Greek Yogurt: How to Tell What’s Real & What’s Not

You can imagine the amount of time a room full of dietitians can spend talking about food. Yesterday at my internship, we got on the topic of Greek yogurt after someone discovered we had 7 different types in the refrigerator… totally normal for a room full of dietitians. One of the pediatric RDs started comparing ingredient labels which led to a mini-lesson on the difference between true Greek yogurt and Greek-style yogurt.

GreekyogurtTrue Greek yogurt traditionally involves an expensive straining process which filters out excess water concentrating the yogurt which makes it thicker, more tart and higher in protein than traditional yogurt.

There currently is no legal definition for Greek yogurt so certain companies have found cheaper ways to produce yogurts with similar texture and taste and still get away with calling it Greek, or Greek-style yogurts. They do this mostly by adding milk protein concentrates (MPCs), whey protein concentrates (WPCs) as protein-enhancing fillers and thickeners like gelatin or modified cornstarch to traditional yogurt.


Disappointing, isn’t it?

Below is a list of some of the major brands of Greek yogurt & their ingredients. You’ll notice they’re all plain yogurt because many with fruit have thickeners added already. I underlined the additives to make it easy on you since it is Friday and all.

Fage – Ingredients: Grade A Pasteurized Milk and Cream, Live Active Yogurt Cultures: L. Bulgaricus, S. Thermophilus, L. Acidophilus, Bifidus, L. Casei.

Chobani Non-fat Plain Yogurt – Ingredients: Cultured Pasteurized Nonfat Milk. Live And Active Cultures: S. Thermophilus, L. Bulgaricus, L. Acidophilus, Bifidus And L. Casei.

Stonyfield Oikos Organic Greek Yogurt – Ingredients: Cultured Pasteurized Organic Nonfat Milk, Cultures: S. Thermophilus, L. Bulgaricus, L. Acidophilus, Bifidus And L. Casei.

Dannon Oikos Plain Nonfat Greek – Ingredients: Milk Non-Fat Grade A Cultured, Yogurt Cultures Active.

Wallaby Organic Plain Greek Yogurt – Ingredients: Milk Low-Fat Cultured Pasteurized (Organic), Live Active Cultures: Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus Bulgaricus, S Thermophilus, Bifidus.

Trader Joe’s Greek-style Yogurt – Ingredients: Grade A Pasteurized Skim Milk, Live and Active Cultures: S. Thermophilus, L. Bulgaricus, L. Acidophilus, Bifidus. Cultured after pasteurization.

Athenos Greek Strained Yogurt – Ingredients: Milk Non-Fat Pasteurized Cultured, Contains Live Active Cultures: L-Bulgaricus, S Thermophilus.

Brown Cow All Natural Greek Nonfat Plain Yogurt – Ingredients: Milk Non-Fat Pasteurized Cultured, Contains Live Active Cultures : S. Thermophilus, L. Bulgaricus, L. Acidophilus, Bifidus, L. Casei.

Safeway’s Lucerne Plain, Nonfat Greek Yogurt – Ingredients: Cultured, Pasteurized Grade A Non Fat Milk, Milk Protein Concentrate, Organic Corn Starch, vitamin A acetate, Vitamin D3, Active live cultures L. Bulgaricus and S. Thermophilus.

Yoplait Plain Greek Yogurt – Ingredients: Milk Non-Fat Grade A Pasteurized Cultured, Milk Protein Concentrate, Gelatin Kosher, Vitamin A Acetate, Vitamin D3.

Cabot Greek-style Yogurt – Ingredients: Pasteurized milk, cream, Whey protein concentrate, Milk protein concentrate, Live Active Yogurt Cultures: Acidophilus, Bifidus, L. bulgaricus and S. thermophilus, Vitamins A,C,D,E.

It’s funny this should come up because last week I wrote about cornstarch and its creepy presence in processed foods. I’ve learned that many MPCs used in commercial food products come from ultra-filtered skim milk from outside of the United States. More on that here but it seems the importing of these MPCs is a fairly unregulated business.

The last three brands all add MPCs, two also add thickeners and there are likely many more out there what are posing to be the real thing.

There’s no doubt Greek yogurt is pricier than regular. It takes a lot more work, time and milk to make true Greek yogurt. You’d think the brands using MPCs and thickeners would be less expensive but I haven’t really noticed a difference in price between the real Greek yogurt and imitation stuff, have you?

Regardless,  I know I’ll definitely be reading the ingredient lists more closely now and choosing the additive-free Greek brands from now on when at all possible.

Questions of the day: 

  • Do you think these brands adding protein concentrates & thickeners are misleading customers that are trying to make healthier choices?
  • Are these brands using additives entitled to call it Greek yogurt since there’s no actual legal definition?
  • What are your thoughts on MPCs? I know very little about them but the apparent lack of regulation on imports kind of scares me a little bit!

P.S. More on the additive dispute from NPR including a lawsuit that’s happening.

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  • I have been eating yogurt since Arnold was lifting weights and have noticed a steady decline I the quality while steady increase in price. The stuff sold in most stores does not even qualify as yogurt. Truth in advertising is a must not a suggestion. Get back to making real products if you want them to sell and see profits return. Stop the junk with Fancy names and little nutrition.

  • I wonder if Lidl brand millibone can be Inc in any of your more authentic bands in fact they they only produce one type that uses Greek milk (from EU) all their others use milk from u.k. so I bought that one to match it up against their regular greek- style yogurts.

  • I’ve been buying Cabot Greek Yogurt for several years… knowing it has whey protein concentrate, and choosing it BECAUSE is has this! It is so thick, creamy and versatile that I use it in almost every meal, snack, and dessert.
    It is a staple in my house.

  • Adding protein concentrates and thickeners is absolutely misleading. Sure it makes a product with similair texture and macro counts, but it’s not real! I’ve always noticed Cabot did that and I hated it! There should be regulations to make them mention it on the package!

  • Cultured Lowfat Milk, Water, Cane Sugar, Fruit Puree Blend (Strawberry, Blueberry, Blackberry, Raspberry), Fruit Pectin, Natural Flavors, Vanilla Extract, Locust Bean Gum, Lemon Juice Concentrate, Fruit and Vegetable Juice Concentrate (for Color), Guar Gum. 6 Live and Active Cultures: S. Thermophilus, L. Bulgaricus, L. Acidophilus, Bifidus, L. Casei, and L, Rhamnosus.

  • It’s just really funny how the whole Greek Yogurt thing didn’t even start here in the US till early 2000’s when FAGE (an authentic Greek Yogurt Company based in Greece for nearly 100 years) opened up their first US factory here in the New York. As being a first generation Greek-American, I grew up eating traditional pretty much my entire life as part of my Greek culture. When all these so-called Greek Yogurts started popping up throughout the last 20 years, I had to true pretty much see if there was a difference next to the original Greek Yogurt. Like everyone always says the original is still the best. If the want a real Greek Yogurt you still need a real Greek Company to make it. FAGE has been, is now and always will be the best. Another funny thing is that all these American Companies were so jealous of FAGE that they even came up with a Greek Company name to compete better with the Original but “fake” or “Greek Style” just don’t match up. Opinion from a true Greek!

  • I googled to find out why my on sale Lucerne yogurt is so sour! We go through Greek n/f plain yogurt quickly. I look at pricing so while Fage is our favorite, the Costco copy is good. We bought Lucurne recently and returned it thinking it was spoiled! I bought it again last week as it was on sale and I like other of their products. We both agree it’s still sour tasting but will finish our supply. I googled to see what others thought and see here it’s not as pure as other choices!

  • Purchasing your own yogurt maker would be the best.
    Same as making your own sprouts
    Create your own flavors. Experiment

  • Just a comment from me. I tried Fage and found it bitter. I tried adding some honey, but it didn’t make the taste any better. I next tried Cabot. I thought it was delicious with no additives needed. I’ll leave the science to food scientists. I go by taste.

  • You are quite wrong about the milk powders and milk products being sourced from China in dairy products. If the product is a Grade A dairy product, ALL THE MILK IS FROM DOMESTIC SOURCES….here in the USA. That may be the case for non-regulated items like protein powders, nutrition bars, etc., but NEVER for Grade A Dairy products.

  • My brother and I just returned from Greece for a business trip that extended into a long vacation. Yogurt was on hand for every place that provided breakfast, and I purchased yogurt from the local market when we were staying in studios with kitchens. What I found fascinating is that it really DID taste different (actually LESS tangy) and have a creamier texture than any yogurt I have ever bought at home in the US, including Fage. Some of that is probably due to the fat content being higher, but we were at a hotel for a weeklong conference in Athens that had a large bowl of what they labeled as Low-Fat (I assumed 2%), and even that was smoother on the tongue and LESS tangy than low-fat yogurts I have bought here in the market. I have been a regular yogurt eater since my youth (my mother made her own, having been taught by a Lebanese neighbor), and this experience has made me want to try my hand at making it myself, and straining it, to see if I can find that same yogurt experience that makes Greek breakfast one of my fondest memories!

  • I am Greek. Greek Yogurt to me basically means taking the whey out. But that is not the end of the story. When I DO make Greek yogurt at home and throw the whey down the drain my grandmother freaks out. All in Greek, she is screaming at me – “that is the best and healthiest part of the yogurt”.

    So why take it out then. Geeesh. So then the real results of Greek yogurt is not whey removal, but making it thickerer. The only way (no pun intended) the old Greek foggies (uhm, pardon me, the older generation like my grandmother) could figure out how to make it thick was to drain it in a colander overnight hanging like a bag of gold in the fridge so the whey would drain in a pan. But GOD FORBID – don’t throw it out lol.

    So modern technology has found that adding MORE milk solids and a dry whey powder will absorb the existing whey. Cool.

    But hey, here is a beautiful American way to sue someone in court and try to “milk” a dollar out of this. Stupid is as stupid does. I have no problem with the conversation of “how” we arrive at the thicker yogurt, I have a problem of denying that it is in fact a thicker form of yogurt and that is exactly what Greek yogurt is. You know, the “waxed” form of dental floss is waxed by the top selling brands with “Teflon”. Exactly why we avoid eating out of Teflon pans, we are putting between each tooth. Should we stop calling it “dental floss”? There are brands out there that use Beeswax to coat, but ALL of it is called “dental floss”. Same point for Greek Yogurt. It is just thicker yogurt. Whether you use your right hand or your left hand to make it thick, makes no matter to me.

    On a personal note, of all the brands listed in the article, I have eaten almost all (we don’t have a Safeway here). By far far far – the best tasting extra thick yogurt for me is the Cabot’s. I go out of my “whey” to buy that one lol. It is that good. I add some pure maple syrup or honey to it and it is a meal replacement. Yup, they don’t strain, they thicken. I have no problem with that. I also use it to make authentic “tsiziki sauce” for gyros with it. That calls for yogurt, cucumbers, salt and oil. Awesome. After all, as a Greek guy, I am allowed to make Greek sauce lol. But that opens a new topic – is Tsiziki sauce really Tsiziki sause if it isn’t made exactly like an old grandma back there in Greece? What if Greek yogurt is made by the Greek’s biggest rival, the Turks? Is it then Geek Yogurt or Turkish yogurt? (I’m looking at you Chobani)

    • Very enlightening, pragmatic post from an authentic Greek. This is great to know. Thank you! I was ready to dismiss Greek yogurt with whey additives. In fact I think I’ll go for the un-strained, whey concentrate additive yogurt because it’s healthier, right?

    • Oh my goodness, your post helps me so much. I can’t believe all this time I never tried Cabot oh, and I got some the other day and it’s the most amazing plain greek yogurt I have ever had. I can just eat it straight right out of the container with nothing, it’s that good. Then I see this article about A lawsuit against Cabot yogurt because it’s not really Greek yogurt? And I was so disappointed oh, but I’m glad I kept I’m reading more because I found this particular article and your post. So now I have it on good authority from a real Greek that Cabot is a good brand LOL, so I can quit stressing and just enjoy.

      • I also love Cabot! I have tried every whole milk greek yogurt that I could find, and love many but Cabot tastes the best to me.

    • Just because a Greek person explains his opinions on Greek yogurt doesn’t make it true. The fewer the ingredients the better when it comes to Greek yogurt. The added whey protein is to boost the protein content so it has as much as true Greek yogurt. The starches, gelatins, and gums are added to make it appear as thick as true Greek yogurt. It is very deceptive marketing, but then most of the processed food companies try to deceive the consumer. Beware. Read the labels.

  • I just go off the phone with a woman from ZOI. I love greek yogurt and I decided to try their Greek Yogurt Nonfat Plain. I was disappointed in the texture, it’s runny. I asked what do they do with straining their yogurt. I could not believe my ears. This woman just told me they do not strain their yogurt. After that I asked why do they call it greek yogurt then. She said because they can do that. The FDA does not care she said. I purchased 4 of these because they were on sale. I will never buy any of their products. It scares me that companies flat out don’t care. She had no shame in her game!

    • Please publish a definition of “Greek” yogurt that is not from Fage. I read a story about true greek yogurt is from sheep and was only strained through cheese cloth if being used for cooking. There are plenty of “strained” yogurts out there. But, what they are not telling you is what is happening to what they are straining off. If all you want is milk and culture, go for it. I want taste and I will go for Zoi every time.

  • Oikos 000 is OK, but does not list the species of cultures used. I have the feeling that it is a cheap, single species yogurt, and I’d like to shut that part of my brain up. Do we have to actually call them to ask? Why would omit this info? Most companies show this stuff off.

  • I was brought up on yoghurt as my parents were from Greece. We never ate low fat yoghurt. Always full fat from 5-10% fat content. That being said, FAGE regular was the best Greek yoghurt then ZOI and Chobani. It still strained it a bit more for making tzatziki and other Greek dishes. In Greece, I bought yoghurt made from sheep’s and goat’s milk sold in clay pots! I wished it would be the same here in North America.

  • For anyone that’s spent any time in Greece it is well known that outside of the major cities which get their dairy products from the same massive conglomerates as everyone else, the islands general have yogurt made from Goats Milk or more often Sheep Milk.
    This is partly why it has the tangier taste in Greece. It is also why my wife, who is lactose intolerant, can eat Greek Yogurt, but was violently ill the first time she had N. American “Greek” Yogurt.

  • Shocked! I just had my first extremely sour, nasty-tasting Kroger Simple Truth Organic Strawberry “yogurt” with Vitamins A and D added. (?) The gross taste made me look at the ingredients: There are NO LIVE CULTURES listed, but it does state that it is made from cultured pasteurized organic lowfat milk, and organic skim milk. My first and last Kroger Simple Truth ‘so-called’ yogurt!

  • I have been eating Chobani and a generic version of GY for about a year. The other day I bought the Cabot brand and it tasted funny. I googled it, and here I am. Cabot tastes funny and a ton of water ends up on the top overnight. Unfortunately I bought it in bulk before trying it, so now I am stuck with a ton of GY I don’t really like.

    • Me too! The Fage yogurt had run off the shelf while on a weekly supermarket sale, so I bought the Cabot instead. I know they make good cheese! But the Greek yogurt, yuck!!

    • I am Greek, and the ONLY real reek yogurt I have seen in the American market is FAGE. I buy FAGE to eat it as a snack. I buy the other cheap brands and strain to make tzatziki sause, which I use as a spread, dip or to accompany a main dish especially meat dishes.
      All the so called “Greek Yogurt” brands are not real Greek.

    • I buy Cabot and use my mixer to whip the yogurt before spooning it out of a new tub, it seems to prevent that from happening. I didn’t whip it when i first started buying cabot brand but read something about whipping or stirring your yogurt before eating.

  • I ended up using the Cabot because I was looking for two things in my yogurt: low sugar content and whole milk. Can you recommend any brands without additives that don’t have an insane amount of sugar per serving? To me, it seems like the addition of whey and milk proteins is a lesser evil than a bunch of sugar. How are the ‘authentic’ Greek yogurts better?

    • The yogurt you are looking for happens to be the best yogurt sold: Oikos Traditional Plain Greek-no added sugar and all the goodness, thickness and creaminess of being made from whole mild.

      • Oikos is not even a Greek Company they do not know anything about making authentic Greek Yogurt. FAGE a real Greek Yogurt Company headquartered in Greece. They don’t use additives.. FAGE is the BEST REAL GREEK YOGURT. All the other American Companies are “GREEK STYLE” not REAL GREEK YOGURT!

    • “Insane amount of sugar per serving?
      Cabot has 4-gm sugar per 170-gm, most of the others have 5-gm sugar per 170-gm.
      It seems weird to say that this modest difference results in an “insane” concentration in the other yogurts.
      I think that you should bear in mind that the major reason for the difference is that Cabot is bulked-up with (relatively-highly-processed) protein concentrates.

  • Having lived in Turkey for a few years, and recently in central Mexico for the last 13 years, I am a fan of real, natural yoghurt; the no-brand kind found in small dairy shops in most of the world. Now, having just returned to the USA, we bought some commercial stuff that claimed to be Greek Yogurt at Costco. It is definitely not yoghurt at all! It is pure junk and has a weird taste and texture; nothing like real yoghurt at all. We are also very unhappy with what has become of commercial foods, in general in the USA: Not at all healthy, often loaded will salt, fillers and other adulterations. Shelf life seems to be the manufacturer‘s only concern. If it were not for our need for Medicare and the VA Health Service, we would still be abroad, where life is real and so is the food.

    • Sad but true, Bob. We lived out of country too, almost two years. Lost 35 pounds without dieting or exercising. Just real food and more walking. Heck, we even had beer and fried foods. Sounds like I’m lying, but it’s the truth.

      Also, dump all the products that aren’t cultured milk. They are NOT yogurt. Yogurt is a cultured milk. It doesn’t matter what the food industry or gov’t allows you to call it. Please, people don’t buy non-cultured products and believe that you are getting yogurt, whether they have inoculated it with live cultures or not. If the little bacterias haven’t worked on the milk and turned it into yogurt, it ain’t yogurt and you are buying into a big fat marketing scam. It’s pretty basic common sense, but sometimes we want to believe bad companies and bad products and bad policy. Just stop and you’ll be better off.

    • Im with you Bob. It’s no wonder Americans are so overweight and sickly. Cancer, heart disease, kidney disease, and dementia abound.
      Thanks to you fake greek yogurts for adding to our bad health.

    • Not if you buy the flavored stuff. They add gelling and thickening agents (pectin, locust bean gum). Plus, the sugar content is too high.

      Stick to plain and add your own natural sweetener and fruit.

  • Cabot Greek “style” yogurt is the best smoothie ingredient I’ve ever tried. I go through about 2 tubs a week, and go out of my way to find it. I don’t give two craps if it has some whey protein added to it to make it taste like nectar from the gods. If you’re some anti-whey activist, you don’t have to buy it. Meanwhile, these people trying to sue Cabot for “inauthentic” ingredients are going to ruin the best tasting yogurt on the market. Maybe they can call it “sharp yogurt”, or “pick your battles yogurt”… Whatever happens, Cabot makes the best tasting yogurt and they know it. I hope they keep doing their thing.

    • I’ll have to try it in my next smoothies. I’ve been enjoying it plain with granola. I really love my cabot greek yogurt. To me it’s the best I’ve tasted so far.

  • In your professional opinion… 0%, 2%, or full fat Greek yogurt? I’ve read fat content can make a difference with GI symptoms…
    I was eating Greek yogurt at least once daily then started with some fun GI distress… My yogurt consumption has ceased…

    • Hi Kaley,
      Most intolerance to yogurt is due to lactose. Yogurts with little to no fat contain more lactose, or milk sugars, which could increase the likelihood of GI distress. You can try eating a small amount of 2% or full fat and see if that helps!

  • I would like to add, for people on lower carb diets/lifestyle, yogurts with no added whey ( to thicken ) and MPC’s, and that contain LIVE ACTIVE CULTURES, almost always have less carbsthan listed on the nutrition facts. This happens because the added live active cultures feed on lactose, thus reducing carbs while fermenting and even after it is packaged and sitting in cold storage. Sometimes, especially in naturally strained Greek yogurt, reducing a 1cup serving up to 8gr carbs, from 12gr to only 4gr carbs. But it must contain LIVE AND ACTIVE CULTURES, NOT JUST THE CULTURES USED TO MAKE THE MILK INTO YOGURT INITIALLY.

  • What is your opinion of the dannon light and fit greek yogurt? It contains modified cornstarch but it has less sugar and calories than some of the brands you listed. What’s a better trade off less sugar and calories or no modified ingredients?

    • Hi Krista,
      I used to eat it all the time! Over the years I’ve been trying to get off the artificial sweeteners though and my yogurt was the first thing to change. Personally, I now prefer less additives and more natural ingredients (i.e. real sugar, no starches) and definitely low-fat compared to non-fat. From what I’ve experienced, filling up on fillers and artificial sweeteners definitely leaves me feeling less satisfied than the real thing.

    • Dannon Light and Fit (and probably many others) use an INSECT! YES, and INSECT! called Carmine. It looks like a small cockroach. Manufacturers use it for color…after crushing it. After all….it’s natural, isn’t it???? I returned an entire case to BJ’s after I read about it, and will never buy Dannon Light and Fit again! Google it…you’ll be outraged…and educated….READ LABELS AND THEN DO THE RESEARCH! STOP BEING IGNORANT ABOUT WHAT YOU EAT!

  • “Trader Joe’s Greek style plain yogurt” container changed about six months or so ago. The ingredients are the same and the “nutrition facts” are exactly the same. The name changed to “Trader Joe’s plain greek yogurt” the shape of the container also changed. Oh and the word “Strained” is missing even though Trader Joe’s still discribe it as “…where yogurt is a thick, creamy concoction with the consistency of sour cream…”. That statement couldn’t be farther from the truth, the yogurt actually seeps through my strainer and twice as much whey drains out than the original “TJ’s greek style yogurt”. I was so disappointed it made me break down and finally make my own yogurt last night, very tasty and it’s thicker than TJ’s without being strained.

  • Thank you for posting this article. I was eating my Oikos Toasted Coconut Greek Yogurt and trying to figure out if it was all natural. I guess in the future I should stick with the plain greek yogurt and add in my own flavors. Thanks again!

  • Hello and thanks for the info.

    Just would like to point out that one of the brands above, Brown Cow, lists pectin among the ingredients for all their yogurts (according to their website). Your notes above for that yogurt don’t have pectin listed. Pectin is a thickener. Also L. Casei bacteria is not used in their yogurt.

    Real Greek yogurt does not have anything added aside from whole milk and live cultures. Straining is done to several consistencies, depending on what it is to be used for. The thickest, cream cheese-like consistency might have salt added to it.


  • They get away with it by calling it “Greek Style” yogurt.

    I have finally figured out that I like the Phage with a couple spoons of local honey and a few drops of vanilla in it. Some fruit or granola doesn’t hurt either. (Banana Nut Granola, Yum!)

  • Labeling a regular yogurt with thickening agents and calling it Greek Yogurt because it is thick sounds like false advertising to me. I bought the new Activia Greek and it tastes terrible. I don’t think they will fool anyone unless they have had the real thing first. If so no way can they pass this off as anything similar to Greek Yogurt!

  • It is definitely and deliberately misleading so the food companies can capitalize on the healthier market trend but still sell bogus junk food under disguise. It is sad that lawyers and bureaucrats are the ones imposing the choices in the food industry on the consumers. There is no real truth in advertising when it comes to food in the USA, those who attempt it are usually sued out of business, their livelihoods wrecked, imprisoned or at best if they can afford it, have to pay exorbitant fines to thieving regulatory agencies and their corporate cronies

  • For anyone who has been to Greece, you will find that there is no such thing as non-fat Greek yogurt. I have found that “The Greek Gods” brand (plain) comes the closest to real Greek yogurt. I just get real upset at the brands such as the one’s that Jamie lee Curtis is hawking along with John Stammos, trying to convince the American public that Greek style non-fat yogurt is the real stuff. Real Greek yogurt really only has real whole mik, cream and yogurt cultures, so come on, quite trying to fool the public. Also try plain with just a drizzle of honey…….yummy

    • Richard, I go through The Greek God’s yogurt like nobody’s business. I love it. It’s thick and creamy. I add my own toppings. I put local honey, pecans, coconut and a few chocolate chips. If it contains pectin which occurs naturally, then what the hell is the problem. It’s good. Don’t try and ruin a company’s name by saying it lied to you. It clearly says ” Greek style”. Not authentic Greek yogurt. It has no artificial sweeteners in it like most yogurts which I hate the taste of. So, I am buying my third 32oz tomorrow.. Gotta have it. Good luck to people trying to search for your perfect Greek yogurt

  • I usually just look at the protein content when deciphering the “Greekness” of a yogurt.

    I tried the plain and had to add a bottle of maple syrup to choke it down. I will continue to buy the vanilla and add fruit/granola. You cant expect a guy to switch straight to plain yogurt after eating double cheeseburgers at every meal for the past few decades.

    • Just keep in mind some companies add whey to increase the protein content – more isn’t always better!

      I think flavored yogurts + fresh fruit and granola is a great breakfast/snack – even for the healthiest eaters in the world :)

  • The greek list is no longer accurate. I just bought Fage Fruyo 0% fat greek yogurt and it has corn starch in it. Maybe there is a more up to date list somewhere.

    • Hi Jeff! Thanks for the comment. The plain Fage still has no cornstarch – it’s the fruit in the Fruyo. Cornstarch is commonly used to thicken pureed fruit in yogurts. I recommend buying the plain and adding fresh fruit instead!

  • We have a couple local companies ‘The Greek Gods’ and ‘Zoi’ that make “Greek Style” yogurt. the word “style” raised my suspicions and I did the research.

    Now that my wife is dieting she got on a Greek yogurt kick, but when I told her she was not eating Greek yogurt she didn’t believe me. I went and bought the Dannon brand (vanilla). I showed her it was non fat and it had twice the protein, then she tasted it. She will still doubt me in the future I’m sure but she loves it.

    I have a tub of Fage plain that neither of us has tried yet, but I am not a big fan of plain yogurt. do you mix anything into it or do people prefer it plain? Maybe Greek plain will be better.

  • Why doesn’t Dannon Oikos list the exact ingrediance in terms of the 5 cultures? Do you know what they are? Not on your list above either.

  • I have been buying Stonyfield products and love the taste and texture. I buy it mostly for the cultures. Stonyfield is so good I don’t need to try another brand.

  • About making greek-style yogurt at home – this is how we did it in college in the ’70s, before there were machines. I learned this from my Persian boyfriend at the time. Scald a big pot of milk (skim is fine). Cool it a bit. Add a couple blobs of plain yogurt, stir it a bit. Cover the pot, wrap it in a towel (he usually used his bathrobe), and set it some where out of drafts, like on top of the refridgerator. The next day, it will be cultured but pretty soft. Dump it into a clean pillow-case (you might find something better to use these days). Hang it over the sink to strain by tying it to the faucet. The longer it strains, the thicker it gets. A few hours. Transfer it to covered plastic tubs and refridgerate it. Add a spoonful of your favorite jam to each serving. Cheap.

  • I’ve jut tried Greek yogurt for the first time and I love it. The one I have is the Dannon Oikos plain non fat version. The only ingredient listed is cultured grade a non fat milk. Is this considers Greek yogurt or one of the many “off brands”? When I was in the store choosing one to try I passed up the chobani brand because of all the things listed and the higher calorie count. Is chobani good as well and I’m just freaking out over nothing or should I switch up my yogurt?

  • OK. I have a new Euro Cuisine “Automatic Yogurt Maker” Model YM 100. Following their directions, I used a quart of Plain Silk Soy Milk and 5 tbs of Cabot Greek Yogurt Plain (10% milkfat). “Yogurt may be made with milk of any fat content, even nonfat milk.”

    I heated the milk to 180 degrees, set it in cold water and cooled it to 110 degrees, as per directions. I then added 5 tbs of Cabot Greek Yogurt Plain (10% milk fat) and beat it in the pan … “until smooth.” That’s where I got into trouble. The pan was not tall enough to allow what I think would have been the proper “smoothness.” I ended up with twice the amount … almost 2 quarts. Disastrous results. I filled the 7 jars, put them in the unit and covered it. I saved the rest of the foamy stuff in the refrig. I turned the unit’s button all the way to # 15. The little red light did not turn on. After 3 hours, the little jars were foamy, but the button had not moved down from the # 15 level and the little red light had not yet come on. I pushed it again and it went on. I waited a couple of hours. Nothing. So I unplugged the unit, pitched the contents and washed everything. Can you give some advice? Hope so!

  • Kinda disappointed now because for about 1yr I’ve been buying Aldi’s Greek Yogurt.. pretty much since they started selling it. I read the ingredients today and noticed “Corn starch” was listed which made me question why. At $0.89 a pop, I figured I was getting a deal. Not any more, I’ll now vie for the better and purer Greek yogurts from other companies which usually go on sale for $1.00

  • Great post, Elle! It’s so important for consumers to know exactly what’s going into their Greek yogurt, so thanks for helping to educate your readers. Three cheers for real Greek yogurt! Hope you’re having a great week. :)


  • Love this! Thanks for sharing your R.D.-in-training knowledge… I’m a total nerd for info. like this :D. I find it so interesting and fascinating. I’m a Fage fan. They sell it at Costco in bulk, which really helps to cut costs when you can’t find it on sale.

  • Never knew this, so interesting! Fage is my favorite, although it is pricy! Last week it was on sale for $1/container and I bought 22, yep!

  • Love this post! I’ve always tried to steer away from additives … though my fiance jokingly complains about my Greek Yogurt “habit.”

    Just like there is a legal standard for what makes a Kentucky Bourbon different from other whiskeys, and why any sparkling wine made outside of Champagne, France, can’t be called Champagne (hm, interesting that these standards exist for alcohol, mostly…), these brands should stick to their guns and provide consumers with a healthy product.

    Stacy comments above that TJ’s Greek Yogurt is much cheaper than the leading brands- definitely true. I think it’s gross though! Extremely bitter and weird consistency even when combining with fruits or honey for sweetness. TJ’s has some not-so-wonderful manufacturing/buying processes, and I’ve heard they don’t have the greatest relationships with their farmers.

    I would be interested if you did a post on where these brands get their milk. It’s something I think about so rarely but something I think matters a lot.

    Thanks for the great post!

    • Indeed, that is what makes the difference.. the milk. The real Greek Yogurt, that is made in Greece, is made of goat or sheep milk that comes from animals raised in that country and are not fed with hormones and antibiotics, only natural foods. Here in the States they have added the word “Greek” to all yogurt brands, so they sell more since the Mediterranean diet was brought up in the media as the healthiest diet ever.

  • I had no idea! I’ve been eating Greek yogurt everyday for a while now too! What brand would you recommend for real Greek yogurt?

    • I personally prefer the brands without the added protein and thickeners, so any of the ones listed with the exception of the last 3 would be okay with me :)

    • I prefer the more natural Greeks without additives. Their taste and texture are definitely superior in my opinion. I personally love Chobani, Brown Cow and Stonyfield brands.

  • Interesting! I had no idea that all Greek yogurts weren’t the “real” stuff. Trader Joe’s brand is definitely cheaper than Fage and Chobani and it looks like they’re still making it by the book but I prefer the consistency of Fage and Chobani better… not sure what the difference in manufacturing is!

    • Elle,
      Only Fage full fat or 2% or Greek Gods Traditional for me! Both are thick, natural and super filling on their own.

      Both brands have Live and Active cultures, Fage has 5 and Greek Gods plain traditional has 7. Both have no additives except Greek Gods has pectin listed. I’m 62 and never had any gastro issues.

      Love them! Your thoughts on Greek Gods is appreciated.