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Dare to compare your yogurt

February 20, 2013
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Which yogurt is better?

Who would have thought that a snack as simple as yogurt could stir up such controversy? It wasn't too long ago that the only yogurt in stores was "regular yogurt." Then, little by little, Greek yogurt started showing up in grocery stores. It started out with just well-known Greek yogurt supplier Chobani, and soon the companies that were known for producing regular yogurt jumped on the bandwagon and have begun to sell their own Greek yogurt products. 

 

Kimberly Grindle, 22, is a big fan of Chobani Greek yogurt. While attending Emerson College in Boston she was introduced to Chobani. Since she was already a yogurt fan it wasn't too difficult for her to take the plunge.

"Well I know Greek yogurt is way more filling. It has more protein and is supposed to be much better for you - especially brands that use all-natural ingredients. Some of the low-calorie yogurt options use sucralose and other artificial sweeteners which can have a gross taste," Grindle said.

Michael Sanderson, 21, worked at a Greek yogurt factory in Vermont and is an advocate for Greek yogurt:

"It's way healthier and you can actually buy it with fruit in it so the plain bitter taste goes away. Overall Greek is much better. The best part of Greek yogurt is the fact it has no fat, low calories and more protein."

Adam DeLong, 21, has not jumped on the bandwagon and doesn't see the big deal about Greek yogurt. He's a big fan of blueberry and strawberry Yoplait and truly believes that the only reason for the popularity of Greek yogurt is due to the health craze.

"I've always preferred the sweetness of normal yogurt as well as the more pudding-type consistency," DeLong said.

There are a few differences between regular yogurt and Greek yogurt that are worth mentioning. In a comparison of Chobani non-fat plain Greek yogurt and Dannon non-fat plain yogurt, Chobani had 100 calories while Dannon had 80. Dannon had more sugar, sodium, calcium and carbohydrates, while Chobani had double the protein that Dannon did (18 grams to Dannon's nine). The difference in price was Chobani being sold at $1.59 for a six-ounce serving and Dannon's six-ounce serving costing $1.29.

For Janelle Nelson, 22, it took a couple tries for her to get used to Greek yogurt after being so used to the taste of regular yogurt.

"The first time I tried Greek it was the regular flavor and the tanginess turned me off. But as the Greek yogurt craze grew, so did the varieties, and I grew to like it the more I tried it," Nelson said. "Plain yogurt doesn't have the thick, creamy consistency that Greek yogurt has"

Katie Mroz Kuhn has her MS in food science and human nutrition. She has been a nutritionist for seven years and has been working for two of those years at the Bangor YMCA. She has close to a couple clients a month talk to her about Greek yogurt and at this point has had over 100 clients discuss Greek yogurt with her. 

Kuhn emphasizes that both yogurt options (in their low fat and plain varieties) offer about the same about of calories, but Greek yogurt has about half the sugar than regular yogurt per cup.

Kuhn believes that the yogurt choice really depends on what the buyer is looking for:

"For those going low-carb, Greek yogurt is a better choice as it offers about half the total carbohydrate content than regular yogurt,' she said. 'Greek yogurt also tends to yield about half the sodium as regular yogurt. Too much sodium in the diet can lead to chronic health problems such as hypertension. However, if it's calcium you are looking for, then stick to your traditional yogurts. Regular yogurt has more calcium than Greek. If weight loss is your goal, then go for either. Just stick to your low or non-fat options."

She advises to stay away from the full fat options with both types of yogurt. The full-fat Greek yogurt offers nearly the entire recommended total saturated fat allowance based on a 2,000-calorie diet.

"Whenever you reach for a dairy product, always go low or non-fat,' Kuhn said. 'In addition steer clear of any flavored or fruit-added options. These types of yogurts really pack a sugary punch and can send people way over the daily allowance of added sugars. If you want to add something sweet to your plain yogurt, try 1/4 cup of fresh or frozen berries."

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