Greek Yogurt

Is full fat yogurt really that bad?
Why does plain yogurt have sugar in it?
Which Greek yogurt is the best?

Best Greek Yogurt review
In 2008, we packed up our kids, way too many backpacks, and spent one month traveling through Greece.

We visited the islands and then embarked on a 1200 km road trip.  We stayed in tiny villages perched on the seaside and in towns nestled in mountains.  Each village was unique in its feel, people, and food.

It was then that my love affair with real yogurt began.

Greek yogurt was virtually unknown in Canada back then.  Yogurt was either runny and full of sugar, or had 20 calories.  I remember thinking that the yogurt in Greece was real, and tasted like sunshine.   The kids and I would scoop it up and hold our spoons upside down, daring for it to fall down … but it was so thick, it sat there forever suspended, and then impatiently, we’d eat it up.

It’s the yogurt that I had in the tiny village of Metsovo, that still lingers somewhere deep in my taste buds.  Metsovo, hugged only by mountains, looked like time stood still.  Shepherds gathered in the town square, staff in hand, to catch up on the daily gossip.  Making cheese here is their art.

Best Greek Yogurt review
One morning, I awoke to the village covered in clouds, and smoke billowing out of chimneys.  Just a couple of weeks earlier, we had climbed the Acropolis in 43 degree heat, and here we were now, layering every piece of clothing brought, to keep warm.

The kids were fast asleep from being in the freshest air we’d ever been in, so I snuck out of our room only to find our innkeeper setting up a breakfast feast for us.  Sitting on the table was a huge bowl of fresh local yogurt.  I took a bite and I saw the sheep’s life flash before me.  Sweet, but unforgettably tangy…a little too much for my sugar loving palate.  This yogurt was perfection for my Greek husband though.

When I think back to that moment, I realize that there’s no such thing as “Greek” yogurt.  Greek yogurt is as individual as the village it was made in, the strains of bacteria used … even the air that surrounds it.

Funny enough, Greek traditional yogurt was not strained.   It was made from sheep’s milk leftover from cheese making.  This was stored in containers.  Strained yogurt was considered a luxury, and was hung in fabric bags allowing the moisture to drip out.   This required three times more milk than regular yogurt, and that is why, to this day,  this type of yogurt is justifiably more expensive to make.

Why is yogurt so good for us?

Several studies have found that regular consumption of fermented products, including yogurt has many benefits.

It improves digestion and restores proper bacteria in the gut.  Many people with dairy intolerance can consume Greek yogurt.
Probiotic bacteria has been shown to improve blood triglyceride levels and lower blood pressure.  It also stimulate the immune system.
Studies have shown, that eating about half a cup of yogurt a day, results in significantly higher HDL – good cholesterol, and less plaque build-up in arteries, reducing the risk of stroke, and heart disease.

Best Greek Yogourt review
The yogurt we ate in Greece was always full-fat. 
Greek people are not afraid of eating fat like we are....olive oil, olives, feta, nuts, and meat are part of their every day diet.  The Mediterranean diet has been considered one of the healthiest.  So why are we so afraid of fat?

Probably because North America has taken fat to an extreme level.  Everything is fried, coated, or cooked in unhealthy fats.   At the other extreme, we are bombarded with snacks, empty of nutrients, but marketed as a healthy “low-fat” option.

  • Yet, fats actually curb your appetite, by triggering the release of the hormone cholecystokinin.
  • Fats also slow the release of sugar into your bloodstream.
  • The fat in dairy holds more nutrients, and aids in nutrient absorption.
I’m not here to promote fat consumption, but I do think the Greeks were on the right track with this one.  The key to the Greek diet is whole, simple and unprocessed food.   Once you partake in the beauty of the Mediterranean diet, you see the foolishness of the low-cal, low-fat, ultra-processed North American diet.

It also helps to put full-fat yogurt in perspective…..Here are some common breakfast foods one might grab and go….
  • 2 eggs have 10 grams of fat and 140 calories.
  • One tablespoon of peanut butter on a slice of whole grain bread has 10 grams of fat and 210 calories.
  • The average Larabar has 11 grams of fat and 220 calories
  • A half cup of plain full-fat yogurt (about 125 grams) with 1/2 teaspoon of honey,  has about 11 grams of fat and 204 calories.
I actually weighed my typical serving (2 heaping tablespoons) of full-fat yogurt, and it came in at 75 grams.  It’s just too rich and too filling to consume more!  So, instead of dwelling on the fat content of yogurt, try ditching the sugar.  Buy plain yogurt, eat a smaller portion, and sweeten it yourself.

Why does plain yogurt have sugar in it?

best greek yogurt review
Let’s take a look at the label on this plain yogurt.  It has 8 grams of sugar listed per serving.  Why?
As explained here, dairy products contain lactose which is naturally occurring sugar.

We can tell that the sugar is naturally occurring by looking at the ingredients:  Whole milk, cream, milk protein concentrate, bacterial cultures.

There’s no added sugar listed.   Contrast this with the flavoured yogurts of the same brand.   Sugar is listed third in the ingredients.  The food label shows 20 grams of sugar which is typical of most yogurt.   This means the flavoured yogurt has 12 more grams of added sugar than the plain!  That’s 3 teaspoons of added sugar!

Why is there liquid in greek yogurt?

best greek yogourt review
When you reopen a container of yogourt you have two choices.  You can drain all liquid out or consume it.   

Whatever you do don't stir, but instead spoon out what you need.  Stirring it will change the consistency and go all runny on you.

The liquid is actually whey where most of the yogurt’s vitamins and nutrients are.   The best way to deal with it is to  save it for your smoothies, or drain it into your serving bowl and then add your yogurt to it and stir.

Authentic greek yogurt

Even though it’s double the price,  sales for Greek yogurt have skyrocketed and are still on the rise.  Naturally, many manufacturers are trying to get in on the Greek yogurt craze, but some try to cut corners.  So, how authentic is your Greek yogurt?
Instead of straining, some manufacturers add thickeners.    Some brands try to cheat the straining process by adding thickeners like milk protein concentrate, powdered milk, pectin, inulin, etc.  An easy way to spot this is by reading the label for added ingredients.  It doesn’t mean you won’t like the taste of these yogurt…but cutting corners and their subsequent manufacturing process, can contribute to a grainy texture.  Not straining should also be reflected in the price.

The best Greek Yogurt in Canada?

My family conducted a blind taste test of all the full-fat Greek yogurt brands I could find locally.  Of course, finding the “best” Greek yogurt is subjective to personal preference.  My husband likes the one with more tang whereas the kids and I, went for the sweet and creamy.  We all agreed though that it has to be smooth and silky….no graininess.

Our favourite Greek yogurts (available for purchase in Canada) were:

best greek yogurt reviewSkotidakis Greek yogurt – The Most Authentic

Ingredients:  Pasteurized skimmed milk, cream, active bacterial cultures.

Per 125 grams
192 calories
11 grams of fat
8 grams of protein

Skotidakis, located in Ontario, makes traditional strained yogurt using a combination of cow and goat milk.  The result is sweet and tangy taste.  We found this to be the most reminiscent of Greece!  It is my husband’s favourite!

Krema – The most decadent!

Milk, cream, skim milk powder, 5 active bacterial culture

Per 125 grams
178 Calories
9 grams of fat
5 grams of protein

Made in British Columbia, this one has the most fat...11%. So, it’s not surprising that it’s also the creamiest!  Thick and melt in your mouth!  Simply the best for eating straight out of the container as a snack or dessert.

best greek yogourt reviewLiberte Mediterranee – Best all around pleaser!

Whole milk, cream, milk protein concentrate, 5 bacterial cultures

Per 125 grams
157 Calories
12 grams of fat
5 grams of protein

Made in Quebec.  All of us love this yogurt, but they do add milk protein concentrate.  Liberte has responded on their website that they do not source theirs from China or Mexico, and that it is GMO and hormone free.

Despite this, it still has a great texture, with no graininess.   I buy this yogurt the most as it’s the best for meeting all my needs … eating, smoothie-making, and for cooking.

The worst Greek yogurts:

best greek yogurt review
Astro greek yogurt 10%M.F…. Is it yogurt or sour cream?

Skim milk, cream, milk protein concentrate, skim milk powder, active bacterial cultures

per 125 grams
200 Calories
13 grams of fat
10 grams of protein

Astro Greek yogurt isn’t bad, but it’s just too thick.  We found the taste verging on sour cream. It’s very smooth and probably perfect for making tzaziki, but I can’t eat it as is,  however we were able to finish the container.

best greek yogourt review
The Greek Gods (Organic) – Too Grainy

milk, cream, skim milk powder, cultured skim milk powder, pectin, 5 active bacterial cultures

Per 125 grams
160 Calories
13 grams of fat
5 grams of protein

I was really excited about trying this expensive organic “greek style” yogurt.  Unfortunately, all of us found it grainy.  What a disappointment.   A closer look at the ingredients revealed that Greek Gods uses pectin as a thickener.  You can tell how grainy it is in the comparison picture above.  We won’t be buying it again.

best greek yogurt reviewLocally made - A Letdown

Ingredients and Nutritional Info:  Unknown

I love everything that my Greek bakery makes, so I was surprised at how disappointing this Greek yogurt was.  It was runny and tasted bland.  Out of fairness, it was without a label, so it might have been reduced in fat, but we found it inedible.  I ended up using it in my cooking.
But… could have turned out to be the best yogurt ever!  Who knows!  Maybe your local Greek bakery makes an awesome Greek yogurt.  You won’t know until you try.

best greek yogourt reviewKrinos sheep’s milk 5% Balkan type style yogurt – Ewe!

Pasteurized Sheep Milk, bacterial culture

per 125 grams
107 calories
7 grams of fat
5 grams of protein

My husband was the victim for this one.  He’s the sheep/goat yogurt lover in the family.  Out of blogger duty, I did try a tiny bit, but it made my toes curl!  Even hubby found it too tangy.  Granted, it’s only 5% M.F. but, the texture was one of lumpy curdled milk.  No one in the family would even go near this one, and it was eventually thrown out :(
But, if you like a lot of tang….this is the yogurt for you!  It has the most authentic ingredients.

That’s it!..That’s our take on all the full-fat greek yogurts I could find locally.  Which greek yogurt is your favourite?


  1. Sounded like you had one stupendous adventure! Your enthusiasm with yogurt is commendable since not only do they taste good but they also have health benefits. Starting your day with a cup of yogurt to prepare for a busy day ahead is a nice start. Having them in between meals will definitely improve your circulation. Joseph C


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