Benefits of Greek Yogurt vs Regular Yogurt: What’s The Difference?

CoachMel Food Groups, Healthy Eating 52 Comments

One of my readers, Bill Nad, from Fitness Tips For Life, asked a great question a while ago about Greek yogurt, which I thought we’d take a look at here today.

Bill said,

My wife also eats Greek yogurt, which is really high in protein, but she does not like the taste of it. It would be interesting to do a profile on that stuff, to see how to use it and the health benefits, as it is a lot different than the yogurt we usually get from the store.

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The benefits of Greek yogurt vs regular yogurt

Greek and plain (regular) yogurt are made by fermenting milk with live bacteria cultures, Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus.

The only difference, in terms of production, is that Greek yogurt is strained to remove the liquid whey, and therefore it has a thicker consistency.

In fact, both these yogurts are extremely healthy, and should be included in your diet regularly.

It’s not so much whether one is better than the other, but whether you’re eating either! 

They are good sources of calcium and protein, and the have beneficial bacteria help to aid digestion, too — check the label for a yogurt containing the bacteria, bifidobacterium or lactobacillus.

The nutritional values show the benefits of Greek yogurt and regular yogurt

Obviously the nutritional value will vary depending on the brand of yogurt you choose, but here is an approximate comparison of Greek yogurt vs regular natural yogurt, to give you an idea of their similarities.

Non Fat Greek Yogurt (8oz)

  • 134 calories
  • 24g protein
  • Calcium 27%

Low Fat Plain Yogurt (8oz)

  • 114 calories
  • 9.5g protein
  • Calcium 34%

(The calcium content is a little lower in the Greek yogurt, because some is lost during the straining process)

So really, it’s not so much about seeing the benefits of Greek yogurt over regular yogurt. I’d be more concerned about whether someone is eating any of this type of yogurt.

Yogurt For Fat Loss

There are so many benefits of adding yogurt to your diet, but one hugely important one is that of aiding weight loss.

A 2010 study found that 200g of probiotic yogurt (containing Lactobacillus gasseri) each day, helped participants lose weight across the whole body, and particularly in the stomach area.

Other studies have demonstrated that regularly eating yogurt (and other dairy products), helps people to lose weight, without losing muscle tissue.

If you’ve lost a significant amount of weight in the past, you will know that it’s difficult to lose weight without also losing valuable muscle mass.

So, if you are trying to lose weight, add one or two servings of yogurt to your diet every day, to help maximize your fat loss, and minimize muscle loss.

3 Ways To Know the Benefits of Greek yogurt or regular yogurt

Now that you know how wonderful Greek and regular yogurt are, here are a few suggestions on how to eat them more regularly:

1. As a Breakfast Alternative

Make a breakfast smoothie by blending half a cup of Greek or regular yogurt with half a frozen banana, a handful of baby spinach, and half a cup of milk.

Don’t forget that regular yogurt is delicious just as it is, too.

2. As a Substitute

Use yogurt instead of syrup, fresh cream, or custard on desserts.

Greek or regular yogurt can also be substituted for mayonnaise, sour cream, cream cheese, and cottage cheese, in some recipes.

3. As a Dressing Base

Yogurt makes an excellent base for salad dressings — one of my favorites is plain or Greek yogurt, half an avocado, a little lemon juice and freshly ground black pepper.

Then blend until smooth, and pour a little over crunchy salads.

You could also try adding chopped cucumber, garlic, and mint to Greek or regular yogurt — really delicious, and a great accompaniment to chicken, beef or lamb.

Do you enjoy Greek or regular yogurt? What’s your favorite way to eat it?

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Comments 52

  1. Taleen

    I’ve often wondered if there were any differences in the two so I’m really glad to have read this!

    I have to say, I absolutely adore natural and Greek yoghurt. I used to love a big plate of basmati rice and dill with natural yoghurt mixed through it. Delicious! I also love eating it over a salad, or with spinach and garlic or cucumber and garlic through it. In fact, most the ways you have mentioned are delicious.

    I also read that study about the weight loss too…it aids fat digestion, I believe.

    I really enjoyed this post – thank you 🙂

    1. Melanie

      Hi Taleen,
      Oh yes, I love the spinach and garlic one, too, with some rice and salad. Such a simple meal, but delicious.

    1. Melanie

      Hi Tina,
      I do that frequently, although have gotten out of the way of it in that last few months. Will have to get back to it! Do you strain your yogurt when it’s ready to thicken more?

  2. Cathy in NZ

    this question is not about yoghurt as such…

    i can’t eat much banana in fact 1/2 banana is a problem – what else could i subsitute for it in a smoothie that was easy to accomplish

    again I’m not a fan of low fat or lite or for that matter trim – I would rather eat less of a ‘full bodied’ whatever

    1. Melanie

      Hi Cathy,
      You could just add any fruit you prefer. I like berries, mango, or peaches. Adding a banana will give your smoothie a creamy consistency, but it’s not necessary.

  3. Menekse

    Hey Mel,

    Thanks for this post! Who knew that Greek yoghurt had such a high protein content! Awesome.

    Due to my Turkish background, I’ve pretty much been brought up on Greek yoghurt – they smother everything in it! Breakfast, lunch and dinner. I miss it since the whole non-dairy thing.

    Thanks again! 🙂

    1. Melanie

      Hi Menekse,
      Have you tried any of the non-dairy yogurt alternatives? I don’t know how acceptable they would be when you’re used to Greek yogurt, but they might be worth a go. You can get yogurt made from rice milk, soy milk, coconut milk, etc., although I can’t say where you would get these in the UK. Perhaps, I should do an article on that.

  4. Amelia

    This post was very helpful. I recently started eating healthy…(again) and I have added greek yogurt to my diet so its good to know its good for me. I will definately try these ideas mmmm smoothies 🙂

  5. Lisa

    I take a pro-biotic every day (the pearl kind). Will adding yogurt to my diet have any added benefits aside from the probiotics?

  6. Leopoldo Oliver

    I put fresh strawberries, greek yogurt a little low fat milk and splenda in a blender then put in into the freezer for a nice dessert treat.

      1. Leopoldo

        Thanks. I have a sweet tooth, and I’m trying to find ways to appease it. Cut out sugar a long time ago. And eating a lot more fruit.

  7. Dana Hageman

    I’ve been reading for a couple of years now that Greek yogurt is great for post workout because of the higher protein. Also, I’ve read previously about decreased belly fat and Greek yogurt, but never knew that there was a relationship with pro-biotic yogurt. Thanks for the new info. Chobani plain yogurt with frozen fresh pineapple or other citrus is my favorite. Love the thick smooth texture mingling with the cold acidic sweetness. And also great with toasted coconut. Yum Yum!!

    1. Melanie

      You’re welcome, Dana, I’m glad you found this article. I love your idea for yogurt and toasted coconut, hadn’t thought of that 🙂

  8. Simon Bonnett

    Hi Melanie,

    I love Full Fat Greek Yogurt – with Oats, nuts, seeds and honey. Is Full fat bad for me – I like it because if you make it up the night before and leave it in the fridge the honey soaks through to the oats making a cheesecake type healhthy breakfast – amazingly tasty.

    But my wife uses low fat greek yogurt… me full fat…. I use a large tub for four breakfasts.

    Is this just clogging me up and should I switch to lower fat…. I hate sweeteners….

    Thanks in advance for your thoughts.

    1. Melanie

      Hi Simon,
      I love your breakfast idea. If you don’t have a problem with your weight, I wouldn’t be worried about switching. I also hate artificial sweeteners, and try to avoid them at all costs, too. If you can find a low fat yogurt with no sweeteners, that would be acceptable, but they aren’t easy to get your hands on, at least that’s what I find anyway.

  9. Traci

    Zero fat greek yogurt with one spoonful of no sugar added apple butter is an excellent, quick dessert. When the rest of my family is eating pie, I stir this up in a bowl and I’m completely satisifed (apple butter can be very expensive so only one spoonful at a time)

  10. Luz Villamor

    Hello, Melanie –
    Thanks for the information from your articles. I am a cancer survivor and one of the items that people with cancer or with cancer history is to avoid dairy products. Yogurt is a dairy product so would you still recommend it for people with the same health issue as I do? Many thanks

    1. Melanie

      I haven’t looked into it enough to make a recommendation, Luz. Have you heard about the benefits of taking B17 for preventing and curing cancer? I’m just interested in your perspective on that one.

  11. Emma

    I love eating Greek yoghurt with a squirt of honey and the small bits of cereal and peanuts left over from crunchy nut cereals. Its really tasty and much healthier than just adding sugar to create a sweeter flavour!

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