Greek Yogurt Has Even More Protein Than Regular Yogurt—and 4 More Healthy Benefits

It's mighty high in protein and a good source of probiotics.


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If you go down the rabbit hole of what to eat to stay healthy and energized every day, there’s a good chance Greek yogurt will make an appearance at some point in your research. While it does contain cow’s milk, one of the most common food allergens, Greek yogurt is lower in lactose than other dairy products, and therefore gentler on the stomach. Fitness enthusiasts flock to the fermented yogurt for its balanced macronutrient ratio—it’s high in protein and lower in carbohydrates for sustained energy and muscle-building benefits without a huge sugar surge.

How is Greek yogurt different from other yogurt?

What makes Greek yogurt different from regular yogurt is that it’s strained. The whey is removed, leaving behind less liquid and thus thicker consistency. This also lends to its higher protein content and helps give its signature sour flavor.

So, how to eat more Greek yogurt? “Eating [plain] Greek yogurt on its own may be too tart for some people, so try adding it to something you already enjoy, such as oatmeal or smoothies,” says Sarah Schlichter, MPH, RDN, registered dietitian nutritionist. “You can also use it as a replacement for sour cream or mayonnaise in dips, sauces, salad dressings, or recipes like tuna salad.” You can add Greek yogurt to baked goods like pancakes or muffins to give a softer, creamier texture. It’s also the perfect parfait base—simply top with fresh fruit, nuts, and granola for a balanced, satisfying snack or breakfast

Now that you have some ideas on incorporating Greek yogurt into your meals, here are the ways this superfood staple is packed with health benefits.

Health Benefits of Greek Yogurt

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Greek yogurt has even more protein than regular yogurt.

Most of us could benefit from eating more protein every day and from spreading out our protein intake even more throughout the day (many people consume their majority of protein at lunch or dinner). Everyone’s individual protein needs will vary, and the general recommendation is .8 grams of protein per every kilogram of body weight, but it’s not uncommon for some people to aim for 100 grams or more of protein per day.

One way to reach daily protein intake lofty goals is to make Greek yogurt a staple. It’s even higher in protein than regular yogurt—some research states that Greek yogurt has up to four times the amount of protein as regular yogurt. 

“A 6 to 7 ounce serving of Greek yogurt can offer 18 to 20 grams of protein,” Schlichter says. “For most people, aiming for 20 to 30 grams of protein per meal is a good goal for satiety and stabilizing blood sugar.” One study found that high-protein Greek yogurt intake significantly increased strength, muscle thickness, and fat-free mass in participants undergoing a 12-week resistance-training program.

Protein keeps you fuller for longer, so you’re less likely to consume empty calories (from not nutrient-dense foods) that don't provide lasting energy or satiety. “Getting consistent protein throughout the day can help with muscle maintenance and weight management,” Schlichter says, pointing to earlier research on the link between protein and satiety. High-protein diets have also been shown to help boost metabolism. 

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Greek yogurt supports healthy digestion.

As a fermented food, Greek yogurt is rich in probiotics. “Greek yogurt is a great source of probiotics, which are live bacteria that live and flourish in our gut,” Schlichter says. There’s a lot to love about the probiotics in Greek yogurt, but most of the hype surrounding them has to do with digestion. The gut microbiome has a unique balance of “good” and “bad” bacteria, and eating probiotic-rich foods helps increase the good kind, so your gut can fend off the harmful kind. “Studies have shown that variety counts when it comes to gut microbes—the more variety, the better,” explains registered dietitian nutritionist Kim Kulp, RDN. “Fermented foods like Greek yogurt increase the diversity of gut microbes, which can reduce inflammation and lower the risk of certain diseases.”

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Greek yogurt's probiotics also boost your immune system.

Probiotic foods are key for a healthy gut, but they’re also important for supporting the  immune system. Supporting a healthy gut can also translate to improved immunity, thanks to the microbiota-immune axis. Some research suggests that probiotic-rich, fermented dairy products—such as yogurts, kefir, and even cottage cheese—can improve immune function. There’s also evidence that nursing mothers who consume such products may not only pass on immune benefits to their babies, as well as protection from future milk allergies.

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Greek yogurt is high in vitamin B12.

“Greek yogurt, especially the non-fat variety, is high in vitamin B12, a necessary nutrient for red blood cell formation, the nervous system, and energy production systems,” Schlichter says. According to USDA data, a 156-gram container of Greek yogurt offers about 45 percent of your daily need for B12. While the top sources of B12 tend to come from meat sources like beef and tuna, Greek yogurt is a great vegetarian-friendly source.

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Greek yogurt has key minerals that can help lower blood pressure.

A shocking 47 percent of U.S. adults have high blood pressure, according to the CDC. It has no symptoms, but high blood pressure can increase the risk of fatal diseases like heart disease, heart attack, and stroke. “While many people are turning away from dairy foods, research shows that low-fat dairy like Greek yogurt can help lower blood pressure,” Kulp says. “The combination of calcium, potassium, phosphorus, and magnesium in Greek yogurt can work together to relax blood vessels and reduce blood pressure.”

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