Which Is Healthier: Greek Yogurt or Regular Yogurt?

By: Lisa Valente, M.S., R.D.

Is Greek yogurt healthier than regular yogurt? We compared the nutrition stats of each yogurt to help you make your choice.

plain homemade yogurt

Pictured Recipe: Homemade Plain Yogurt

Greek Vs. Regular: By the Numbers

Greek yogurt is made by straining out the extra whey in regular yogurt. It makes a yogurt that's thicker, creamier and tangier than regular yogurt. Plain Greek yogurt has less sugar and more protein than regular yogurt. But regular yogurt delivers twice the bone-strengthening mineral calcium. Greek yogurt also tends to be more expensive than regular yogurt, because more milk goes into making each cup.
SERVING: 1 cup (nonfat) GREEK REGULAR
Calories 133 137
Total fat (g) 0 0
Sodium (mg) 81 189
Total carb (g) 8 19
Sugars (g) 7 19
Protein (g) 23 14
Calcium (mg) (%DV) 248 (25%) 488 (49%)
Potassium (mg) (%DV) 317 (9%) 625 (18%)

Environmental Impact

There’s been chatter about the environmental impact of Greek yogurt’s byproduct, whey. When Greek yogurt is strained, the whey from the milk (also called “acid” whey because of its lower pH) is left over. The whey can be sold to farmers to add to livestock feed, and can also be used as fertilizer and even turned into electricity. Because Greek yogurt production has increased so rapidly in recent years, there’s been some concern that farms don’t have the capacity to handle all the extra whey produced. They can use some of the whey productively, but the large quantities produced are too much. More research is currently being done on more efficient and new ways to handle the byproduct.

Which to Choose:

Go Greek! The high-protein yogurt makes a more filling and hearty snack. It’s also great added to smoothies or mixed with fruit and whole-grain cereal for breakfast. Not to mention, plain Greek yogurt can be used in place of sour cream to save 78 calories and 7 grams of saturated fat (per ¼ cup) when making tacos, dips or baked potatoes.

The Bottom Line

Yogurt can be a healthy choice regardless of whether you choose Greek or regular. They both have protein, calcium and probiotics (good bacteria that help keep your gut healthy). Choose plain yogurt, though. The flavored varieties add unnecessary sugar; some have 7 teaspoons of added sugar. Instead if you’re craving a little sweetness, add fresh fruit or a teaspoon or two of honey or maple syrup to your yogurt.

Watch: How to Make Frozen Yogurt Bark

Related Links:
How to Make Your Own Homemade Yogurt
How to Buy the Healthiest Yogurt?
Healthy Yogurt Recipes