BY EAT THIS, NOT THAT! EDITORS
Like the majority of Americans, Greek yogurt is also an immigrant and landed in the good old U.S. of A. around 10 years ago. Since then, the dairy product has rightfully earned itself a spot as consistent healthy breakfast idea—and it’s easy to see why. The Mediterranean yogurt’s creamy, smooth, and slightly thick texture is comforting but indulgent. Its pleasantly sour and moderately sweet taste is intriguing yet familiar. And between the gut-friendly probiotics, healthy fats, and muscle-building protein, it boasts an impressive display of health benefits.
And it isn’t just a great replacement for your sugary cereal. Its ratio of protein to carbs makes it an ideal post-workout snack for repairing muscles and replenishing spent energy stores, while a full-fat carton is a primo appetite-stabilizing treat to quell those angry 3 p.m. hunger pangs. And did we mention it can help you lose weight? Researchers have found that adding low-sugar, high-protein snacks to your daily diet can help fuel weight lossefforts by boosting metabolism and minimizing hunger pangs.
Unfortunately, navigating the dairy aisle is no easy task. With tons of companies offering “authentic” yogurt lined up on your grocery store shelves, you may need a little help weeding out the good from the bad. That’s why we’ve rounded up the best (and worst) Greek ‘gurts—so you don’t have to stress or even read nutrition labels on your next grocery trip.
First… The Worst
These yogurts are low in what makes the Mediterranean dairy product so helpful for burning fat—protein—and high in ingredients that really don’t deserve a place in these small containers.
1 ACTIVIA GREEK VANILLA
Nutrition:5.3 oz, 140 calories, 0 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 50 mg sodium, 22 g carbs (0 g fiber, 21 g sugar), 12 g protein, 15% DV calcium, 15% DV vitamin D
We’ve all seen the catchy commercials, but Activia is not your best bet when it comes to Greek yogurts, purely based on its sugar to protein ratio. In fact, this little pot packs more sugar than you’ll find in a Double Chocolate Glazed Cake Donut from Dunkin’. To top it off, their ingredients list is less than appetizing, including: water, sugar, fructose, modified corn starch, carob bean gum, lactic acid, and sodium citrate. So, while it does contain those active cultures we love, there are better options for your morning parfait.
2 ACTIVIA GREEK Light, Vanilla
Nutrition:5.3 oz, 80 calories, 0 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 55 mg sodium, 7 g carbs (0 g fiber, 6 g sugar), 13 g protein, 15% DV calcium, 15% DV vitamin D
It might be lower in calories and sugar, but don’t be fooled—this light yogurt doesn’t deserve a place in your fridge. Ironically, the yogurt that touts being supportive of digestion and a healthy gut chose to add artificial sweeteners to their recipe: sucralose and acesulfame potassium.Artificial sweetenershave been linked to altering our gut microbiome, which can result in worsened digestive issues.
3 GREEK GODS GREEK YOGURT NONFAT PLAIN
Nutrition:6 oz, 100 calories, 0 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 135 mg sodium, 16 g carbs (2 g fiber, 14 g sugar), 9 g protein
The gods’ muscles were not built on this yogurt. “This Greek-style yogurt not only has less protein than some others, but also less protein than sugar,” explains Stephanie Middleberg, MS, RD, CDN, and founder of NYC-based health and wellness practice Middleberg Nutrition. Which is odd considering this ‘gurt has no sugar added. That’s a deal breaker in the dairy aisle. And while the company claims that all milk used in its Greek yogurt production are not treated with rBST/rBGH growth hormones, the yogurts do include pectin and inulin, which are “chemically engineered to improve taste, texture or nutrition profile but can lead to very uncomfortable digestive issues in some people,” she details. That’s a surefire way to undo the benefits of yogurt.
4 YOPLAIT GREEK 0% VANILLA
Nutrition:5.3 oz, 140 calories, 0 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 50 mg sodium, 22 g carbs (0 g fiber, 18 g sugar), 11 g protein, 10% DV calcium, 20% DV vitamin D
It may have no fat, but this artificially-sweetened yogurt (sucralose and acesulfame potassium) is surprisingly high in calories and low in calcium. It also adds sweetness with fructose, the sugar directly associated with fatty liver disease and metabolic diseases. Pass on this.
5 Zoi Greek Yogurt Vanilla
Nutrition:6 oz, 160 calories, 7 g fat (4 g saturated fat), 90 mg sodium, 20 g carbs (0 g fiber, 17 g sugar), 8 g protein, 25% DV calcium, 30% DV vitamin D
For a Greek yogurt, this Zoi is unbelievable low in protein. What’s worse, the company actually had to add a milk protein concentrate to even get it to 8 grams! While we’re all for protein powders, they don’t seem necessary in our Greek yogurt where there should be enough naturally occurring.
6 DANNON LIGHT & FIT GREEK NONFAT VANILLA
Nutrition:5.3 oz, 80 calories, 0 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 50 mg sodium, 9 g carbs (0 g fiber, 7 g sugar), 12 g protein
Ingredients we don’t like seeing in our yogurt: artificial sweeteners, artificial flavors, modified corn starch, and fructose. And each is found in Dannon’s Light & Fit Greek yogurt. You can find a better ingredient list with the same number of calories below on our best list.
7 &8 YOPLAIT GREEK 100
Yoplait Greek 100, Vanilla
Nutrition:5.3 oz, 100 calories, 0 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 55 mg sodium, 11 g carbs (0 g fiber, 7 g sugar), 13 g protein
Yoplait Greek 100 Whips!, Vanilla Cupcake
Nutrition:5.3 oz, 100 calories, 0 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 50 mg sodium, 15 g carbs (0 g fiber, 12 g sugar), 9 g protein, 8% DV calcium, 20% DV vitamin D
As you can probably guess from the name, Yoplait’s Greek yogurt isn’t exactly authentic. But more than that, the high-sugar/low-protein combination will not have you powering through the day as you’d hope—and sadly, won’t help you stave off those mid-morning donut cravings.
9 Chobani Simply 100 Greek Yogurt, Vanilla
Nutrition:5.3 oz, 100 calories, 0 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 65 mg sodium, 14 g carbs (5 g fiber, 7 g sugar), 12 g protein
Strike one was adding a slew of sweeteners to this yogurt—evaporated cane juice (aka sugar), monk fruit extract, and stevia leaf extract—but then the nail in the coffin was the addition of water (why?), pectin, and locust bean and guar gum—which has been linked to everything from increased flatulence to blockage of the esophagus.
10 CHOBANI WHOLE MILK, PLAIN
Nutrition:5.3 oz, 130 calories, 6 g fat (4 g saturated fat), 70 mg sodium, 7 g carbs (0 g fiber, 4 g sugar), 13 g protein, 15 % DV calcium
Chobani claims to use whole milk in their formula, but if you take a closer look at the ingredient list, they describe the recipe as using nonfat milk (not whole milk) and cream. Which probably explains why the fat content of the resulting yogurt is 4 percent—a higher-than-average percentage for whole milk. Other than sketchy labeling, we don’t see too much of a problem with Chobani’s yogurt, which is high in proteinand very low in sugar. Just watch out for eating too much fat in one sitting. Although the probiotics will help balance your gut, studies have found that a diet high in saturated fat has been known to throw off your gut-mending efforts.
And Now… The Best
High in protein and made with the fewest, simplest ingredients (just milk and live active cultures), grab one of these containers and you’ll soon see that the benefits of yogurtwill help you reach your body goals in no time.
1 WALLABY ORGANIC GREEK PLAIN LOW-FAT YOGURT
Nutrition:6 oz, 130 calories, 3 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 100 mg sodium, 7 g carbs (0 g fiber, 4 g sugar), 17 g protein, 20% DV calcium
We love this Wallaby offering and Stephanie Middleberg, MS, RD, CDN, and founder of NYC-based health and wellness practice Middleberg Nutritionagrees: It’s the perfect go-to Greek yogurt. Although Wallaby has both low-fat (2%) and non-fat Greek yogurt options, Middleberg recommends keeping some of that fat around. “Choose low-fat or full-fat versions over fat-free,” she says. Not only does fuller-fat dairy contain more nutrients, but those healthy fatswill play a key role in helping your body absorb vitamins A, D, E, and K.
2 MAPLE HILL CREAMERY GREEK YOGURT
Nutrition:5.3 oz, 130 calories, 6 g fat (3.5 g saturated fat), 55 mg sodium, 6 g carbs (0 g fiber, 5 g sugar), 12 g protein, 20% DV calcium
Maple Hill Creamery’s yogurts are made with just two ingredients: grass-fed milk and live cultures. That difference in milk might be reflected in the price, but it’s well worth the extra cents if you can afford it. “Grass-fed yogurt contains more omega-3s and conjugated linoleic acids, both of which help prevent heart disease, inflammation, diabetes and various cancers,” Middleberg explains. Bonus: Maple Hill Greek yogurts are rich, creamy and taste way more decadent than they are considering their high protein content will help you lose 10 pounds.
3 FAGE TOTAL 2% GREEK YOGUR
Nutrition:7 oz, 150 calories, 4 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 65 mg sodium, 8 g carbs (0 g fiber, 8 g sugar), 20 g protein, 20% DV calcium
There’s a reason Fage is one of the most popular Greek yogurts available. “While it’s not organic, Fage is one of the—if not the—best-tasting Greek yogurt available,” Middleberg says. They’re also impressively high in protein, packing in 20 grams per larger-than-industry-average 7-ounce container. (For comparison, that’s equivalent to 15 grams per 5.3 ounces.) Just make sure you side-step flavors like honey, which can pack a massive 29 grams of sugar into your morning meal. Honey might be better than table sugar, but that doesn’t mean you should eat it by the cup. We explain here in our exclusive report Every Popular Added Sweetener—Ranked!.
4 BROWN COW NONFAT GREEK PLAIN
Nutrition:5.3 oz, 80 calories, 0 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 60 mg sodium, 6 g carbs (0 g fiber, 6 g sugar), 15 g protein, 20% DV calcium
Brown Cow Farms makes a great Greek yogurt because they keep things simple and basic. As a general rule, Middleberg recommends that her clients “choose ones that list only two ingredients: milk and live and active cultures.” Luckily nearly every yogurt on our “best” list meets this criteria. While Brown Cow’s non-GMO Greek yogurt contains just those two ingredients, it unfortunately only comes in nonfat versions. Don’t miss out on healthy fats’ satiating benefits—toss this yogurt into a blender with some frozen bananas, almond milk, and fat-rich nut butterfor the perfect weight-loss smoothie.
5 STONYFIELD ORGANIC GREEK WHOLE MILK PLAIN
Nutrition:5.3 oz, 120 calories, 5 g fat (3.5 g saturated fat), 95 mg sodium, 5 g carbs (0 g fiber, 5 g sugar), 14 g protein, 20% DV calcium
We love that Stonyfield recently introduced a full-fat version to their Greek line. This carton is made with just live active cultures, and organic, non-GMO, pasture-raised milk—which is great because organically-raised cows aren’t subject to the same hormone and antibiotic treatment that conventional cows are. And no antibiotics for them means no antibiotics for you! Plus, a review published in The British Journal of Nutritionfound that organic milk has an average of 50 percent more anti-inflammatory omega-3s than its conventionally-raised counterpart.
6 DANNON OIKOS GREEK NONFAT YOGURT PLAIN
Nutrition:5.3 oz, 80 calories, 0 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 50 mg sodium, 6 g carbs (0 g fiber, 6 g sugar), 15 g protein, 15% DV calcium
If you’re choosing plain, Oikos gets the green light from us. Low sugar, high protein: that’s the winning combo in any yogurt. Just steer clear of their fruit flavors: Blackberry has more sugar than actual blackberries and Pomegranate uses questionable additives potassium sorbate and calcium lactate. As Middleberg explains, “These additives most likely contain synthetic pesticides. Potassium sorbate has been known to cause skin allergies like eczema and calcium lactate can lead to digestive issues.” Which doesn’t sound like great news if you’ve been searching,how to get rid of bloating.
7 Voskos Greek Yogurt Nonfat Plain
Nutrition:5.3 oz, 90 calories, 0 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 55 mg sodium, 7 g carbs (0 g fiber, 5 g sugar), 15 g protein, 15% DV calcium
While Voskos only offers a nonfat option for single serve packages, they do provide an original plain with fat in their 16-ounce option (but we don’t recommend it—an equal ounce serving contains a whopping 13 grams of fat!). Luckily, their nonfat option provides a blank canvas for you to add whichever healthy fat you’d like—nuts, avocado, flax seeds, or chia seeds. And for a double dose of probiotics on top of Voskos’s five live and active cultures, add some chocolate! This fermented treat provides you with even more helpful bacteria which can help you get your gut healthback on track.
8 Green Mountain Creamery 0% Greek Yogurt, Plain
Nutrition:5.3 oz, 90 calories, 0 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 60 mg sodium, 6 g carbs (0 g fiber, 5 g sugar), 15 g protein
Based in Vermont, this small creamery makes a big impact on the Greek yogurt scene. Their cows are raised without hormones, and they use five different strains of cultures to form the yogurt—whereas many just use three.
9 MAIA LOW-FAT GREEK YOGURT, PLAIN
Nutrition:6 oz, 100 calories, 1 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 90 mg sodium, 11 g carbs (3 g fiber, 8 g sugar), 13 g protein, 30% DV calcium
These last two yogurts are the only containers on the list which have more than two ingredients (milk and live, active cultures). Maia just adds one more to its grass-fed, hormone-free milk and cultures: prebiotic oat fiber. Intended as food for the probiotic cultures, prebiotics are the key to a successful gut overhaul. That’s because the probiotic bacteria have to stay fed in order to do their job in protecting your belly from inflammatory invaders!
10 DANNON OIKOS TRIPLE ZERO GREEK NONFAT YOGURT, PLAIN
Nutrition:5.3 oz, 120 calories, 0 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 65 mg sodium, 15 g carbs (6 g fiber, 7 g sugar), 15 g protein, 15% DV calcium, 15% DV vitamin D
While we commend this triple-zero yogurt for being free of added sugars, artificial sweeteners, and fat, that same description could easily fit any other yogurt on this best list, so Dannon’s is just a marketing ploy. We do commend them for adding chicory root fiber—6 grams—which acts as a prebioticand can minimize spikes in insulin after a carb-heavy meal. An extra bonus? Vitamin D supplementation, a vitamin which helps your body absorb all that bone-strengthening calcium.