What Is Greek Yogurt? An Easy Explainer

When it comes to picking out yogurt, it’s not all Greek to me. There’s a huge variety of yogurt in the dairy aisle these days; not just different flavors and sizes, but styles as well. In the last few years, Greek yogurt has taken off and soared in popularity. But what exactly is Greek yogurt and what makes it different? You can’t treat the grocery store like a library and loiter in the dairy aisle reading labels. People start yelling at you and hitting you with their cart and getting the manager to yell at you some more. Stop bothering people at the grocery store and read this explainer.

What is Greek yogurt made of?

Greek yogurt is like regular yogurt, but more concentrated. Regular yogurt is made of milk that has been cultured and allowed to ferment. It becomes Greek yogurt when the whey and excess liquid is strained. Whey is that stuff Little Miss Muffet was eating on her tuffet and what me and other buff dudes drink in our protein shakes. This straining process gives Greek yogurt that tangier taste and a creamier, thicker texture. Because it’s strained, Greek yogurt requires much more milk to make than regular yogurt, so it’s a bit pricier.

Is Greek yogurt dairy?

Greek yogurt is made from milk, it’s sold in the dairy aisle, but is it really dairy? Odds are if you’re asking this, it’s because of a lactose-sensitive tummy. Well, it turns out that all that whey-straining removes a lot of the lactose as well. In fact, Greek yogurt has less than one gram of lactose per ounce. But yes, Greek yogurt is still a dairy product. 

Does Greek yogurt have probiotics?

On top of its naturally low lactose content, Greek yogurt also has probiotics that help aid in digestive health. You may not see the word probiotics listed on the label, but those “live cultures” or “active cultures” mentioned in the ingredients mean that they are in there. Our guts are filled with all kinds of bacteria, and probiotics are healthy bacteria that can help things move along. The most common probiotics in Greek yogurt are ​lactobacillus bulgaricus and streptococcus thermophilus​.

What is greek yogurt good for?

Greek yogurt is good for you. It’s one of those things you should probably start eating when dozens of medical professionals beg you to eat better. If you’re not already sold on having a healthy gut from the probiotic thing, Greek yogurt has around half the sugar and carbs of regular yogurt while packing in nearly twice the protein. That’s super important—not just for chiseled bros like me, but anyone looking for a healthy snack. It is also a good source of potassium, vitamin B12, and calcium. The dozens of doctors telling me to change my diet tell me that all of those are good reasons to start eating more Greek yogurt. The trick is that you have to eat it by itself or with a little fruit and honey or it’s also a great substitution for sour cream in recipes or as a topping. Throwing a bunch of chocolate ice cream in it then deep frying it evidently is not as healthy. I learned that the hard way.

greek yogurt

Best Greek Yogurt

Now that you know all about Greek yogurt, find out about the best Greek yogurt. Click to see the results of our Greek yogurt taste test—and check out our ranking of the best Greek yogurt flavors as well.

About the Author

Will Morgan

Will Morgan, a freelance contributor to Sporked, is an L.A. based writer, actor, and sketch comedy guy. Originally from Houston, TX, he strongly believes in the superiority of breakfast tacos to breakfast burritos. Will traveled the world as one of those people that did yoyo shows at elementary school assemblies, always making a point to find local and regional foods to explore in whatever place he was, even in rinky-dink towns like Tilsonberg, ON. Will spends his birthdays at Benihana’s. Let him know if can make it.

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