Yogurt is one of the foods that gets an A+ for versatility.
Quick protein-packed snack? Check. Savory yogurt dip? Yes, please. Fruit-filled frozen yogurt? Refreshing.
But the options in the yogurt aisle can get a bit complicated. Sure, there’s vegan yogurt, keto yogurt, kefir, and more — but what about Greek yogurt?
A Greek intro
Since first hitting American shelves in 2001, Greek yogurt has made quite the name for itself as one of the go-to yogurt options.
Its popularity really rose in the past decade, reaching a $7.2 billion industry in 2019.
Most marketing tends to brand Greek yogurt as “healthier” than regular yogurt.
Spoiler: It’s not.
So what’s the real difference between Greek yogurt and yogurt?
We’re so glad you asked. Let’s break down both, talk about their health benefits, and what each has to offer.
All dairy yogurt is made the same way: by the bacterial fermentation of milk.
During bacterial fermentation, lactose (a natural sugar in milk) converts to lactic acid. This causes the milk to thicken and provides the classic tangy flavor yogurt is known for.
So, wait, yogurt is milk and… bacteria?
It’s completely safe and very gut-friendly.
So although Greek and regular yogurt are made using the same method, they differ in one big way: What happens after they’re made.
To sum up the difference between Greek yogurt vs. yogurt: Greek yogurt is strained.
Yup. That’s it.
Since Greek yogurt is strained, it removes much of the whey and other liquids that are found in regular yogurt. This causes Greek yogurt to have a thicker, creamier consistency than regular yogurt and to also taste a bit tangier.
Think of Greek yogurt as a much more concentrated version of regular yogurt. And because of this, Greek yogurt also requires more milk to make (hence the higher dollar) and contains more protein ounce-for-ounce.
Some fermented food for thought
If you ever notice “Greek-style” on your yogurt label, this typically means that the yogurt includes additional thickening agents.
When it comes to their nutritional profiles, both Greek and regular yogurt offer all of these benefits but differ in the amounts they provide.
|Regular yogurt||Greek yogurt|
|Carbs||11 grams (g)||8 g|
|Sugar||11 g||7 g|
|Protein||8 g||22 g|
|Fat||9 g||8 g|
|Calcium||19% of the Daily Value (DV)||23% of the DV|
|Sodium||5% of the DV||6% of the DV|
The nutritional facts for both will vary widely based on the brand.
But to sum up what you’re likely to find: Greek yogurt normally has more calories but fewer carbs than regular yogurt. Greek yogurt also has less sugar than regular yogurt and typically has double (or triple) the amount of protein per serving.
Both Greek yogurt and yogurt can be used for a variety of recipes and preparations, including smoothies, dips, baking, and replacing mayo or cream to make lightened-up spins on sauces (hello, Alfredo!).
So, we’re all on the same page that Greek and regular yogurt come with a lot of the same health benefits.
First up: Probiotics. There’s that word again, but what does it mean exactly?
Yogurt is also good news for bone health, thanks to its calcium, protein, and potassium. Research shows that eating dairy foods (specifically, at least three servings per day) can preserve bone mass and strength.
Last but not least, yogurt may help promote weight loss. Studies show that full fat dairy products reduce the risk of obesity. Additionally, the calcium and protein found in yogurt work together to produce appetite-suppressing hormones.
Flavor wise, Greek yogurt and regular yogurt do taste different. We’ve covered that Greek has a much thicker and creamier consistency, but it also typically tastes more sour. Regular yogurt has a thinner consistency and is naturally sweeter.
Also, Greek yogurt has been shown to better promote satiety and delay hunger since it has a higher amount of protein compared to regular yogurt.
With so many of the same benefits, choosing between Greek yogurt and regular yogurt mainly comes down to preference.
Are you trying to get more protein into your daily diet? Opt for Greek.
Reach for Greek when you’re looking for a thicker consistency (think: for sauces, mayo substitutes, or dips). If you’re whipping up smoothies, marinades, or dressings, regular yogurt is great.
And you can always eat either one as is. Top with fruit or granola if you’re feeling fancy. Either way, it’s best to be mindful of the amounts of added sugar in both.