which can help improve bone health. It also contains probiotics, which support a healthy bacterial balance in the gut. Eating Greek yogurt may be associated with lower blood pressure and a lower risk of type 2 diabetes.Is Greek yogurt dairy good for you? ›
The Nutrients in Greek Yogurt
It offers nine essential nutrients like calcium, zinc and vitamin B12 and is also packed with high-quality protein. On average, plain Greek Yogurt has more than 16 grams of protein in a 6-ounce serving helping you stay fuller longer.
Consuming one to two cups of lowfat Greek yogurt daily can be a healthy addition to your diet without making it difficult to maintain your weight.When should I eat Greek yogurt? ›
With the four recommended times mentioned above, the best options to consume yogurt are in the morning or on an empty stomach. This is because the good bacteria or probiotics in yogurt must reach the large intestine alive to maintain digestive efficiency and health.What are the benefits of eating yogurt at night? ›
Dairy products such as Greek Yogurt contain an amino acid called tryptophan, which may help you to feel drowsier before heading to bed. After you eat foods rich in tryptophan, your body converts it into two hormones, serotonin and melatonin, which may promote a restful night's sleep.Which is healthier yogurt or Greek yogurt? ›
Because nutritionists urge us to avoid too many sweets, going Greek is a smarter choice. “Greek has a lower amount of sugar (around 5-8 grams, compared to 12 or more grams) than the regular yogurt, while still having the high levels of vitamins and minerals,” Ewoldt says.How many times a week can you eat Greek yogurt? ›
"There are really not any risks when you eat Greek yogurt every day limiting it to two servings a day. However, you may not get the benefits if you choose the wrong Greek yogurt," says Elena Paravantes, RDN and creator of OliveTomato.com. "Greek yogurt should only contain milk and or cream and live cultures.How much yogurt should I eat a day for probiotics? ›
But at least two servings per day would be needed to achieve these benefits. Yoptimal contains Bifidobacterium lactis BB12+ and Lactobacillus acidophilus LA-5, which decrease cavity-causing bacteria and may improve glycemic control and cholesterol levels in diabetics. One-half to two servings per day would be needed.
Which yogurt is the healthiest? ›
Greek yoghurt is generally considered the most nutritious option when it comes to yoghurts. Due to the way it is made, it is naturally higher in protein, which makes it a great addition to breakfast, leaving you feeling satisfied throughout the morning.Is Greek yogurt anti inflammatory? ›
“Yogurt is associated with decreased inflammation, decreased insulin resistance and it may prevent type 2 diabetes,” Dr. Hu says. Nutrition researchers believe yogurt's anti-inflammatory power comes from the probiotics it contains, but that has yet to be confirmed with rigorous trials, he says.Is Greek yogurt good for cholesterol? ›
Research associates increased intake of full-fat fermented dairy products with reduced LDL (bad) cholesterol and blood pressure, as well as a lower risk of stroke, heart disease, and diabetes ( 23 ). Plus, fermented dairy products like yogurt benefit intestinal health by supporting friendly gut bacteria ( 24 ).Which yogurt is highest in probiotics? ›
Kefir contains more probiotics than any yogurt. With up to 61 different strains of microbes, it can be an excellent source of probiotics.Is yogurt good before bed? ›
Turns out, any milk product will do the trick. Reader's Digest suggests breaking out the cheese and crackers before bed, or even a cup of yogurt. Calcium found in dairy products will help the brain use the tryptophan found in dairy to help make sleep-inducing melatonin.Does eating yogurt improve skin? ›
The calcium content in yogurt helps to effectively nourish the skin, hair, and nails. At the same time, it has a moisturizing effect on the skin, preventing dryness of the skin. B vitamins are an ingredient in yogurt as a natural lotion.Does Greek yogurt help with constipation? ›
Probiotics: The good bacteria can help you go.
Kimball says any yogurt — not just those that advertise they're good for gastrointestinal health — can be a good source of probiotics that help relieve constipation. “I usually look for a low-sugar Greek yogurt,” she says.
Having a glass of water after eating yogurt helps improve your body's capability to absorb water and improves hydration.Can Greek yogurt be taken on an empty stomach? ›
Eating yogurt or fermented milk products on an empty stomach forms hydrochloric acid. This kills the lactic acid bacteria present in these milk products and leads to acidity. Hence, eating these products should be avoided on an empty stomach.What is the best yogurt for seniors? ›
Enter Greek yogurt, which is a great high-protein snack for seniors eating less meat. One thing to watch out for with Greek yogurt is the high sugar content of the flavored varieties. Opting for plain Greek yogurt would be the healthiest choice, and you can stir in fresh fruit or granola.
Is Greek yogurt better than eggs? ›
Greek yogurt is a far more nutritious option. “Six ounces contain 15 grams of protein — two to three times the amount you'd find in regular yogurt and more than the amount 2 ounces of meat or two eggs provide,” notes Hopsecger. Greek yogurt also boasts probiotics, the healthy bacteria that support gut health.Is a bowl of Greek yogurt good for you? ›
Greek yogurt is a good source of calcium, magnesium and phosphorus – minerals essential for bone health. Indeed, studies suggest that diets which include foods, like yogurt, may support bone mineral density.What are the best foods to eat before bed? ›
- Cherries. Cherries, especially the tart Montmorency variety, are a natural source of melatonin. ...
- Bananas. Bananas are rich in magnesium and have been found to significantly increase melatonin. ...
- Walnuts. ...
- Turkey. ...
Reduced Vaginal Disease Risks
According to a 2013 study published in “Nutrition Research,” eating yogurt on a regular basis is linked to lower blood pressure, blood glucose, and triglyceride levels, as well as decreased insulin resistance and vaginal infections, when compared to not eating yoghurt.
Is yogurt a good choice? Yogurt that is not too sour is also excellent for acid reflux, because of the probiotics that help normalize bowel function. Yogurt also provides protein, and soothes stomach discomfort, often providing a cooling sensation.Is Greek yogurt good for diabetics? ›
Yogurt can be a great nutrient-dense breakfast option or an easy snack. If unsweetened and Greek-style, it's low in carbohydrates and high in protein. This means it won't cause blood sugar spikes in people with diabetes, like other sources of carbohydrates.Can you put yogurt in coffee? ›
CAN YOU ADD YOGURT TO COFFEE? The answer to this question is Yes, you can use Yogurt in so many ways inside your coffee. Some people may think that the idea is repulsive. At first, some of them said they disliked how the sour milk was put into their hot plain black coffee.Which is better probiotic yogurt or Greek yogurt? ›
If you are looking to boost your protein intake or prefer a thicker yogurt, Greek yogurt is a great option, however, regular yogurt is equally as nutrient-dense and rich in probiotics.What should not be eaten with yogurt? ›
Vasant Lad notes that yogurt shouldn't be paired with milk. In addition to this, he also lists down a couple of everyday foods, that you may have been combining all your life with yogurt but shouldn't be! These include sour fruits, melons, fish, mango, starches, cheese and bananas.How Long Will Greek yogurt last in the fridge? ›
Here's the straightforward, simple answer: According to the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service Foodkeeper app, yogurt should be consumed within 1 to 2 weeks of the purchase date. (This time frame assumes you've been refrigerating your yogurt, by the way.)
What food is best to eat with empty stomach in morning? ›
- Soaked almonds. Almonds are a rich source of manganese, Vitamin E, protein, fibre, Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acid. ...
- Warm water and honey. ...
- Wheat grass powder with water. ...
- Raisins. ...
- Papaya. ...
- Watermelon. ...
- Chia seeds.
- Yogurt. Yogurt is made by culturing milk with bacteria that produce lactic acid, such as Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus, although more strains can also be added. ...
- Buttermilk. ...
- Cottage Cheese. ...
- Tempeh. ...
- Sauerkraut. ...
- Miso Soup.
- Bananas. Bananas are a popular yellow fruit that is easily available in the market. ...
- Custard Apples. Custard apples are rich in antioxidants and are extremely beneficial for heart and brain health. ...
- Watermelon. ...
- Grapefruit. ...
“The best time to take a probiotic is on an empty stomach,” Dr. Wallman says. For most people, that means taking a probiotic first thing in the morning (at least an hour before a meal, Dr. Wallman advises), or right before you go to sleep.How much yogurt should I eat a day? ›
It's safe and healthy to eat up to 3 cups of unsweetened nonfat or low-fat yogurt every day.What yogurt is best for breakfast? ›
Greek yogurt is a great ally at breakfast because it's healthy, light, nutritious, and super versatile. In fact, most nutritionists recommend making it part of a balanced diet, since it's also low in sugar and fats (if you choose the fat-free variety, that is).What is the best yogurt for infections? ›
Plain yogurt that contains Lactobacillus and no natural sweeteners might help treat the infection and ease the symptoms. But be sure to only use plain yogurt. Yogurt that contains added sugar will likely make the infection and its symptoms worse because sugar causes the yeast to multiply.Does Greek yogurt help joint pain? ›
Dairy products: Many foods that are made from dairy are high in both saturated fats and advanced glycation end products. Therefore, they can trigger inflammation and should be avoided. However, food such as Greek yoghurt has been found to be anti-inflammatory.Is Greek yogurt good for arthritis? ›
Greek yogurt is higher in protein than non-Greek yogurt, and many yogurts are fortified with vitamin D, which is important for people with rheumatoid arthritis, according to Sonya Angelone, RDN, the owner of a nutritional counseling firm based in the San Francisco area.Is Greek yogurt good for joints? ›
Milk, cheese, and yogurt are good sources of nutrition, but they contain a protein that may irritate tissues around your joints.
Is Greek yogurt good for high blood pressure? ›
Greek yogurt is a nutrient-dense dairy product that's packed with minerals that help regulate blood pressure, including potassium and calcium ( 29 ).
Almonds and other tree nuts can improve blood cholesterol. A recent study concluded that a diet supplemented with walnuts can lower the risk of heart complications in people with history of a heart attack. All nuts are high in calories, so a handful added to a salad or eaten as a snack will do.What breakfast foods help lower cholesterol? ›
- Almond milk.
- Avocado toast.
- Egg white scramble.
- Orange juice.
- Smoked salmon.
- Bran muffins.
One of the best home remedies for yeast infection may be in your fridge! According to findings, probiotics found in greek yogurt can be highly effective against C. Albicans. Yogurt is a probiotic because it contains beneficial live bacteria like Lactobacillus acidophilus.
Kefir, another fermented milk product, has many important nutrients and far more probiotic cultures compared to yogurt to help aid and balance your gut bacteria. Kefir has 30 types of probiotic yeasts and beneficial bacteria—that's approximately three times the number of probiotic cultures compared to yogurt!Why is my Greek yogurt so thick? ›
Greek yogurt is yogurt that has been strained to remove its whey, resulting in a thicker consistency than that of unstrained yogurt, while preserving yogurt's distinctive sour taste.What is thick Greek yogurt called? ›
Labneh, the super-thick yogurt you might have heard us talking about from time to time, is made in the same way. This yogurt is essentially Greek yogurt taken a step further, strained aggressively to remove enough whey that the result is almost cream cheese-like in texture.What does it mean if Greek yogurt is chunky? ›
Excessive clumping or curdling: yogurt should have a smooth texture, so a clumpy or curdled consistency is a sign of spoilage and a tip-off to throw the yogurt away.What is the healthiest yogurt you can eat? ›
Greek yoghurt is generally considered the most nutritious option when it comes to yoghurts. Due to the way it is made, it is naturally higher in protein, which makes it a great addition to breakfast, leaving you feeling satisfied throughout the morning.Is yogurt good for your stomach? ›
Why it's good for you: A fermented food, yogurt naturally contains lots of probiotic cultures that strengthen the digestive tract. Some Greek yogurt also boasts added probiotics like Lactobacillus acidophilus and Lactobacillus casei that may help increase the good bacteria in your gut.
Which yogurt has the most probiotics? ›
Kefir contains more probiotics than any yogurt. With up to 61 different strains of microbes, it can be an excellent source of probiotics.What is the best yogurt for osteoporosis? ›
Greek Yogurt: It's higher in protein and has fewer carbs compared to regular yogurt, but it's also lower in calcium – a key nutrient for bone health. It's a great choice, especially for women, because we need more protein as we age to help maintain muscle and bone.What is the thickest creamiest yogurt? ›
Labneh is the thickest yogurt variety, and one of the lesser popular ones in the United States. The spreadable yogurt is strained until virtually no liquid can be removed and is closer to a cream cheese or sour cream consistency.How long does Greek yogurt last in the fridge once opened? ›
Greek yogurt can last up to two weeks in the fridge, but it can last up to two months in the freezer.How long does Greek yogurt last in fridge? ›
Here's the straightforward, simple answer: According to the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service Foodkeeper app, yogurt should be consumed within 1 to 2 weeks of the purchase date. (This time frame assumes you've been refrigerating your yogurt, by the way.)Does Greek yogurt go bad after opening? ›
A good rule of thumb is two weeks, according to Kostro Miller — and that's the outer limit. “Even if there's no mold that you can see or smell, you should consume Greek yogurt within 1 to 2 weeks of opening it,” she says.