Greek yogurt vs. regular yogurt: Which one is better for you?

It wasn't that long ago — just back in 2005, in fact — that Greek yogurt began its ascent from being a relatively unknown product, to yogurt stardom (via ABC). Between 2007 and 2013, Greek yogurt sales rose sharply, from 1 percent to a whopping 44 percent of the yogurt market. And its popularity has not even started to wane. But is the hype warranted? How does Greek yogurt compare to its old-fashioned cousin, regular yogurt?

Both regular and Greek yogurts are packed with nutrients and can be part of a healthy diet. But in a side-by-side comparison, nutritionists agree that Greek yogurt has the upper hand. In equal-sized servings, Greek yogurt contains roughly half as many carbs and sugar as regular yogurt, but almost twice as much protein (via Healthline). That's the kind of news that makes nutritionists dance. For example, an 8-ounce serving of regular, low-fat yogurt has 17 grams each of carbs and sugar, and 13 grams of protein. An 8-ounce serving of low-fat Greek yogurt packs 10 grams of carbs, 9 grams of sugar, and an incredible 24 grams of protein. Both also provide substantial amounts of calcium, vitamin B12, iodine, and, being fermented dairy products, plenty of gut-supporting probiotics.

Choose varieties with little or no added sugar

For those who are lactose-intolerant, Greek yogurt may be easier to tolerate than regular yogurt. The process of making Greek yogurt involves straining out much of the liquid, whey, and lactose (milk sugar), leaving the familiar thick, tangy, and less-sweet yogurt. The smaller amounts of lactose, combined with the live bacterial cultures which can help break it down, means that Greek yogurt may be a real option for those who normally can't stomach dairy products.

To get the optimum health benefit from yogurt, either Greek or regular, choose plain or low-sugar varieties. "Both types of yogurt can contain high amounts of carbs if they're sweetened with sugar or another sweetening agent," says Kari Hartel, a Missouri-based registered dietitian (via US News & World Report). "No matter which type you choose, opt for yogurt with less added sugar." Rather than choose a sweetened yogurt (some have as much as 24 grams of added sugar in a 6-ounce container, according to MyNetDairy), choose plain yogurt and sweeten it yourself with a drizzle of honey, some fruit, or a handful of granola.