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Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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May 13 2015

Is All Yogurt Created Equal?

By Mark Sisson
185 Comments

To answer the title, kind of. The same basic principle of yogurt-making applies to all yogurts: the inoculation of milk with specific strains of yogurt bacteria followed by incubation at a temperature warm enough to encourage growth and proliferation. Yogurt is milk transformed into a creamy, tangy, more nutritious product. All yogurt is initially created equal, but after that, all bets are off. For whatever reason, food producers have seen fit to ruin a perfectly good thing with misguided additions and subtractions.

They remove the fat and try to recreate the texture using gums, stabilizers, thickeners, and gelatin.

They load it with sugar and/or high fructose corn syrup, assuming consumers simply can’t handle the tang of real yogurt.

They turn an incredible whole food with thousands of years of tradition into an edible food product that bears little resemblance to its progenitor.

As I see it, there’s yogurt and there’s “yogurt.” Eat the former and avoid the latter.

To get more specific, don’t eat:

Yogurt with added sugar.

Look, I get it: sweet stuff tastes great. But it’s incredible how much sugar disappears into a vat of manufactured yogurt. A tiny little cup of your average sweetened yogurt has 20+ grams of pure unadulterated sucrose, which is far too much (and, like I said, you won’t even taste all of it because it’s been subsumed). If you absolutely must have something sweet with your yogurt, drizzle a little raw honey on the top. Adding honey yourself reduces the amount of sugar grams you need to obtain the desired flavor and ensures direct contact with your tongue. Another, probably better option is to slice up some fruit (blueberries, strawberries, mangos, maybe a banana) and slap it on there.

Yogurt with added thickeners, stabilizers, and emulsifiers.

People love thick yogurt but they’re scared of the fat that creates the texture, so food manufacturers recreate it with additives. Are these additives necessarily dangerous or harmful to health? No, although a recent paper suggests they may increase the risk of obesity by disrupting normal gut bacteria, but why risk it when you can just eat the unaltered whole food? Whenever the jury is out on a particular food, I always play it safe and stick with the “natural” version.

Caveat: I’ve run across a few yogurts and kefirs with added prebiotic fiber (pectin or inulin, usually) and I don’t see much wrong with that. If anything, adding prebiotics to yogurt might actually increase the health effects and support the microbial population. Your mileage may vary.

Yogurt marketed to children.

These are almost always bad news. Just check out the nutritional facts for Chill Out Cherry Gogurt.

After low-fat cultured milk, the ingredients list falls apart. Sugar comes next, followed by modified corn starch, gelatin (nothing wrong with gelatin, but why is it in your kid’s yogurt?), and a real head scratcher — tricalcium phosphate. I understand the need for calcium in children’s diets, but isn’t yogurt supposed to be a fantastic natural source of calcium already? Why add more unless something has been lost in translation from real milk to tube-delivered slurry? The rest of the list is a motley assortment of stabilizers, gums, and synthetic vitamins that would be completely unnecessary if they just left the yogurt as-is. Oh, and there’s not a hint of actual cherry. Just “natural flavors.”

When all is said and done, you’re left with half a gram of fat, 2 measly grams of protein, and a full 12 grams of carbs, 75% of which come from pure sugar. I honestly don’t get it. Well, I get it; it’s a money thing. But parents, don’t fall for this. All the kids I’ve ever known love full-fat dairy. They aren’t sugar-crazed hellions until we shepherd them into that way of life by feeding them garbage like Gogurt.

Also, why “Chill Out Cherry”? Has Yoplait incorporated Afghan poppy extract or something? Maybe some valerian?

Most low-fat yogurts.

In the vast majority of studies that find dairy to be beneficial or associated with health benefits, they use full-fat dairy. And when a study finds that dairy is linked to negative health outcomes, a little digging usually uncovers the fact that the authors used low-fat dairy. I wrote an entire series of posts discussing the positive ramifications of including full-fat dairy in your diet, and I stand by them. Now, it’s possible that the reason why full-fat dairy is so good for us is because of what it is not: a processed, deprived food with added emulsifiers, industrial fibers, and sugar to make up for the missing fat. But I think the fatty acids themselves are highly beneficial, whether it’s the conjugated linoleic acid in organic and pasture-raised dairy that may offer protection against cancer and heart disease, the phytanic acid that improves insulin sensitivity in animal models, or the trans-palmitoleic acid that’s strongly associated with better metabolic health.

In certain situations, like a bodybuilder looking for a very high-protein, low-fat food source to augment post-workout muscle protein synthesis without incurring fat gain, a low-fat yogurt can be very appropriate. But most yogurts that remove the fat make up for it by adding stabilizers, gums, preservatives, and extra sugar, so if you decide to go with a low-fat yogurt, confirm that it contains none of these undesirable ingredients. And be sure to use full-fat yogurt in most other instances, for reasons already listed.

Luckily for you guys, there’s a lot of good yogurt that you should eat. In most decent grocery stores, full-fat yogurt is available. Organic options, all of which tend to avoid incorporating unnecessary ingredients and removing necessary ones, are common and affordable.

You’ve got:

Standard full-fat yogurt.

This is yogurt in its natural state. It’s creamy (provided you haven’t used low-fat or skim milk), it’s tangy, it’s often downright drinkable if you let it sit out for half an hour.

Strained yogurt.

Also known as Greek yogurt (except in Greece, where they just call it “yogurt”), strained yogurt is yogurt with most of the liquid whey removed. This creates an ultra-thick, high-protein, high-fat, creamy yogurt that’s perfect for making tzatziki, the Mediterranean cucumber yogurt dip, Indian curries, and replacing sour cream. It’s also fantastic with berries or drizzled with some raw honey. You can strain regular yogurt with cheesecloth (or a paper towel laid on top of a mesh trainer) to get Greek yogurt.

Greek yogurt may actually be Turkish yogurt. Chobani, one of the leading Greek yogurt brands in the US, was started by a Turk and named after the Turkish word for “shepherd” (traditionally, strained yogurt is made with sheep’s milk). In Turkey, “Greek yogurt” is known as süzme, or strained yogurt. Bitter debates about the provenance of strained yogurt are being waged as you read this. 

Cream top/cream line yogurt.

Most yogurt is homogenized, even if the milk used to make it is not. But sometimes yogurt makers refrain from stirring and a line of cream forms along the top of the yogurt. To me, this is a good thing, and it can foster unity in households divided along desired levels of fat content. One party eats the top half and gets extra fat, the other party eats the lower half and receives lower fat yogurt. Everyone’s happy and buying crappy low-fat yogurt becomes unnecessary.

Skyr.

Skyr is an Icelandic yogurt/cheese hybrid that incorporates both bacterial cultures and animal rennet to produce a thick, high-protein cultured milk product. And yes, skyr is non-fat, but that’s actually the traditional way to make it. Skyr makers would use the leftover milk after making butter.

In the United States, yogurt is something you eat when you don’t have time for breakfast or are “trying to eat healthier.” It either comes in single serving tubs that we eat at our desks or tubes that we squeeze down our throats on the morning commute.

For the rest of the yogurt-eating world, it’s a staple food eaten throughout the day. It’s a common condiment and a delicious dessert. It’s a cooking ingredient. It’s a dip, a sauce, a dressing. It’s even a drink. And yes, it’s also a breakfast food. Simply, yogurt is just kinda always around and available. Among those who eat it, yogurt is integral.

If you know me at all, you know my ears perk up whenever a tradition or practice seems near universal (like saunas, or fermentation, or walking). So many cultures use yogurt on a regular basis throughout the day that I’m thinking there’s something to this.

So, what are some ways we can expand our yogurt palate? I’ve been trying to incorporate a little yogurt into my life as of late, and I found great inspiration from looking to the cuisine of the nation from which we get the word “yogurt”: Turkey.

Yogurtlu Havuc

This is a Turkish carrot yogurt salad commonly served at breakfast. The Turks eat it on bread, but it’s great as a side dish alongside a piece of lamb. It’s simple:

Shred a couple large carrots, then sauté them in olive oil and a little salt over medium heat until soft. Allow the carrots to reach room temperature.

Add finely grated garlic (as much or as little as you prefer) and paprika to strained (Greek) yogurt. Use full-fat, of course. Mix well.

Fold the cooked carrots into the yogurt mixture, and add a little hot chile (fresh or dried). Traditionally, dried isot pepper is used, but cayenne works well if you like a little more heat.

Yogurt Herb Dip

This one’s even simpler. Just get a cup or two of thick yogurt, the fresh herbs of your choice, and a little garlic. Mix it all together and use alongside meats or as the base for salad dressings. I like using mint and dill, but everything works. I sometimes add salt and fresh black pepper.

Sparkling Mineral-Rich Ayran

The Turkish beverage ayran is water mixed with yogurt and salt. It sounds weird, but it’s really quite refreshing. It’s also very easy to make at home and it’s better if you use sparkling mineral water. Just mix four parts regular full-fat yogurt with one part sparkling mineral water (something like Gerolsteiner with a high mineral content is best), add a little salt to taste, and blend or whisk together. It’s also pretty good with some chopped fresh mint.

Another more generic way to eat more yogurt is to use it in place of sour cream, whipping cream, and even mayo. Well, maybe not mayo. I hear there’s a decent one out there on the market.

Check back this Saturday for a savory yogurt recipe you won’t want to miss.

If yogurt doesn’t agree with you but you really want to eat it, don’t give up.

Try different kinds. It’s often the case that different types of yogurt employ different bacterial strain mixes. Indian yogurt, for example, contains the novel Lactobacillus delbrueckii which has immunomodulatory effects.

Try smaller amounts. Start with just a teaspoon at a time, and build up from there. You’re introducing new bacterial migrants to your gut and they need to ease into their new surroundings.

Try a different species. Yogurt fermentation reduces the allergenicity of bovine whey protein and casein protein, but that may not be enough if you’re really intolerant. Try goat or sheep (or find a grass-fed yogurt).

Try sourer yogurts. The sourer the yogurt, the less lactose remains. Lactose is a common gut irritant.

All this said, dairy in general and yogurt in particular aren’t for everyone. So let’s hear from you down below.

Do you eat yogurt? What’s your favorite brand? What’s your favorite type? How do you use it in your meals?

Thanks for reading!

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185 thoughts on “Is All Yogurt Created Equal?”

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  1. Moving to Turkey this summer and looking forward to the cuisine but worried about maintaining 90/10 to 80/20 lifestyle. Will definitely get my yogurt on! Te?ekkürler

    1. I’ve been living in Turkey for a while. Getting good meat is a problem, but they are really great with vegetables on olive oil and, as Mark mentioned, Yogurt.

  2. My yogurt has partly skimmed organic milk and milk protein. Not sure why they do it that way instead of using while milk, any thoughts?

    1. Because the public has largely been convinced that fat makes you fat. The mainstream market only buys low-fat or non-fat dairy products.

  3. plain Fage is definitely the best- and purest greek yogurt in my opinion. Its one of those grocery items that is worth the price!

      1. Yes! Love Fage.. so rich and buttery, so glad Fred Meyer still stocks it for decent price.

    1. I used to love Fage, but it is not organic, so I have left it behind in favor of American, grass fed, full fat yogurt. I wish I could find an organic Greek yogurt; I miss the richness.

    2. I <3 Fage but it's hard to find the full-fat version near me. Alas. I typically fall back to plain, full-fat Dannon.

  4. If you are lactose intolerant, I would recommend the SCD (Specific Carbohydrate Diet) yogurt – where you make your own but let it ferment 24 hours. It is more sour, but nearly all the lactose is gone. It has done wonders for my gut health.

    1. Thanks for the comment regarding SCD yogurt. I have a similar recipe that was given to me by a Mormon lady years ago. Yogurt bothers me if I eat it more than once in a while, regardless of how long it has fermented, and her recipe makes way more than I can eat. My now-and-then favorite is a small portion of plain Fage full-fat Greek yogurt to which I add a little diced fresh fruit.

      I’d never heard of the SCD so I looked it up online. Very similar to 100% Paleo with a few exceptions. Most legumes are allowed on the SCD, which is odd because beans create gastric problems for a lot of people, myself included. Also, no sugars are allowed, but saccharin is. I wouldn’t touch saccharin. The SCD has been around for years, apparently, without ever being updated to include healthier sweetening options.

    2. Thanks for the tip! I stopped eating yogurt a few years back due to digestion issues. Ironically, I had been eating it to improve digestion, but it backfired. Might give this longer ferment idea a try. Wish I could buy it that way.

  5. Living in a swedish-turkish household, we go heavy on the yoghurt. Yoghurt + berry smoothie in the morning for the kids who have little appetite for breakfast, yoghurt+dill+roe-sauce with the salmon and süzme yoghurt with chilli and salt for snacks.

    1. Yum, Binki! That sounds wonderful. What else do you normally eat? I’ve become really interested in other cultures’ foods that are naturally paleo – have been experimenting with thai salads and indian vegetable curries, etc. It makes eating paleo so much more interesting – otherwise I fall into the trap of ‘grilled protein, grilled veggies’ for dinner. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but it’s good to have variety once in a while.

  6. Great article. I always promote natural full fat yogurt now, and wished I hadn’t spent years eating weight watchers yoghurts – why?? What’s even in them? I do think there is a bit of confusion about 0% fat greek yoghurt. It appears not to contain any sweeteners and the thickness is obtained by straining, however since fat is a flavour carrier I would generally avoid on the basis that it has no taste in any case! in the UK Rachel’s organic and Yeo Valley are readily available and superb.

    1. “I do think there is a bit of confusion about 0% fat greek yoghurt. It appears not to contain any sweeteners and the thickness is obtained by straining”

      It depends on the brand. Always read your labels.

      1. Greek Gods brand is just regular yogurt with thickeners. Same protein gram per cup as regular milk.

  7. I have yoghurt once in a while. In the UK now it’s quite easy to find an “organic-full-fat-no-ones-touched-it” yoghurt. All I do is add a little honey and a few berries. Has anyone come across “coconut yoghurt”? I saw it the other day but didn’t have time to grab and try…assume some plonker has loaded it with sugar!!

    1. You might want to try this if the brand is COYO. It is sweetened, but only slightly, with Stevia. If you are casein intolerant, as I am, this yogurt made from the cream of fresh young Thai coconut is a real treat. It has the creamy smooth consistency of Greek dairy yogurt. The downside is that it is not high in protein as is dairy Greek yogurt, which is why I described it as a treat.
      Enjoy it if you can find it.
      In the U.S. it can be found at Whole Foods as of 2014

      1. I don’t tolerate dairy very well so I make my own coconut yogurt:

        If you don’t have a yogurt “maker” a preheated wide mouth thermos works.

        1 can yogurt milk (ie Native Forest) or 2 cups homemade

        1 tsp gelatin (coconut yogurt won’t thicken on its own)

        1 tsp sugar (this feeds the microbes, not you. I forgot the sugar once and it did not ferment)

        1 packet of yogurt culture (I use Yogourmet) OR 2 tbsp cultured dairy yogurt OR contents of a probiotic capsule

        Mix the gelatin, sugar, and powdered culture (OR probiotic capsule contents) together. Add about 2 tbsp room temp coconut milk and stir well to “bloom” the gelatin.

        Meanwhile, heat the remaining coconut milk to between 108F to 112F. Stir in the gelatin mixture. If you are using dairy yogurt as a culture add it now.

        Pour this into a yogurt maker or pre-heated thermos and keep it warm for 24 hours. I put my thermos on top
        If the fridge.

        After 24 hours it will smell a little like yogurt and taste slightly sour and effervescent. It will NOT be thick at all yet. Refrigerate overnight and it will thicken then because of the gelatin.

        I find it different than dairy yogurt in that it is less sour and has a pleasant, tingly taste. I like to eat it with berries and nuts.

        Remember it is not as good a source of protein as dairy yogurt, but it’s a nice sub when you’re intolerant of dairy.

        1. I do this same thing — make my own from coconut milk! I can’t do any kind of dairy in the smallest amount. I wish there was a non-dairy, non-soy yogurt on the market without added sugar for the convenience of it. But I don’t mind making my own. Amande and So Delicious are ok, but so much sugar.

  8. I really enjoy the Dreaming Cow line of yogurt. Grassfed/New Zealand style.

        1. In Minnesota at Coburns you can find Maple Hill Creamery brand yogurt. Just two ingredients whole milk and live cultures. Yummy!

      1. I buy Dreaming Cow at my local Sprouts store. Whole Foods in my area carries Maple Hill Creamery (another brand of grass-fed yogurt). Siggi’s is also grass-fed (it is skyr, so nonfat and thick) and it is sold at both stores. Very yummy!

  9. I absolutely love Greek yogurt myself, but unfortunately the strained ‘acid whey’ (by product of Greek yogurt) is causing a larger environmental problem. Finding places to dispose or use at fertilizer/transporting is often difficult, so I have found myself simply going for the runnier as close to full fat yogurt.

    Would love to hear others’ thoughts on this!

    1. Once a week my husband makes yoghurt with a quart of organic cream in a 7 container yoghurt maker. It is thick and delicious. Since it is cream probably it doesn’t have calcium. We understand that in Bulgaria full cream yoghurt is the standard, and they’ve been making yoghurt this way forever. Does anyone else use cream for their homemade yoghurt? Can someone confirm that full cream is the Bulgarian way?

      1. For those interested, Bulgarian yoghurt culture is available from Amazon. One brand is actually shipped from Bulgarian and can take several weeks to arrive. I would tend to question the viability of culture that can go that long without refrigeration but maybe it’s quite shelf stable.

        I did check a couple of recipes for Bulgarian yoghurt and didn’t find any made solely with cream. Perhaps your husband would share his recipe for yoghurt made with cream. It sound delicious.

        1. Home made yoghurt from raw milk is sooooo easy to make and soooo delicious. I highly recommend it for Primal folks.

        2. Easy Peazy to make yogurt with cream, my husband follows the directions on the Yogourment starter package bought from Amazon which contains L. bulgaricus, S. thermophilius and L. acidophilius . Puts the inoculated cream into the yoghurt maker and 5 hrs later–full fat delicious yoghurt.

      2. Years ago when on a low-carb diet I tried to make yogurt with heavy cream and it did not seem to be changed by the culture. So I thought it probably needed the milk protein to transform into yogurt. Maybe I will try again. Any ideas to better succeed at this?

      3. We use full cream for both regular, I guess it is called, and Greek yogurt. It is thicker than yogurt made with whole milk. We love it.
        For Greek yogurt we do not strain it. We just eat it. Seems to taste better to us than regular yogurt. I guess it is the type of bacteria in the culture.
        Next I want to play around with adding gelatin to make a dessert-like dish.

    2. On our farm we feed our pasture raised pigs the whey from Chobani (the largest plant is just 15 miles from us here in upstate New York). Our pigs grow slowly on only grass and whey, but they are delicious and we are keeping a huge amount of food waste out of the waste cycle by turning it into meat. We are getting the omega 3 ratio analyzed now and are hopeful that it’s closer to grass-fed beef because of their no grain (except for some stale loaves of bread occasionally from the nearest health food store) diet.

      1. Here in Wisconsin, a smart young lady started a whey powder business – Tara’s Whey – using waste whey from local cheese makers (lots of those around here). Her company has been booming the last few years. It’s our favorite whey powder by far. She also has a line of goats’ whey powders, which are amazingly delicious.

    3. My son feeds my whey from straining homemade yogurt to the pigs. I think it is good for any animals.

  10. What about kefir? It’s a standard here in Central and Eastern Europe and always helps with my digestive processes, and seems “natural”, especially the full-fat versions.

    1. Home made Kefir is soooo delicious and very, very, very simple to make. Check out the book, Nourishing Traditions

    2. How about ryazhenka? I love that stuff, as does my Ukrainian gal. Baked milk, raw of course and full fat, then fermented with kefir powder. Takes all night to bake in a 210 deg. oven, then 24 hrs to ferment after cooling to room temp- but worth the wait!

    3. I just discovered kefir and I am in love! I pour it over frozen or fresh berries! And my digestive system loves it, too!

  11. Mmmmmm….Liberte Goat Yoghurt! Great treat when I visit Canada. Unfortunately all I can find around me has skim milk blah blah in it even though it is whole milk.

    1. I get Liberte Yogurt at Whole Foods in NY/NJ. I haven’t seen that brand with goat’s milk, sounds interesting! I love the blackberry flavor–yogurt as it should be!

      1. I get Liberte also. It has the best taste. I am sure it is the fattest yogurt made, but I don’t indulge often. Rich, creamy, divine, too die for. (It MUST be bad for me is what I think…therefore, once a week)

        1. Liberte is so delicious! I’ve seen it in a few random health food stores here in MD, and others have ordered it for me if they don’t carry it. Goat’s milk is much more easily digestible than cow’s (and soooo much tastier!) so culture it and you have the perfect yogurt!

    2. My favorite is Redwood Farms Goat Yogurt (Whole Foods & other health food stores in NYC) or Trader Joe’s goat yogurt. I have a cow dairy allergy, and I always hated yogurt although I loved most other dairy. I tried Redwood Farms goat yogurt, and loved it! Other brands I’ve tried are a little more “goaty”, but Trader Joe’s version seems identical to Redwood Farms. I get really sad when I go on my summer vacation to Scandinavia and have to do without goat yogurt for three weeks. I’ve never tried Liberte, couldn’t find it. Best goat butter: St. Helen’s Farm from Yorkshire

  12. The whey problem is easily solved. Strain high quality yogurt and use the whey as per “Nourishing Traditions” cookbook, add to smoothies, or put it in your garden or compost.

    My favorite is Wholefoods’ 365 organic whole milk yogurt, but would welcome other suggestions.

    1. I buy 7 Stars Farm yogurt from Whole Foods. It is unhomogenized from cows in rural PA who spend most of the year grazing. I make a daily smoothie with blueberries and healthy spices like turmeric, cinnamon and ginger.

      1. I live pretty close to 7 Stars, but I’ve never had their yogurt! I need to change this ASAP!

    2. Can’t the whey be used as fermentation starter, perhaps more rather than less?

  13. The only *truly* grass-fed yogurt that I know of on the market is made by Maple Hill Creamery. They are now in some Whole Foods Markets on the east coast and they are growing. I know they are the real deal because I know the farmers who make milk for them and they don’t cut corners or bend the rules about what is and isn’t grass. That’s pretty rare for a qualifier like ‘grass-fed’ that doesn’t actually have universal standards in place. They now make a full fat, organic, and grass-fed strained yogurt that is amazing.

    1. I love the Maple Hill yogurt! They started carrying the plain Greek version at my local grocery. You can’t get any better than plain, full-fat, Greek, grass-fed yogurt.

    2. I was using Maple Hill Creamery brand, a few spoonfuls each morning with berries and nuts (along with eggs and other items, with coconut oil etc, I eat a pretty big breakfast in the morning) then I recently switched to a Greek yogurt because of the high protein, noticed it was 0% fat which concerns me. Think I will swith back to Maple Hill based on your comments and Mark’s article. Thanks!

  14. I seem to have a hard time finding whole fat, organic, Greek yogurt, even at places like Trader Joe’s. I’m never sure which element to compromise on.
    I like the idea of getting Greek yogurt because of the higher protein, but again seem to have a hard time finding whole milk (full fat) and organic at the same time.

    Currently I’ve been using Trader Joe’s “European Style Plain Whole Milk Yogurt” which is kind of a compromise. Because it’s the “European Style” it does have 12 grams of protein. Only about 1/2 of what the Greek yogurts have, but about double what regular yogurt has.

    After reading this article, I will feel better about eating the fat-free organic Greek yogurt at times too, as long as I see they haven’t added a bunch of unnecessary ingredients.

    1. I work at Trader Joe’s her in Santa Rosa and we do have a full fat Greek yogurt. It is a Trader Joe label and that is the only one I buy. We also carry Fage, but only in 2 percent and 0 Fat. I love to eat it with a handful of berries and a sprinkle of pumpkin seeds!

      1. Thanks for the info. Is the full fat TJ’s Green yogurt you are referring to also organic?

        Thanks!

  15. I strain my full fat yogurt with a strainer lined with a coffee filter. I wish the other people in my house liked the flavor of plain yogurt like I do, so tart and creamy!!
    However, now it is easier to find Fage Total here in Oregon’s grocery stores so that cuts out the straining, no waiting.
    Wasn’t there a recipe that used the whey in making mayo?

    1. You can use whey to preserve mayo. Add about a tablespoon to your mayo, close the lid and let it ferment on your countertop for 7 hours. It’ll become a bit more sour-tasting, but it will keep for at least a month or so in the fridge.

  16. I’ve been eating 2lbs of fat free Greek yogurt with a pound of frozen organic blueberries after workouts for the past few months. Anyone that sees the bowl wonders how I eat so much; relative to the volume, the calories are fairly low. Kirkland (Costco) brand (Ingredients are milk and cultures).

    1. Egads! 80 or more grams of dairy protein without even a drop of the fat your body is expecting to help you digest/absorb/utilize that protein? You don’t have to be a die-hard Weston A Price-er to find that potentially problematic!
      Remember: Until 50 years ago or so, every single time your genes met dairy protein, they met it together with dairy fat. In fact in many cultures, skim milk was fed to hogs and converted to lard before consumption, so our genes may be expecting fat at a higher rate than naturally occurring in milk.
      That is an incredibly unbalanced meal. You’d do your body more favors to have 1 lb of full fat yogurt (which as I mention in another post here, isn’t really full fat anyway, usually, but 2%), maybe with a couple tablespoons of nuts.
      Also, I wouldn’t recommend that anyone get 80 g of protein every day from any one source. Variety in nutrition is key, and that much dairy is practically asking to develop an allergy.

      1. I disagree.

        Do you have any evidence to support the causal relationships you claim: that without dairy fat that level of protein is problematic, or that it will lead to an allergy?

        I don’t understand the relevance of feeding skim milk to hogs.

        I don’t think your claim of the historical consumption of dairy fat with milk protein establishes milk protein without dairy fat is problematic. I also think your statement is incorrect. See the reference to skyr in the above post. An internet search demonstrates that skyr has been consumed for over 1000 years.

        My diet is diverse – I described one meal I eat a few times per week. As in, 3 meals out of roughly 21 per week.

        1. This website has a bunch of stuff about how dairy is healthier when eaten whole. This component in the skim promotes cancer, but that component in the fat inhibits it, etc etc. Any number of diseases are linked to consumption of skim milk but not whole milk. Put “dairy” in the search box at the top and read. Chris Masterjohn is also good on this topic.
          Mark also mentions the “if you eat too much dairy too often you’re courting allergies,” which I’ve seen on other sites as well. I would not bet the farm on a causal relationship, but neither would I risk eating 80 g of one source of protein per day (three times a week is, yes, somewhat better).
          Review the information above on skyr. It has been made for 1000 years, yes, but it’s made from the skim milk left over from making butter. Which I’m going to go out on a limb and assume that they also ingested. They are still getting the benefits of the whole milk, just they are getting it in divided dishes.
          And the relevance of the hogs is that, in the cultures that do that, instead of eating butter and skyr, like the Icelanders, they are eating butter, whole milk, and full-fat cheese. Instead of encountering dairy fait and protein in a 1:1 ratio, they will have normally consumed something more like a 2:1 ratio (or whatever). If your genes are from a mixed dairy-hog background, your body will be even more perplexed by skim milk.
          My point is, dairy protein eaten without dairy fat being present in the natural ratio somewhere in the diet is a new food, like soy oil and white flour. I am always suspicious of new foods. I thought that was what paleo/primal was all about. No?

        2. Folks, the fat in milk/yogurt/cheese carries fat-soluble vitamins and minerals. Without that fat, you don’t get those vitamins and minerals. Particularly, your body needs fat in the yogurt to use the calcium in that yogurt. Both calcium and iron need fat in the food to be available to your body. Also, the various fatty acids in the fat are important to your body. One of these, conjugated linoleic acid, or CLA, plays a vital role in signaling your body to retain healthy, lean muscle tissue. It is sold as a bodybuilders’ supplement. Why let the manufacturers take away the valuable nutrition in those fats?

        3. Alicia,

          Primal/paleo are about different things to different people. I think looking at foods and their effects in the context of evolution makes sense, but I don’t think it makes sense to exclude because foods are new, per se.

          Soy oil is not a good comparison. People have been eating dairy for a long time, thus consuming the proteins in significant quantities. Soy oil is a new, manufactured product, that is generally outside the framework of anything previously consumed – particularly the 6:3 ratio and absence of antioxidants/nutrients. White flour may be a better comparison from a historical perspective. Sure the “recentness” of wheat consumption can raise suspicion, but I generally avoid it for reasons other than “primal man didn’t eat it.” After reviewing this website and Masterjohn’s works on the issue of dairy, I don’t see cause for concern in the context of my overall diet.

          I can’t find that quote from Mark you linked regarding allergy – nevertheless, you can become allergic to all kinds of things that are healthy; its possible to develop an egg allergy from regular consumption, yet eggs are considered the pinnacle of healthy foods in primal eating. I’m not really worried about this. Also, Mark has discussed utilizing GOMAD to build strength (120g protein every day from dairy), and sells an isolated milk protein supplement (removed dairy fat).

          The Masterjohn article on dairy and cancer, and Mark’s link to that post in the Definitive Guide to Dairy, discuss possible prostate cancer increases associated with dairy calcium, with the probable link being insufficient Vitramin D. I get plenty of vitamin D.

          I still get dairy fat too, when I cook with butter. I also view butter as milk fat isolated from the proteins and carbs – people have been isolating various components of milk and consuming them independently for a long time – why not take issue with isolated dairy fat consumption too? It has been stripped of all those beneficial milk proteins. Butter has been associated with more diseases in higher occurrences than milk proteins, also. The reason is because context is important, rather than possible harm from any one aspect of one part of one person’s diet

          I’m lean, healthy, and strong, I eat over a pound of oily fish a week, I eat a pound of fruits and vegetables per day, and I eat liver every week. After workouts it is so easy and satisfying to consume fat free Greek yogurt with berries. The possible harm of my low fat dairy consumption seems like such a small and theoretical issue of my diet that I suspect stressing over it would be more harmful than consuming it.

          Marge,

          You make good points. I choose low fat dairy products at times because of how they fit in my workout schedule and general calorie plan. I also eat meat independent of bones, skin or other organs, and a bunch of other foods where parts have been isolated from their nutritionally complementary parts, such as olive and coconut oils.

        4. Oh, and you won’t absorb any of the fat-soluble vitamins and antioxidants in the fruit if you eat it with fat-free yogurt. Another reason to eat something more nearly approximating nature.

        5. Wouldn’t eating the fruit alone approximate nature, yet be low in fat?

  17. Thanks for this. I LOVE yogurt and my favorite brand by far is Maple Hill creamery’s Greek full-fat grass fed yogurt. It’s amazing but hard to eat just a little! I just eat it plain, it is so delicious!
    My question is — how much yogurt does one have to eat to get the probiotic benefits?

    1. Greek, full fat, grass fed, and organic! I’m very excited to read this–but where do you get it?

  18. Thanks for the information on yogurt! I love yogurt, but haven’t been able to have much of it since removing it. I will try adding it in small increments, maybe that will do the trick because I would love to have some Greek, rather, Turkish, strained yogurt!

  19. What about sugar free plain Greek yogurt? I know a lot of variety’s add sugar and what not but it usually is naturally very low fat or fat free and really high in protein naturally.

  20. I make my own yogurt in the crock pot with whole milk, let it strain for 48 hours and then sweeten it with just a touch of maple syrup and vanilla extract. It’s like dessert for me then. Add in some berries and chopped nuts…MMMM

    1. Tamara, that is a great idea! How much milk do you use and I presume you’d use the low setting, and for low long?

  21. Would you consider goats milk yogurt primal? or closer than cows milk even grass fed? I have troubles with cows milk even grass fed, so I’ve moved to goats milk everything. Butter (way better than cows), cheese, kefir and yogurt. I don’t have the problems I had with cows. Of course the butter is seasonal evidently, as I can only get it every so often.

    1. Of course goats milk is primal! We get goats milk feta and it’s so creamy!

      1. Sweet!!! Thank you! I love the cheddar and put it on my eggs when I make fritatta

      2. Goat milk cream cheese at Whole Foods–with their Fig spread on your choice of cracker or bread, is divine.

  22. Hello, I’m from the Balkans and old enough to remember the real yogurt. Here is the link for the curious. http://www.bacillusbulgaricus.com/lactobacillus-bulgaricus to learn about the origin of yogurt,and Lactobacillus Bulgaricus.

    Now I live in North America, and buy 6% Balkan style yogurt…not the same. I decided to try to make my own yogurt with what America offers as 3 % milk.

  23. My favorite is Brown Cow Yogurt which is non GMO gluten free & kosher

    NON DAIRY OPTIONS:
    i like So Delicious Coconut Milk Yogurt which is GF & organic. i try to buy the bigger plain tub and then add berries and minimal sweetener since the flavored versions, like most brands add lots of unnecessary gunk. They also have a thicker Greek style and kefir.

    almond milk based ones tend to be runny with little texture. Again for me, So Delicious has the best texture as well as organic GF organic attributes . Amande & Almond Dream are OK, texture , fewer attributes

    If you’re still eating soy, Whole Soy is tastiest and only one i could truly enjoy. Silk & Stonyfield Farms are OK. I don’t remember trying Trader Joe’s. Nancy’s soy is inedible–grainy, runny & slightly bitter–I don’t understand how they’re still on the market.

    Has anyone seen any yogurts based on other milks–hemp? other nuts?

    1. Yup! Brown Cow Plain Cream Top.

      My brother-in-law told me the bitter/overly sour taste in Nancy’s is due to too high temperature in processing. Not sure if that applies to the soy, but he specifically said the milk yoghurt gets overly sour an icky if processed at too high temperatures.

  24. We make it using full fat powdered milk and start it off with Fage Greek yogurt. From then just use a spoonful of the last batch to start the next. Luckily we live in a warm climate (Oman) so we just leave the crock pot in the kitchen overnight and “bingo” it’s done. Why powdered milk? It’s cheap and more available than full fat milk in these low fat times, plus, the result is fabulous. Search online for a recipe, it’s easy!

  25. Mark, that’s disgusting. “or a paper towel laid on top of a mesh trainer”
    I’ve been made to drink beer out of my trainer, but never yogurt.
    Lol 😉

  26. We make our own yogurt with organic 1/2 & 1/2 in a yogurt maker. Thick, rich, & totally delicious! Just add a few nuts & blueberries, chia seeds, & 2 scoops Prebiotic, & you have the perfect breakfast!

  27. I love Smari Organics full fat Icelandic yogurt (skyr). Delicious and the best texture I’ve come across.

  28. “Intestinal homeostasis is a balance between pro and anti-inflammatory responses of intestinal immunocytes and could be maintained by probiotics.” This study, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3920683/ notes following probiotic yogurt intervention:

    1. Serum levels of PRO-INFLAMMATORY CYTOKINES: IL-1?, TNF-? and also in CRP levels significantly decreased, and
    2. Serum levels of ANTI-INFLAMMATORY CYTOKINE IL-10 and IL-6 significantly increased.

    For clarity: subjects where supposed to eat probiotic yogurt containing 26,500 CFU of each Bifidiobacterium BB-12 and Lactobacillus acidophilus La-5 daily for 8 weeks. NOTE: Bifidobacterium is NOT eaten for SCD/GAPS… rather it is believed to easily overgrow in a compromised gut thus specific bacterial legal starters containing: L.Acidophilus, S.Thermophilus, L.Bulgaricus and L. Rhamnosus are mandated.

  29. I love Fage. I have also noticed that most stores, including Whole Foods, are still beholden to the non-fat fantasy and stock 10 times more low- and non-fat product. But now that more people know that fat is no longer evil the stores sell out of their tiny supplies of full-fat yogurt almost immediately! Very frustrating.
    Also I have never, ever seen the full fat (4%) Chobani on sale anywhere, though they list is a product on their web site.

    1. Fage and almonds. Although I am stuck with the 2% as the total fat is rarely seen.

  30. We are blessed to get our raw milk full fat plain yogurt from a local small farm. Only fed grass. Only $5 a quart…tangy and delicious! Lake City, FL.

  31. Anyone ever tried shopping for uncorrupted natural yoghurt in Spain, let alone a really tasty full fat Greek or Turkish yoghurt? Forget it. Everything has added sugar. They even have ‘azúcarado’ emblazoned on the front of the label like some sort of major plus point. Even the plain, fruit-free stuff has sugar in it. Depressing.

  32. Siggi’s Coconut Skyr- made from grass-fed cow’s milk. It’s pretty good. Original Fage is still my favorite. Mixed with blueberries and drizzle of honey. yum!

  33. I now understand why my eyes cross and I stand before the yogurt in the grocery store for at least 20 minutes searching out the best choice. Thanks for all the great information… I know my browsing… will be shortened by at least 2 minutes : )))

  34. East coasters seem to have better yogurt options that we do out west, strangely, at least at Whole Foods. Maple Hill Creamery used to be a staple at my swag in Palo Alto, but no more. Straus is the best choice now. From what I’ve researched, their cows are mostly grass-fed and their Greek yogurt is unbelievably good.

    1. I love the Straus greek yogurt. For my (picky, primal 8-year-old) I mix it with their full-fat vanilla for a less sugar-y ‘kids’ yogurt.

  35. I am lactose intolerant. It is something that developed after I limited my dairy intake, and I truly wish it did not come about. Greek yogurt was one of my favorite foods/meals. Has anyone in my similar position attempted to regularly eat greek yogurt, and see a reversal of intolerance?

    1. I’ve been told by other people that lactose tolerance is a “use it or lose it” proposition. The good news is that if you start using lactose-containing dairy again, your body will start making lactose again. You may have to start very small and work up very slowly to avoid undue side effects, but I’ve heard people say it worked for them if they persevered.
      Also, greek yogurt is rather low in lactose. Some of the lactose bites the dust during the fermentation process, and more of it is strained out with the whey. So you should tolerate greek yogurt more than you would fresh milk.

  36. I usually buy plain Greek Yogurt and add my own flavours such as blueberries, raspberries, natural vanilla extract and maybe a pinch of stevia if I feel the need for sweetening. I was wondering if Kefir would make a good additive to thin it out some. Also, what other uses are there for Kefir. I bought a small jug and don’t want to see it go to waste after the expiration date because I didn’t know where to use it. Thanks for any help with this.

    1. Al Hughes..I buy plain Kefir in a tub which is eaten with a spoon like yoghurt & its delicious. I love Greek yoghurt but love Kefir even more. Its hard not to eat tubfuls at a time. I’ve never found it in tub form except my local health food store here on Vancouver Island in BC. As for Greek yoghurt, I usually buy Costco’s Kirkland brand which is not full fat but very creamy with nothing added that shouldn’t be…mainly because of price. I top it with Costco’s organic toasted coconut….delicious! We’re fortunate here to have so many organic, healthy options at Costco. (No I don’t work for them).

  37. Good for you mark for breaking dogma and the taboo ness of regular consumption of dairy. Next up, soaked grains?

    I wonder how consuming dairy with high oxalate foods, spinach, sweet potatoes, affects absorbability

  38. We make our own yogurt. We get raw milk from a local farmer and add the culture. Our milk is around 5 to 6 percent fat and it makes the best yogurt. We also make a coconut milk yogurt that ends up more liquid, but works great in smoothies.

  39. Wallaby Organic Greek Whole milk yogurt, plain: Best. Yogurt. Ever!! I love it drizzled with organic blackstrap molasses – a favorite treat from childhood. We were served this instead of ice cream, and never knew the difference – mom was a 60’s “health food nut” for which I am now so grateful – thanks, mom!

  40. In Columbus, Indiana, there is a well stocked Indian grocer. They sell Desi Natural Dahl whole milk all natural yogurt (also a low fat one). Contains no gelatin, made with cultured pasteurized grade A milk and nonfat milk solids, active yogurt cultures including L. bulgaricus, S. thermophilus, bifidus, L. acidophilus and L. casei.

    It tastes great and is product of USA.

  41. My new love is a yoghurt out of Napa, California. Wallaby Organic, Greek Style, grass fed. After trying this for the first time, I dropped Maple Hill like it was hot. Extremely rich and creamy.

  42. I don’t tolerate dairy yogurt well but when I was eating it I thought Trader Joe’s plain Greek yogurt was pretty good.

    And here in Northern California we are blessed with two very nice but pricey grass fed organic brands: Strauss Creamery and St. Benoit. St. Benoit comes in glass containers, which is an especially nice touch–not thrilled with buying plastic containers all the time.

  43. Yoplait and it’s “fruit” at the bottom ruined my sense of what yogurt should taste like. I never had real yogurt as a kid, just a sugary concoction, so every time I try real yogurt now, I think, I’d rather just eat sour cream. :/

  44. I’m a HUGE fan of Fage Total! SImple and delicious. I use it for dessert (frozen blueberries or banana slices thrown in). I put in smoothies. And most of all, I often throw a dollop of it on the side of savory dishes which include spicy and/or acidic food like eastern Mediterranean food (think Turkish, etc.), or even something as simple as scrambled eggs with crumbled feta and dry herbs.

    I try other brands, but so many yogurts in mainstream supermarkets are 0% across the board almost. Otherwise I make it and strain it myself in cheese cloth!

  45. I buy one yogurt only. Kalona greek yogurt. Grass fed, 3grams carbs per serving. Tastes amazing. I get mine at Natural Grocers.

    Also their sour cream is amazing. One of my true super awesome foods now. I only eat foods I like. But I REALLY love the sour cream.

  46. Yoghurt is very simple to make yourself as I do. All you need is good quality milk and starter from a quality yoghurt.

  47. i make yogurt in my crockpot … hated *wasting* the whey (and therefore decreasing the yogurt yield) so now i thicken it with gelatin. so easy and cost-effective. bonus: knowing what my kids are eating is wholesome. now i just need to get my hands on some zipzicles to make homemade gogurts!

  48. I’m on board with all the full-fat Fage lovers here! So far as store-bought brands, that tops my list.

    Such a disappointment, however, when full-fat is out of stock…and, near me in south Florida, Whole Foods is the only place I’ve found full-fat yoghurt all. Not enough people are buying full-fat for other stores to carry it. And, even at WF, it’s the exception in the yoghurt section.

  49. FAGE!!! I can’t live without it. Plain is fine. I eat it with berries and/or honey, use it for sauces, eat it when i’m craving ice cream. I haven’t tried using it as a sub for sour cream or cream cheese yet but it sounds like a good idea!

  50. I’ve gotten to the point where I make my own yogurt. I have a Cuisinart batch yogurt maker that can handle 50 fluid ounces of liquid. I use 2 cups of Stonyfield vanilla or Chobani to start, add a quart of milk, then top the rest off with cream. Thick, rich, and I know what went into it.
    I am allergic to corn, so Fage, Yoplait and some of the other so called Greek yogurts are out of the question for me. If you look close, they are thickened with corn starch instead of properly filtering out the whey.
    One of the pricey brands I will splurge on that’s safe is Noosa out of Colorado. Yes, it has sugar in it, so it’s a treat once in a while.

    1. Read your labels again. Plain FAGE, Chobani and Dannon Oikos are milk and culture, no thickeners.

  51. all of the above yogurts sound like pasteurized yogurts….so the whey has been treated with the heat high enough to pasteurize, so it’s destroyed, and any good bacterias had to be killed in the heat process and then i guess they added them back in…or did they just have them initially,and they all got killed but still listed as ingredients?
    anyway, i like to find yogurt made from raw, unpasteurized milk, goat or cow….i took care of goats every summer for years. we had so much milk everyday, we had to make yogurt and ice cream and drink lots of it….i felt so good, my state of mind and sense of ease actually changed at those times….last year i had the fortune to once again, get a source for raw milk yogurt and it changed my state of health and mind…..so on the lookout for raw….just call me heidi!

  52. Up here in Oregon, the most common high quality yogurt is Nancy’s. a local brand. They’re very careful about how they make it and now have a Greek style full fat with a bit of honey that is absolutely divine!

  53. Last May, I spent half a month in Prague, Czech Republic. Shopped at Globius Hypermarket. Mind was blown. They had very, very long refrigerated case aisles. One entire case was filled with yogurts (yes, the entire length of the aisle!!!). Between that and the cheese aisle, and the amazing mineral waters that we can’t get here in the states, I was in foodie heaven!

    1. Karson, that sounds delicious!! I’m guessing you end up with the consistency of ice cream? Could you provide a little more detail on how much of each ingredient you use?

  54. Well said Mark! “They turn an incredible whole food with thousands of years of tradition into an edible food product that bears little resemblance to its progenitor.”

    I despair when I see people spooning low fat, sugar laden “yoghurt” onto their morning cereal. Double shudder with the cereal side as well!

  55. This was awesome. If I’m eating yogurt i’m going in its most natural state with its most natural amount of fat. Then I’m adding in my own berries, chia seeds, nuts etc. The problem with any fruit flavored store yogurts is it’s not just the sugar that’s a problem but that they are usually flavored with completely artificial, addictive type compounds to create that “natural fruit flavor”. Some will even add in sucralose or other artificial sweeteners which makes even less sense. Ultimately they’re creating an entire new substance that we now equate as a fruit flavored yogurt. A bad combination all around.
    -Jamie

  56. The yogurt I’ve been eating of late is the Noosa Plain full fat yogurt. It is very tasty. If I want a little crunch I add some pumpkin seeds and maybe mixed berries.

    Ingredients: Grade A Pasteurized Milk, Kosher Gelatin, Pectin, Live Active Cultures: S. Thermophilus, L. Bulgaricus, L. Acidophilus, Bifidus, and L. Casei.

  57. Has anyone noticed that the fat content of Fage “full fat” yogurt has dropped significantly in the last couple years? Milk as it comes out of the cow will have about a 1:1 ratio of fat to protein, and their full fat product used to have that as well, but now it is closer to 1:2. Basically, it is a strained (whey reduced) 2% yogurt. The one that is 2% fat (by weight) has the fat:protein ratio of 1% milk. In both cases, to get to the ratio of fat:protein that our genes are expecting, you need to have some grass-fed butter with it.
    Do note that Wallaby has come out with a “full fat” (2%) yogurt that at least claims to be from grass fed cows! It’s available at my whole foods.

  58. Thanks for the excellent article on yogurt. My friends and family think I’m nuts for following the Paleo lifestyle. The fat! The “unbalanced” diet of no grains! How can that be healthy? I’m 64 years old, have lost 15 lbs on Paleo (while gaining great muscle mass)… Feel great. My only problem with full fat yogurt is that it is becoming harder to find in grocery stores. I’m thinking of making my own. Thanks for your commitment to the cause and for your excellent articles.

  59. My favorite yogurt is Strauss full-fat plain Greek yogurt. I love that their cows are grass fed, whereas I’ve heard that Fage & Chobani cows are not. It creamy & delicious!!!

  60. Stonyfield farms plain is the best I can consistently find. Add almonds, walnuts or dark chocolate chips.

  61. I am baffled that in an article about yoghurt, Mark didn’t mention the best “brand” there is: HOMEMADE.

    Yoghurt is easy to make at home and in addition to being healthier–you can use full fat milk; you don’t have to use cow’s milk but can use goat’s or sheep’s milk if you prefer; there’s more friendly bacteria; you can decrease the lactose as much as you want by making it as sour as you want–in addition to all that, the taste is superior BY FAR.

    I’m not a big yoghurt eater, but I make a batch every now and again and there is no comparison whatsoever to store-bought. It’s totally in it’s own league.

    If you eat yoghurt regularly, do yourself a favor and try making some yourself. You’ll thank me!!!!

  62. I just this past hour made another batch of homemade yogurt. I let it ferment for 24 hours to get rid of most of the lactose. It is so easy, quick and cheaper to make your own. I do have a yogurt maker that keeps the temp at (i think it’s) 110 degrees. It holds small jars with a short cover or my ball quart jars with a tall cover. Got it on Amazon for good price. Really, it is easy, try it.
    Heat milk to 185, let cool to 110, add starter ( I use leftover yogurt), keep warm for at least 8 hours. It comes out fantastic if you can get raw milk but works fine with the organic milk I usually end up with.

  63. Spent a couple of years in Mongolia drinking fresh goat, sheep, and cow yogurt made from milk made from fresh green grass. I loved it…took a few tries to get over the intense sour flavor but once I was acclimated I couldn’t get enough. Walking around in the countryside in the summer I probably had yogurt four or five times a day depending on the frequencies of Ger’s I encountered.

  64. I used to hate yogurt (it made me gag), until I started making my own in a slow cooker. Now I always have some on hand. It is soooo easy to make and cheaper than buying good quality yogurt (just Google it). I can’t get raw milk in my state but I found organic pasteurized whole milk at one supermarket, (you can’t use “ultra” pasteurized). I use it as is for smoothies and strain it to desired texture for a sour cream substitute or my favorite dip – caramelized onions, and garlic added. I use the resulting whey from straining, to culture vegetables and for my garden. My hydrangeas love it!

  65. Chobani is probably the worst yogurt out there because of all the additives. I’m curious why you recommend that one. Yoplait isn’t much better. Organic and non-GMO websites that are “purists” will give you the grading system for yogurt. Chobani got an F, and Yoplait a D.

  66. For those in the Northeast, Maple Hill Creamery has come out with a 100% grass fed greek yogurt, and it is delicious.

    Also, a summer product preview suggests that Siggi’s is coming out with a 4% Skyr yogurt!

  67. Afghan Yogurt!
    My dad was from Afghanistan and yogurt is used on everything. The BEST yogurt is “garlic yogurt” and made by simply adding huge amounts (10-15 cloves per quart) of fresh crushed garlic to your yogurt, and then adding quite a bit of salt. Mix well and let stand overnight. The resulting yogurt is amazing on fresh meat, stews, spread on middle eastern flat bread, or as a condiment used with rice or noodles.

    Our family owned an Afghan restaurant for years and our customers were always raving about our yogurt!

  68. Milk and milk products are not well tolerated by a majority of humans, ~70%. In my n=1 book, it’s not primal. For ~million+ years we did not consume milk. I don’t touch the stuff. It just so happens that many who do tolerate it also happen to be of Northern European descent and have internet connections.

  69. I agree with all who say homemade is the best tasting and richest in microbes. After the first couple of tries, it won’t take much of your time or mental energy. If I strain the yogurt, I use the whey in smoothies or share with the dogs who practically do handstands. I have been known to chug whey standing right there at the kitchen counter! Had one recent bout of kefir-making and am ready to try again. Strained, the kefir cheese kept us in a tasty herbed spread for the summer (throw in some thin strips of colorful edible flowers and the spread looks like a parade). If I have fresh whey on hand I use it for beet kvass and will use it this summer when I learn to make sauerkraut and kimchi.

    While homemade yogurt is rich in healthy bacteria, kefir offers high levels of friendly bacteria and yeast. It may be that organisms this concentrated act as mood elevators. If you are new to the whole gut-brain science that has been coming on in recent years, treat yourself to this 17 minute TED talk: https://www.ted.com/talks/rob_knight_how_our_microbes_make_us_who_we_are?language=en Loved the post!

  70. I eat a big bowl of full-fat Greek yogurt every day for breakfast (and sometimes as a snack). I add a bit of heavy cream (to thin it out a bit, as it’s rather thick) and some berries to sweeten it and give it some flavor. I love it.

  71. I have the Euro Cuisine 2 quart yogurt maker, and the Euro Cuisne 2 quart Greek yogurt strainer. I buy my yogurt cultures from Cultures For Health, and use full fat organic milk. To make two quarts of full fat Greek yogurt only costs the price of milk and less than a dollar for the cultures. It takes about ten minutes to prepare the milk (easy peasy) then in the machine to ferment for 8 hrs. Aside from kefir it’s the easiest ferment I do.

  72. Thank you for bringing light to children being fed poison, like carrageenan which causes inflammation! It is also in Pacific Hemp milk and Applegate Organic turkey slices, and they say they have to use it as a thickener for slices in packages, so now I only buy freshly-sliced Applegate turkey in the deli to avoid carrageenan, which they do not put in the whole roasted turkeys. Thank God!

    I am sad to see the Gogurt has not only carrageenan, but GMO sugar (“sugar” not labeled “cane sugar” is generally GMO beet sugar, and GMO corn starch, and zero labeling to the fact. Tragic sitch. SO good to be thinking for ourselves here. Bless you all!

  73. “Bitter debates about the provenance of strained yogurt are being waged as you read this.”

    What? You mean the Turks and the Greeks are arguing about something? That’s never happened before!

  74. I typically make my own from grass fed milk but in a pinch, brown cow cream top is the best!!!

  75. Anyone know anything about Noosa yogurts? They are so good, but I can’t figure out why. The plain is to die for, and they have strawberry rhubarb that I absolutely can’t keep around because I have no self control around it.
    Whole milk is the first ingredient, followed by cream and low fat milk.
    Anyone else have experience with it?

    1. This isn’t very useful. It’s a score for the brand as a whole not rankings or reviews of individual products.

  76. I love Stonyfield Farms Organic Whole Milk Plain yogurt!!! It is the creamiest, most delicious yogurt ever! I eat it out of the container with a spoon as a snack. I use it as part of dressings for my salads (I have a salad with greens, raw cabbage, sauerkraut, yogurt, and some sort of protein – eggs, or cheddar, tuna, chicken, salami, left-over sliced steak… – for lunch every day.) I also love to add it to a stew or soup. I mix it with salsa or guacamole to make them creamy. When my black raspberries come in, I mix them with it. Occasionally, for a treat, I’ll squeeze out a lemon, sugar the juice, and mix it with yogurt.

  77. Mark you missed skim milk powder. The addition of which turns ANY yogurt into an extremely unhealthy product. And it’s in SO many brands.

  78. I do well with dairy, especially quark and sour cream. Getting my hands on the good unadulterated stuff is the issue. I live in the Florida Keys, which has no access to the food I’m accustomed to. This tropical hellhole deprives me of that “at home” feeling and I can’t wait to have to $$$ to move.:( No everybody, it’s not paradise for everyone. I miss dairy farms and good markets. We seriously need a food revolution in this country.

  79. I love Siggi’s Icekandic skyr yogurt. 14 grams protein and 11 grams of sugar in 5.3 oz. mostly available in non- fat but they do have a few flavors in 2% fat.
    Mostly eat Fage 2% plain with berries and nuts! Less sugar, more protein!

  80. I make my own yogurt, with a ridiculously simple and cheap gadget called EasyYo. From New Zealand, they can be bought here. The original marketing was to use the device with dried packs of dried grass-fed New Zealand milk and culture.

    The culture is hearty enough that I can keep making yogurt by topping off the container with milk while leaving about a quarter cup of the last batch in place. So one pack of one of their plainer yogurts can last for several years.

    Its just a plain 1 liter container with a somewhat insulated holder. You fill it with boiling water up to a mark, and immerse the milk/culture in it for 24 hours. It filters very nicely.

  81. It’s also essential to check that your full-fat plain unflavoured yoghurt actually contains live cultures, otherwise, what’s the point? At least here in Ireland, yoghurt with live cultures must be labelled as such (the cultures themselves don’t need to be listed, but their existence must be highlighted on the container). You’d be surprised at how many cheap-o brands of yoghurt do NOT have live cultures listed as an ingredient. As usual, it’s often worth paying a little more for better quality.

  82. I make my own yogurt with organic milk and Fage yogurt, but lately i don’t have the time. Haven’t made it with gelatin yet. How much do you use and when do you add it to the milk?

    The choboni yogurt uses GMO milk and I can’t find it in a full fat version. I’ve tried many brands and Fage is at the top. I just wish the idiots at Costco would sell the full fat version, would save me a lot of money.

    The Greek yogurt at Traders Joes isn’t very good, the plain yogurt has more sugar than protein which is backwards.

  83. In the US, the cheapest best yogurt can be found at Trader Joe’s, the one called “Organic European Style Yogurt”. It only has yogurt in it, and indeed, the taste is exactly the same as the one we have in my mountainous goat/sheep village in Greece, where I grew up.

    Please don’t be fooled that “Greek yogurt” is that FAGE strained stuff. That’s a relative new invention in Greece, that somehow got spread out worldwide too. Real rural Greek yogurt, made by people who own animals in the mountains, is not strained. And this TJs’ one, is the closest one in taste.

  84. I love yogurt, I have it every day for breakfast since eggs don’t agree with me anymore. I get the plain, 10% fat greek or turkish kind and flavour it with whatever strikes my fancy: cacao powder and vanilla makes a great chocolate yogurt, lemon zest (with or without vanilla or a bit of honey) is great too, or cinnamon. Top with some seasonal fruit, a handful of coconut flakes or other nuts, and I’m good to go from morning until mid-afternoon. If for some reason I have a lower-fat kind, I get hungry by mid-morning.

    One smallish supermarket close where I live doesn’t carry any 10% fat yogurt, so I get full fat “kwark” (quark? Google translate suggests “curds” or “cottage cheese”) which is basically very, very young cream cheese (milk curdled with rennet or acid), and possibly strained, since it is higher in protein than your average yogurt. Thick, creamy and less sour than yogurt, but without the beneficial bacteria. Do you guys in the US have anything similar?

  85. Great article, thanks! It really made me glad I started making my own yogurt a few months ago. I’m in the UK and love Yeo Valley, but was spending so much on it I decided to try making my own. I now get through a litre a week at a fraction of the cost and its even fresher tasting (and delicious with honey and raspberries!). I just buy a small pot as a ‘starter’ every 5-6 weeks. I didn’t know it was normal in some countries to use it throughout day, I often have a couple of pots a day, but would happily eat more!

  86. I’m getting this late but I saw no mention of Belweather Farms in Petaluma, CA. Theirs is from grass-fed sheep. I use the plain to make tzatziki. Two Persian cucumbers cut into match sticks. Salt them in a bowl to draw out the liquid and firm the texture. Rinse, squeeze out the water and dry in a dish towel. Add one std container of plain sheep yogurt. Two cloves of minced garlic and chopped dill or mint. I prefer dill but mint is more traditional. Sometimes I add olive oil and some feta cheese if it is not salty enough. Stir it together and let it sit for a while. I make it for roast lamb salad but I often just eat it all with a spoon over the sink as soon as it’s ready.

  87. Maple Hill Creamery is sold here at Kroger. Ate some this morning with blueberries.

  88. Full fat raw organic yogurts are available from Miller’s Organic Farm. They sell cow, goat, sheep, and camel yogurts. They ship in a cooler to your house.

  89. I eat Maple Hill Creamery! It’s grass fed and I find it easily on Kroger!

  90. For some reason when I read the section of this article on Yogurtlu Havuc, I remembered a side dish that I used to eat a long time ago (pre-primal) which consisted of fresh grated carrots, raisins and mayonnaise AND HEY now that we have mayonnaise again (thank you Mark) it sounds doable. I may be mistaken but Im pretty sure it was just those 3 ingredients and it was pretty yummy! I think I’ll try it again.

  91. I make kefir yogurt using raw organic A2 cow’s milk; I find it makes a better yogurt than standard raw organic cows’s milk.

  92. I’m lucky in that I can get the full-fat Fage at my local farmer’s market (shout out to YDFM). The last time I looked for full fat yogurt at the grocery store (Publix) there wasn’t one out of at least 20 brands on the shelf, and when I asked a clerk about it he looked at me like I’d asked where they keep the live snakes. Poor kid.

  93. But Gogurt is gluten free!

    Also, to add to your list of ways to make yogurt work for you: try making it yourself and doing it SCD-style – let it ferment for 24 hours, which will remove virtually all the lactose.

  94. I start my day with a bowl of chopped apple with cinnamon, sliced banana and whatever other fruit is in season and top it with Meredith sheep or goat yogurt and Sarah Wilson’s coconutty….delicious
    When visiting the States I rarely eat yogurt as I can’t find any that doesn’t have added ingredients I don’t want to eat. I’d have to make my own if I lived there.

  95. My nursling is intolerant to cow dairy, but thankfully my love of quality dairy is spared in that he’s fine when I eat goat dairy (but not sheep–it’s weird). There aren’t many options for goat yogurt around me–just Redwood Hill and Trader Joes. Sadly they both have thickeners like tapioca, which I don’t have a problem eating in other contexts, but I find strange to be in my yogurt. Lately I’ve been getting the Redwood Hill goat kefir which has a much simpler goat-milk-and-cultures ingredient list. Yogurt or kefir regardless, I love mixing it with chopped banana and nut butter. No sweetener needed!

  96. Years ago I learned to make my own by heating milk, adding starter, and incubating it in jelly jars stowed in a beer cooler. It worked great. I used to swipe Mom’s jam or blueberry syrup to sweeten it until I figured out that I had to mix yoghurt and syrup or jam almost 50/50 to get it to taste anything like storebought yogurt. When I’m tempted to buy flavored yogurt I remember that it’s really half yogurt half jam, and it doesn’t seem so appealing.

  97. There is a local brand made and sold here , Freanna yoghurt. That’s my choice.

  98. Great summary of the yogurt market, however, as the only third-party certified grass-fed yogurt in the US, we’d like to give a caveat to the term “grass-fed”. All dairy cows are “grass fed”, to some extent. Unfortunately, many dairy brands are using this term to describe their milk sourcing, but their cows are not even close to 100% grass-fed. How do we know? We are farmers, and know where other NY state dairy brands are getting their milk. The term “grass-fed” is NOT regulated by the FDA, which oversees dairy labeling in the US, unlike the USDA, which DOES regulate beef claims. Pennsylvania Certified Organic created the FIRST third-party certification for 100% grass-fed organic dairy cows, and we are proud to be the first brand to earn this certification. Shoppers should ask their dairy brands how the term “grass-fed” is regulated and overseen; many brands do not know their farms or milk supply. – Sara Talcott, Maple Hill Creamery

  99. What are your thoughts on Oikos Triple Zero yogurt by Dannon, the nutrition ‘abel reads well but is it a fluke?

  100. Back in the winter I had a supply of powdered baby formula. I know that’s not primal but it was free and at times I found it delicious (I’ve eaten the pure powder a number of times).
    One of the ways I ate it was with Greek yogurt and that was pretty good, especially when I added cocoa. It was kind of like warm chocolate ice cream.
    I also mixed some into coffee sometimes or made stirred cocoa shakes with it, also decent-tasting.

  101. What is the best yogurt to buy per the Primal Blueprint way of living?