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Calorie Count Blog

Is Greek Yogurt Worth The Hype?


By +Carolyn Richardson on May 07, 2013 10:00 AM in Healthy Eating

I love fresh yogurt. But I’m very picky about what cup of probiotic goodness I eat. With the ever-expanding yogurt aisle, you may not be checking the label of each and every option available. We make your yogurt selection easier with this inside look into the cup of yogurt that has become all-too-familiar.

Real and Fake Greek Yogurt

Greek yogurt is still gaining ground among health conscious eaters, comprising over 35% of the fresh yogurt market. But what exactly is Greek yogurt? There is no legal definition for it, so making the Greek yogurt claim is not regulated by the FDA. Chobani, a leading Greek yogurt brand, started a marketing initiative about “real” Greek yogurt. Their tagline, “Go Real.” There are plenty of brands that tout the Greek yogurt label, but are not “real” at all. The traditional Greek yogurt process takes more time and requires about 3 times more milk to make the same amount of regular yogurt, so it's fitting that certain brands have taken a shortcut to enter the Greek yogurt market. You can tell if your Greek yogurt is the real thing by checking the ingredient list. If there are ingredients like milk protein concentrate, corn starch, gelatin or anything other than milk and yogurt cultures, you may not be eating traditionally-made processed Greek yogurt. So you know, Yoplait, Cabot, and Lucerne’s Greek yogurt all contain milk protein concentrate, and each has additional additives such as gelatin, corn starch, and whey protein concentrate.

What about Fat and Sugar?

The biggest hubbub about Greek yogurt is its higher protein content, but what about fat and sugar? Full-fat Greek yogurt has more fat and calories than regular plain yogurt. But plain yogurt may be hard to come by these days. Yoplait doesn’t even list a non-Greek plain yogurt option on their website. That said, navigating the right yogurt choice takes some extra work. If the ingredient list isn’t telling enough, look for an anomaly in what the fat and sugar content should be without all of the extras. Typically, no matter the fat content, an 8 oz. serving of plain yogurt has about 12 grams of carbs and about 9 grams of protein. Low-fat yogurt has about 2.5 grams of fat, and full-fat about 8 grams. When it comes to plain Greek yogurt, the serving is usually smaller, around 5.3 ounces, and has about 15 grams of protein and 6 grams of sugar. The low-fat options, keep in mind the smaller serving size, have about 3.5 grams of fat. Full-fat Greek yogurt is hard to find plain, but Fage’s Total Classic option is a hefty 220 calories in its 8 oz. serving (thanks to the additional cream in their recipe). Most other full-fat options are offered in fruity flavors and add way more sugar than the low sugar content of the plain varieties. 

Newer Yogurts on the Market

Pinkberry, the frozen yogurt chain, has entered the fresh yogurt market with its Pinkberrygreek. Their snack size is a tiny 4 oz. at 70 calories and their meal size, almost 6 ounces is 100 calories. Noosa, a brand I heard tastes like ice cream lured me into a taste test. Funny thing, the calorie count is similar to one serving of ice cream. Each package is 8 ounces, 300 calories total, but masked behind a 4 oz. serving listing – the same serving size of ice cream. The ingredient list is also similar to ice cream with milk, cream, sugar, and pectin (with a little milk protein to boot). You’ve got a small amount of protein at 6 grams, 7 grams of fat, and 18 grams of sugar – again those are the numbers for the 4 oz. serving. Multiply by two and you’re really going above and beyond your yogurt calorie allotment. If you'd tried Noosa before and remember a lower calorie count, they just offered a mea culpa about that incorrect nutritional information. We love that they've come clean.

Top Ten Yogurt Calorie Countdown

To give you a better idea of the best and worst options you’re used to seeing on the shelf, we put together a list of the nutritional information for yogurt options by brand and calorie count of course. 

Dannon’s Oikos

Non-fat Plain Greek, 8 oz. serving, 120 calories, Carbs 9g, Protein 22g

Flavored ≈5.3 oz. serving, 160 calories, Fat 4.5g, Carbs 18g, Protein 11g  

Noosa 

No plain offered

Flavored ≈4 oz. serving, 150 calories, Fat 6g, Carbs 21g, Protein 6g

Yoplait

Non-fat Plain Greek, 6 oz. serving, 120 calories, Carbs 13g, Protein 15g

Greek Flavored ≈ 6oz. serving, 160 calories, Carbs 26g, Protein 12g

Original Flavored ≈6 oz. serving, 170 calories, Carbs 33g, Protein 5g

Yoplait Light(contains artificial sweeteners) 6 oz. serving, 90 calories, Carbs 16g, Protein 5g

Chobani Greek Yogurt

Non-fat Plain 6 oz. serving, 100 calories, Carbs 7g, Protein 18g

Plain Low-Fat 6 oz. serving, 130 calories, Fat 3.5g, Carbs 7g, Protein 17g

Flavored ≈6 oz. serving, 140 calories, Carbs 22g, Protein 14g

Activia

No Plain Offered

Greek Flavored ≈ 5.3 oz, 130 calories, Carbs 19g, Protein 12g

Flavored ≈ 4 oz. serving, 110 calories, Carbs 20g, Protein 4g

Activia Light(contains artificial sweeteners) ≈ 4 oz. serving, 60 calories, Carbs 10g, Fiber 2g, Protein 4g

Horizon Organic

Fat-Free Plain, 8oz. serving, 110 calories, Carbs 15g, Protein 10 

Cream-on-Top Whole Plain, 8 oz. serving, 160 calories, Carbs 14.1g, Protein 10g

Fat-Free Flavored≈ 6 oz. serving, 130 calories, Carbs 26g, Protein 7g

Greek Gods

Non-Fat Plain 6 oz. serving, 60 calories, Carbs 10g, Fiber 2g, Protein 6g

Full-fat Flavored≈ 6 oz. serving, 270 calories, Carbs 26g, Fiber 2g, Protein 6g

Mountain High (Trader Joe’s)

Fat-Free Plain 8 oz. serving, 120 calories, Carbs 19g, Protein 11g

Low-fat Vanilla 8 oz. 190 calories, Carbs 31g, Protein 11g

Full-Fat Flavored≈ 8 oz. serving, 230 calories, Fat 7g, Carbs 31g, Protein 11g

Fage

Non-fat Plain 6 oz. serving, 97 calories, Carbs 6.7g, Protein 17.2g

2% Flavored 5.3 oz. serving, 130 calories, Fat 2.5g, Carbs 18g, Protein 10g

Stonyfield

Non-fat Plain  8 oz. serving, 110 calories, Carbs 16g, Protein 11g

Full-fat Flavored≈ 8 oz. serving, 230 calories, Fat 8g, Carbs 31g, Protein 8g

 

Your thoughts...

Greek yogurt - worth the hype?

 




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Comments


I've always liked Oikos -- very creamy with a slightly sharp taste.  As a vegetarian, I use it frequently, often as a substitute for sour cream, mainly due to its higher nutrient content.  The other products have too many added ingredients that confuse its basic use for me.



so which one is best? is this list organzied best to worst? is chobani not real? and does that mean it isn't good for you because there is gelatin, etc... in it?


In addition to checking the label for carbs, fat and protein content, check out the sugar content. 



I think the article has it right - read the label! The added protein in real Greek yogurt is an astounding addition to our arsenal. Btw, Kroger offers an excellent house brand at a very favorable price.


lindamayhall:

I don't understand this "best and worst options" list either, which ones do they recommend? And why isn't Dannon listed? 



it always shocks me to look at the labels to see who's adding High Fructose Corn Syrup into their yogurts too - watch out for that! i love greek yogurt but i'm on a big kick to lower my sugar intake, so i'm sticking with plain non-fat, usually Chobani or even the generic brand is good!



Fage is my fav from the bunch - I like controlling the amount of flavoring/sugar I put into it, so the separate containers work out great. 

Similar to the protein content of greek yogurt, though, I regularly have Siggi's, a yogurt skyr. 5oz for 14g protein, 100 cals, and 9g of sugar for the flavored. Yummmmm. 



Maybe it's just me, but I cannot stand Greek yogurt.  I tried to like it...really....it's healthy and great for you.  If only it didn't taste like eating sour cream.  YUK!



I've tried a lot of these, and I find the fat free stuff to be gritty, no matter which brand. I love the Fage 2%, and I wish they had more flavors. I'm on a Noosa kick right now, and I always split the container so I only eat the 4 oz at a time.



Plain yogurt hard to find because yoplait doesn't have it? Plain (non Greek) yogurt is certainly not hard to find at the Jewel and Dominick's near me! I've been buying Stoneyfield or Mountain High plain yogurt for years with no trouble.

Now I've switched to lowfat plain Greek yogurt for the extra protein. I use Fage 2%. It's "real Greek" and has more protein than Chobani! Only 15 more calories for 1/2c compared to non-greek.

@lindamayhall I totally agree and am surprised the article didn't mention checking out the sugar content. If you are getting flavored yogurt definitely look at sugar it's amazing how much they can pack into a small 6oz container!



Greek yogurt doesn't have sugar.... products made with Greek yogurt do.

Most products on the market claiming to be Greek yogurt are not, they are full of sugar and fat. It should be made mostly with skim milk, not cream and still thick as its strained. 

Yes, actual Greek yogurt is more like sour cream than a yogurt. I use it as such, with eggs or nachos. Also if you add some dried fruit, nuts and seeds (not granola, that's all carbs) it serves as a super balanced snack.  



http://caloriecount.about.com/cc/account/flog_add.php?search pro=greek+yogurt&mealtime=1&x=0&y=0

Calorie count measures the nutritional content and pops out a letter grade. 



Costco sells a Kirkland [their own] brand plain nonfat Greek yogurt. The ingredient list says... cultured pasteurized grade A nonfat milk. period. It contains live and and active cultures as well. One cup has 140 cal., 10g carbs, sugars 7g and 24g [!!] protein. It's sold in 32oz containers, two to a pack. 

I find it thick, tasty and good, not too tart. I add my own flavorings, usually fresh berries, slightly crushed. Sometimes I'll add a bit of vanilla or stevia extract. I usually spoon out about 6oz for a serving. I also use it in soups, dips, spreads, dressings, sauces  and as a condiment, with an assortment of flavorings. 



I love the Oikos Vanilla, made by Dannon, but it was out of stock a couple of times so I bought the plain.  Bit of a bite to the plain, which I tried to mask with stevia sweetener my sister uses, and didn't like that either.  Then I tried a couple of splashes of the Vanilla "syrup" I got at the $ store, and LOVE the taste now.  The vanilla stuff is meant for coffee, I think, and allegedly has no calories or carbs.  

When comparing Oikos to Great Value brand @ Walmart, the dairy manager told me that Oikos private labels Great Value for Walmart.  The nutritional info on the plain is exactly the same.  So I now buy the Great Value plain and mix in a little vanilla syrup--tastes great and lots of protein!

 



Yeah, I love Greek yogurt.  I have it at least four times a week for breakfast.  It fills me up and clocks in at about 120 cals.  This is one thing I don't need to worry about eating half, lol!  

Also, what a GREAT in between meals snack!  Greek yogurt bridges that gap nicely between lunch and dinner (if I didn't save half my lunch for that snack).  

So I say, critics be damned!  Greek yogurt to the rescue.

Jim

http://halfmealhabit.com/



Does "hype" matter? Read the label and pick the yogurt that meets your preferences, be they concerns for flavor; texture; or protein, fat, sugar, carb or calorie content. Shop smart not trendy.



I definitely think Greek yogurt is worth the hype but you do need to read the label. Not much point if you are getting "greek yogurt" with only 4-6 gm of protein in it.

I like using plain greek yogurt as a substitute for sour cream. I add spices to make a veggie dip. With the protein content, you can make a meal out of it. I use it on a small potato (sorry, I don't endorse the anti-carb/potato thing as I understand where our energy source is). You can then make a meal out of that.

I don't stress out too much about the fat content. We need some fat in our diets and helps a product become more satiating. Tis better to eat one Greek yogurt with 3.5 grams of fat than two with no fat--unless you are wanting more protein.

The original yogurts, with lower protein contents and higher sugar contents are good for immediate post-VIGOROUS (1 1/2-2 hour) work-outs where perfomance and recovery are the goals (vs. just calorie counting and weight loss). They are generally well-tolerated for during major long workouts (like long runs or swims for marathon/triathalon training).

And I either buy flavored yogurt or flavor the plain myself with lots of fruit. I buy what's on sale--but only if I like what the label says.



I've had LAP BAND surgery (4 1/2 years) and have lost about 60lbs. so far and am still loosing slowly.

My surgical group experts have suggested Greek Yogurt because of the Protein content compared to regular yogurt.

I was eating the Dannon Oikyos low fat (non fat?) fruit at the bottom, but the calorie content for 5 oz. was high: 130 cal.?

Then I discovered Dannon LIGHT N FIT GREEK YOGURT. The protein content was the same as the Oikyos (I think?) at 12 grams. But the calorie count for 5.3 oz. is only 80 calories with 0 fat. It's fruit on the bottom, just like the Oikyos and tastes EXACTLY THE SAME. I cut up fresh melon chunks with fresh blueberries or seedless red grapes and mix them in to get my fresh fruit fix. I also sprinkle crushed Special K Protein Plus cereal on top to get even more protein from it. 



DANNON LIGHT N FIT NUTRITION LABEL:

Serving size is 150g (5.3oz)(1 Container): 80 Cal. 0 Fat

Cholesterol: 10mg, Sodium: 55mg, Potassium: 160mg, Total Carbs: 8g,

Sugars: 6g, Protein: 12g

INGREDIENTS: Cultured grade A Non Fat milk, water

Strawberry: Less than 1% Fructose, Modified Corn Starch, Natural and Artificial flavors, Carmine and Black Carrot Juice Concentrate, Sodium Citrate, Sucralose, Potassium Sorbate, Malic Acid, Asesulfame Potassium 

I buy a 12 PAC flavor assortment of STRAWBERRY and BLUEBERRY at BJ's, usually with a coupon. 



I have been following the Weight Watchers plan for over 2 years. A number of months ago, when I had stopped losing, my leader suggested I try to include more power foods in my daily intake. I switched to having a non-fat greek yoghurt with a banana for breakfast. I prefer Fage, but if Chobani is on sale I will use that. It amazes me that I feel much more full with this than I did with eating cereal with skim milk and a banana. Even if I have it and then exercise, I am still fine until lunch. 



Im using the Fage 0% greek yogurt as a sour cream substitute. Its fantastic. I dont know about whether the sugar or such is a good amount or not. The serving size is 1 cup as far as the nutritional facts are concerned, however I only have 1/16th of that on my breakfast fajitas. I dont think I could eat a whole cup of it at one sitting though.



I love yogurt but it is overwhelming to shop for, as you said there is a whole aisle, just for yogurt. Being lactose intolerant it seems to be a dairy product I can tolerate. It is a perfect natural healthy food. I want sugar in mine, I don't need a lot of sugar. I do not like sugar substitutes, artificial flavoring or any chemicals that I don't know what they are. 



I've asked my Family Physician about Greek yogurt because I wanted to know if the health benefits out-weighed the extra cost.  In her opinion, unless you were eating it strictly for the extra protein that some of them have, they are no better for you than the regular, cheaper yogurts.  She actually recommends the regular Yoplait yogurt to Greek yogurt (but I don't need the extra protein).



I have a banana for a mid-morning snack. I usually have the yogurt as part of my TINY LITTLE LUNCH--like a low cal desert with the LEAN PROTEIN.

They tell me that the LEAN PROTEIN contributes significantly to the weight loss.

I find that walking for exercise about 4-5 miles at a 4 mph clip also helps significantly. 

In the summer after school gets out (I work in a high school), when I can walk almost daily, I'll loose about 20 lbs. This year, I'll be wearing an 8 lb. weight vest and carry two 3 lb. hand weights. 



It's the LEAN PROTEIN in the Greek Yogurt that makes the difference. 

Now that I've found a LOW CAL ZERO FAT fruit at the bottom Greek Yogurt with double the protein of regular low fat yogurt, it's a NO BRAINER to opt for the Greek



I like that great value also, and it cost less.

 



The question was not answered at all. Sooooo........ Is Greek Yogurt better in spite of more calories or not?



I started out with Fage and I love it.  I do a half cup serving and add my own fruit and splenda or splenda like sweetner.  I tried some others but like Fage the best.  I only tried it because they quit carrying the regular I had been using.  I love it on baked potatoes.  It is better than any fake sour cream I've had.  No guilt!  

I will never go back to regular yogurt just because I like this so much better and it is so versatile.



Original Post by: ddaldridge

Maybe it's just me, but I cannot stand Greek yogurt.  I tried to like it...really....it's healthy and great for you.  If only it didn't taste like eating sour cream.  YUK!


Use that sour cream taste to your advantage.  Mix a large container with a packet of dried onion soup mix and use it as a dip for veggies or baked chips.  Its really good.



I thought live cultures was the reason to eat yogurt over just drinking milk. Live cultures need fat to survive, so nonfat yogurt is practically an oxymoron. Then the q question of if nonfat yogurt has enough cultures to be benificial. Lastly full fat yogurt would have the most cultures, but does the negative effect of the fat over shadow the cultures?


I like the Fage for a sour cream substitute, I just used some last night on my made-from-scratch fajitas! It's also great for dips.

For regular breakfast with added fruit, though, or a protein smoothie, I would rather use regular low-fat yogurt.  I buy the Mountain High plain.  I bought a King Soopers (Kroger) brand and it was grainy, I did not like the texture, so I'll buy Mt. High or go without from now on.



Again, the moral of the story is  READ THE INGREDIENTS. The only ingredient you should see is milk (plus some list out the active cultures, e.g. "Lactobacillus...").

If I see milk protein isolate or cornstarch listed, I'll pass. I prefer my yogurts without the additives other companies (Greek Gods, for example) add in to cut costs. But that's just me, everyone has their own standards (and budget). I do recommend trying chobani, though. Yum!

Happy eating everyone!



Does anyone make their own yogurt?  How does the calorie and nutrition compare?

 



Greek yogurt just like any other dairy product is horrible for your body. It creates inflammation and it also creates pus and sinus and respiratory infections.


Greek yogurt just like any other Gary product is horrible for your body and for a number of reasons. It creates inflammation and respiratory and sinus infections primarily because of the puss it creates within your body.


glojoey, there's no evidence that I know of equating greek yogurt with pus formation, sinus infections or inflammation. From what I know about human physiology, yogurt could not cause the conditions you mention. It is actually easy to digest and the helpful bacteria is good for our guts. 

 Can you supply some evidence based on medical science rather than opinion? I'm quite serious, and hope I don't sound confrontational.

 



I think the best one, which isn't mentioned here, is Fage Total 0%.

In a 1 cup serving there are 130 calories, 0 Fat, 85mg Sodium, 9gm Carbs, 9gm Sugar and 23gms of Protein.

I work out everyday and need to keep my protein up. If you buy any of the yogurts that contain fruit they add more sugar and less protein.

I add fresh fruit to the plain yogurt. The rule of thumb is if your watching calories to add about 1/2 cup of fresh fruit and you can add 1 teaspoon of shredded coconut and teaspoon of silvered almonds. I don't tend to watch it that close and probably add more fruit. Today I added some mango, a few blueberries, 2 strawberries and 1 teaspoon of coconut.



Why not make your own yogurt and then you know what you are getting.  "Joy of Cooking" has a recipe as do many other cookbooks.  I've made my own, always--learned from my mother.  It is just a matter of--1.  boil milk  2.  cool milk  3.  add starter  4.  wrap and let sit.  I leave mine to sit just 3 hours because I do not like it particularly sour, but the longer it sits, the more sour you can get it.  The actual instructions are more specific than that, but it is really quite simple.



Dannon's Oikos has good numbers and the sole ingredient is listed as Grade A non-fat milk. 0 fat. 6 grams carb. 15 grams protein. 5.3 ounce cup. Chobani is ... sooo...tasty.



Dannon's Oikos has good numbers and the sole ingredient is listed as Grade A non-fat milk. 0 fat. 6 grams carb. 15 grams protein. 5.3 ounce cup. Chobani is ... sooo...tasty.



Dannon's Oikos has good numbers and the sole ingredient is listed as Grade A non-fat milk. 0 fat. 6 grams carb. 15 grams protein. 5.3 ounce cup. Chobani is ... sooo...tasty.



I love greek yogurt. I only eat chobani, and although it is 140 calories, it is soooo good and really does carry you well. I'd say yes, Greek yogurt is a food trend for me!



Greek yogurt... is made with goat's milk and no additives

now that's real Greek yogurt

then add your own sugar and berries or chocolate, whatever

and then mustard to make a spread for sandwiches.



I love greek yogurt. I buy a brand called Zoi, non-fat plain, add berries, some walnuts or almonds. Sometimes I add a bit of Splenda. I never liked regular yogurt and hated the fruit on the bottom stuff. Ice cream is my first (dairy) love but the greek yogurt has become a close second. I also find it quite filling as well as satisfying.



remember bovine (pasteurized cow's milk) yogourt does not have natural probiotics, goat yogourt is only yogourt with nothing added.



There is no scientific evidence that consuming the breast milk of other species is beneficial to human physiology. Although dairy may taste good it contains naturally occuring hormones that may contribute to some times of cancer and their growth. Humans are the only species on the planet that are preoccupied with the consumption of breast milk through out adult hood and we are the only species that consumes the breast milk of another species.

Harvard Medical School finds that "high intake can increase the risk of prostate cancer and possibly ovarian cancer.” The Harvard experts also referred to the high levels of saturated fat in most dairy products and suggested that collards, bok choy, fortified soy milk, and baked beans are safer choices than dairy for obtaining calcium, as are high quality supplements.

Read more: http://www.care2.com/greenliving/harvard-declares-dairy-not- part-of-healthy-diet.html#ixzz35qOvyQY8



Our Greek Yogurt of choice is Voskos.  We have tried Chobani, Greek Gods, Stoneyfield and Fage.  Voskos is less expensive than Greek Gods and Fage and is creamier.  

Often we just use the Voskos as our "starter" of choice for making our own Greek Yogurt.  We strain it well and use the whey in place of other liquids when we make our own bread.  It is a very rare occasion when we eat yogurt we didn't make or bread we didn't make.

To address the question of health issues, there are certain conditions that will really mess your system up unless you eat a generous portion of yogurt.  Taking antibiotics is one (it kills the good bacteria as well as the bad) and thrush is another.  Part of the treatment is consuming lots of yogurt. 



I had a very hard time with Fage--too much like eating sour cream, which I don't like.  But, I needed more calcium & protein, so a friend suggested Chobani, and if it was too sour, add some sugar, and just gradually get used to the taste by adding less & less sugar each time.  I added sugar a couple of times, but now I don't need to at all.  Pineapple & coconut are my favorite flavors--yum!  And yes, I know that plain is better for you--but flavored Greek yogurt is better than a lot of other choices.  

BTW, Noosa is very good, and it does come in plain, but I'm not sure why it would be on a list of Greek & Greek-style yogurts, because it's Aussie yogurt.  It's not as good for you as Greek yogurt, but it's definitely better than the sugar & artificial-color-laden nastiness that is Yoplait.



For all of you Canadian readers out there (I know there is a bunch of us) try the Liberte brand of yogurts.  They have many different flavors and fat levels AND also Greek style.  We spend the winter is the US and it kills me not to be able to get my Liberte Yogurt.  It is a little more money but well worth it because you know you are getting quality.



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