Greece – birthplace of democracy, the Mediterranean diet and … yogurt? Yes, these days Greece is also famous for this dairy delight, and thanks to high demand, more than a quarter of the yogurt bought in this country is Greek style. But how does it fare, nutritionally speaking, compared to its American cousin? Read on to find out.
Laurie Ross, Carolinas HealthCare System registered dietitian, said both yogurts can be a great substitute for sour cream, but be careful what's included. “Yogurt can be a great part of a healthy diet,” she said. But when choosing yogurt, opt for those brands that do not contain fruit on the bottom and have less than 12 grams of sugars.”
The prize for most economical goes to regular yogurt. According to Consumer Reports, expect to pay anywhere from 66 cents to $1 for one serving of traditional yogurt, while Greek yogurt can really strain the wallet at about $1.15 to $2.10 per serving.
Because Greek yogurt is strained of extra liquid called whey, the result is a thicker, creamier texture than regular yogurt. You might find Greek yogurt to be tangier, too. The taste and texture of this yogurt isn’t for everyone, but if you still want to reap the health benefits of Greek yogurt without eating it on its own, consider using it as the basis for other foods, such as dip or salad dressing.
Remember, when it comes to any yogurt, cut out the extra sugar and fat! Plain, nonfat or low-fat versions are best, and you can always add your own fresh fruit if you need to jazz up the taste. Where Greek yogurt really shines is its protein punch; plain Greek yogurt packs more than 17 grams into a 6-ounce container, compared to about 9 grams in regular yogurt. It also has less sugar than traditional yogurt, about 7 grams versus almost 12 grams; less sodium, 61 milligrams versus 119 milligrams; and almost half the carbohydrates, at 7 grams, compared to the 12 grams in regular yogurt – something that should please just about every carb-counter out there! Where Greek yogurt takes a hit is in calcium, 187 grams compared to 311 in regular yogurt.
You’ll see organic options and those labeled hormone-free. There is no conclusive evidence that organic is better for you.
Greek yogurt beats traditional yogurt in most categories. However, both provide you with the essential vitamins and minerals you need – as well as gut-healthy probiotics – and help you meet the recommendation of three servings of milk or milk products daily. So if Greek yogurt, is, well, Greek to you, don’t be afraid to pick up a spoon and dive into regular yogurt.