Not All Greek Yogurts are Created Equal

By now, if you haven’t heard about the craze surrounding Greek yogurt, you’ve at least probably noticed the influx of it in the dairy aisle at your grocery store. The hulabaloo is not without merit – the best of the Greek yogurts pack a lot more protein than regular yogurt (more than double in some cases) and can have less carbs and sugar.

Plain Greek yogurt also has a plethora of uses – you can substitute it for butter, sour cream, buttermilk, mayonnaise, oil, and cream cheese in most recipes without compromising the final product. Before you stock up, though, beware: not all Greek yogurts are created equally.

Posted with permission. See the original post on Chobani’s website.

The big brands of Greek yogurt include Chobani, Fage, Dannon Oikos, Stonyfield Oikos, and Yoplait, but they aren’t alone. Most stores have their own brand, and smaller companies have joined the sales force as well. As a devoted yogurt eater, I generally rotate my brands between Chobani, Fage, and Dannon, shopping the sales since Greek yogurt is not cheap. Stonyfield is an organic brand and tends to be too expensive for my meager budget, and in my opinion, Yoplait’s version doesn’t measure up (less protein, more sugar).

When you’re shopping for your yogurt, you have to be careful – most of the brands have a 0% fat version, a 2% fat version (approximately 2.5 g of fat), and a “classic” (approximately 4.5 g of fat) version. While some individuals need the extra calories (like athletes and growing kids), other people like myself would prefer to keep the additional 40 or so calories from fat out of the yogurt. Even as an experienced buyer, I’ve made the mistake of grabbing the 2% fat versions – partially because some brands don’t sell certain flavors in the no-fat versions. (For example – Dannon’s raspberry flavor doesn’t come in no fat, which is a bummer…)

For your comparison, I have included the nutrition information on the big brands. To keep it similar, I chose to compare the blueberry 0% fat for all brands. See how your favorite measures up to the competition:

140 Calories
0 g Fat
20 g Sugar
14 g Protein
Protein Factor: .1 g/calorie

FAGE: 5.3 oz
120 Calories
0 g Fat
16 g Sugar
13 g Protein
Protein Factor: .11 g/calorie

STONYFIELD: 5.3 oz (**organic)
120 calories
0 g fat
15 g sugar
13 g protein
Protein Factor: .11 g/calorie

DANNON: 5.3 oz
130 Calories
0 g Fat
19 g Sugar
12 g Protein
Protein Factor: .09 g/calorie

160 calories
0 g fat
20 g sugar
12 g protein
Protein Factor: .08 g/calorie

My “Protein Factor” isn’t an official way of measuring protein…it’s pretty simple. I just divide the amount of protein by the number of calories to see which yogurts provide the most protein for the amount of calories they have. The higher the number, the better (3.5 oz of plain boneless, skinless chicken breast has a Protein Factor of about .16). At 170 calories and only 5 g of protein, regular Yoplait yogurts only have a Protein Factor of .03.

The nutrition facts vary a little bit based on flavor, but again, I think Chobani and Fage are really the gold standards. I really like that Chobani comes in 6 oz containers – it gets you just a little bit more protein that the 5.3 oz containers. Fage, on the other hand, has my two favorite flavors – Cherry Pomegranate and Strawberry Goji.

If you are a super duper healthy individual, you can buy plain-old Greek yogurt. I don’t love the taste, but if you can stand it, it takes first place in this competition. (It’s also what I recommend you use in yogurt smoothies.) It’s about 100 calories, only 7 g of sugar (from the dairy component), and 18 g of protein – that’s a Protein Factor of .18, making it comparable to the best of the meats.

Check out my friend’s recipe for Frozen Greek Yogurt Drops and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recipe for Pumpkin Pie Dip. Chobani also has a great selection of recipes on their website. Yum!

Go Greek or go home! :)


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