While Greek yogurt and weight loss aren't directly linked, as a higher source of protein than regular yogurt, the Mediterranean-style yogurt may be a better choice for those on a weight-loss diet. Its tangy taste and creamy texture make Greek yogurt an appealing option for yogurt enthusiasts.
If you're trying to drop a few pounds, consider working Greek yogurt into your diet.
Greek Yogurt Benefits
When weight loss is your goal, use nonfat Greek yogurt to get the most benefits without the extra calories. A 6-ounce container of plain, nonfat Greek yogurt has 97 calories, 18 grams of protein and 5 grams of carbs, according to the USDA.
While plain, nonfat regular yogurt has about the same number of calories, it is higher in carbs and lower in protein. The same serving of regular yogurt has 10 grams of protein and 14 grams of carbs. according to the USDA.
Protein and Weight Loss
Although plain, nonfat Greek yogurt has the same amount of calories as the regular nonfat yogurt, you might gain more benefits from its higher protein content when you're trying to lose weight. Getting a higher percentage of your calories from protein — as much as 30 percent — according to a September 2015 study published in Food Science and Nutrition, offers a number of benefits when it comes to weight loss, including better hunger control, preservation of muscle mass and an increase in your calorie-burning power.
In addition, an increase in dairy foods, such as Greek yogurt, is also associated with weight loss. A September 2012 study published in Appetite investigated the effects of increased protein intake to aid in weight loss efforts.
The study concluded that including an afternoon snack of Greek yogurt containing 24 grams of protein reduced the amount of food eaten at the next meal. It also improved feelings of fullness and reduced hunger compared to consuming an afternoon snack with less protein.
What About Calcium?
In addition to protein, there's also a significant difference in calcium content between Greek and regular yogurt. This is an important distinction, because it is also thought that the calcium in dairy foods may be partly responsible for the weight loss benefits of dairy foods.
A 6-ounce container of plain nonfat Greek yogurt contains 188 milligrams of calcium, while the same serving of plain nonfat regular yogurt contains 337 milligrams, according to the USDA. Even though it is lower in calcium than regular yogurt, Greek yogurt still fits well in a weight-loss diet. Just make sure you're getting enough other high-calcium foods — such as milk, cheese or fortified foods — to meet your daily calcium needs. For reference, adults need 1,000 milligrams to 1,200 milligrams of calcium a day, according to the Office of Dietary Supplements.
Tips and Servings
Greek yogurt in your diet plan makes a healthy addition to any weight-loss routine. It's filling, high in protein yet low in calories and a good source of calcium. Buy the plain variety and add fresh fruit to bump up the nutrition. The tangy yogurt also makes a healthy topper for your baked potato or you can use it to increase the protein content in a fruit smoothie.
What's important to keep in mind when it comes to weight loss is your overall calorie intake. Even if all your calories come from healthy sources, such as nonfat Greek yogurt, eating more than your body needs will result in weight gain, not loss.
- Food Science and Nutrition: "An Energy-Reduced Dietary Pattern, Including Moderate Protein and Increased Nonfat Dairy Intake Combined With Walking Promotes Beneficial Body Composition and Metabolic Changes in Women With Excess Adiposity: A Randomized Comparative Trial"
- Office of Dietary Supplements: "Calcium"
- USDA National Nutrient Database: "Greek Nonfat Yogurt Plain"
- USDA: "Nonfat Plain Yogurt"
- Appetite: "Low, Moderate, or High Protein Yogurt Snacks on Appetite Control and Subsequent Eating in Healthy Women"