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Food Fight: The Greek Yogurt Debate

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By Kati Mora, RD for

It seems like everyone has jumped onto the Greek yogurt bandwagon. Perhaps this is because it's relatively low in calories, often fat free, and packs a strong protein punch. This powerful combination can help you feel fuller for longer with less calories, and often help you maintain a healthy weight.

Because of Greek yogurt's recent buzz and skyrocketing sales, not all Greek yogurts that have hit the market are as great as they claim to be. Additionally, determining which yogurt fits best into your diet depends on more than just nutrition facts. Texture, cost, and versatility all play a role. To help you determine which Greek yogurt is best for you, let's take a look at three of the most common varieties available.

1. Yoplait Greek Yogurt Yoplait Greek yogurt is relatively inexpensive; however, many do not consider it to be a true Greek yogurt because it contains milk protein concentrate for added protein power and several different thickeners in its flavored varieties. Milk protein concentrate is also considered to be a controversial ingredient since it is often imported from other countries where safety regulations aren't as stringent. On a more positive note, this brand does have a wide variety of flavors available and boasts double the protein of traditional yogurt. It is also a great source of both calcium and vitamin D. If you are a fan of traditional Yoplait yogurt, you may find this brand enjoyable; however, it is important to note that the flavored varieties often contain more sugar (18-20 grams per serving). According to Yoplait's website, all of their products contain live and active cultures, important probiotics that have been shown to be beneficial for overall health. Some diets, like The 17 Day Diet, advise a daily serving of probiotic-rich yogurt. Unfortunately, the live and active cultures used are not individually listed on the ingredient list, making it difficult to know which type or quantity of each is found in the end product. Keep reading to see how Chobani and Stoneyfield Oikos compare!

Nutrition Facts for Yoplait Plain Greek Yogurt (serving size: 6 ounce container): 120 calories, 0 grams fat, 15 milligrams cholesterol, 115 milligrams sodium, 9 grams sugar, 17 grams protein, 45% of your daily value of Calcium

2. Chobani Greek Yogurt Although Chobani is a little pricier than Yoplait's Greek Yogurt variety, some may find the additional cost acceptable. This is often due to the fact that live and active cultures are listed on the ingredient label. Additionally, this specific yogurt is minimally processed and contains no preservatives, artificial flavors, synthetic growth hormones, and is made with real fruit. Despite this, the flavored varieties of this brand also contain approximately 18-20 grams of sugar per serving and none of the varieties offered as much calcium as the Yoplait brand. Nutrition Facts for Chobani Plain Greek Yogurt (serving size: 6 ounce container): 130 calories, 3.5 grams fat, 0 milligrams cholesterol, 70 milligrams sodium, 7 grams sugar, 17 grams protein, 20% of your daily value of Calcium

3. Stoneyfield Oikos Organic Greek Yogurt Oikos is another earth-friendly option to consider and is the only organic option of the three brands being compared. Its container is a little bit smaller than the other varieties featured, making the calorie comparison a little tricky. A smaller amount is not necessarily a bad thing, given that the flavored varieties of this yogurt brand also range in the 11-19 grams of sugar per serving range. You are still going to be paying the same, if not more, for this brand of yogurt at your grocery store, despite the slightly smaller serving size. On a positive note, this yogurt does boast a short ingredient list, similar to that of Chobani, and lists the live and active cultures directly on the label. Nutrition Facts for Oikos Plain Organic Greek Nonfat Yogurt (serving size: 5.3 ounce container): 80 calories, 0 grams fat, 0 milligrams cholesterol, 60 milligrams sodium, 6 grams sugar, 15 grams protein, 20% of your daily value of Calcium

So Who Wins? All of these yogurts have similarities when you compare the nutrition facts and ingredient lists. But flavor, texture, and cost paint a different picture. When choosing a Greek yogurt to incorporate into your diet, make sure you take all of these factors into account before making your decision. If you are looking for a more natural and authentic Greek yogurt experience with the added benefit of probiotics, you may want to stick with Chobani or Oikos. If instead you are looking for a Greek yogurt that provides a whopping 45 percent of your daily calcium or are looking for the biggest bargain, you may find that Yoplait's variety is a better fit for you.

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