Greek yogurt is an excellent addition to your daily meal plan if you’re trying to lose weight. This nutritious dairy food is not only packed with essential nutrients, but eating it can help you control your overall calorie intake for effective weight loss. However, simply adding Greek yogurt to your diet isn’t a guarantee you’ll lose weight. Avoid high-calorie, fruit-flavored Greek yogurt varieties with lots of added sugar.
When trying to lose weight, choosing plain Greek yogurt over fruit-flavored yogurt helps keep your overall calorie intake low. For example, a 6-ounce container of plain, Greek yogurt contains just 100 calories, while 6 ounces of pineapple-flavored Greek yogurt has about 158 calories. To effectively lose weight at a safe pace of 1 to 2 pounds weekly, you must burn about 500 to 1,000 calories more than you eat daily.
Greek yogurt, especially plain Greek yogurt, is rich in dietary protein -- which is beneficial when you’re trying to lose weight. A 6-ounce container of plain Greek yogurt provides about 17 grams of dietary protein, compared with 9 grams of protein in 6 ounces of regular plain, low-fat yogurt. Protein increases satiety and helps your body burn extra calories, according to a 2009 study published in “The Journal of Nutrition.”
Eating Greek yogurt during periods of calorie restriction not only enhances weight loss, but it can also help you burn unwanted body fat. According to a 2011 study published in “The Journal of Nutrition,” higher protein and dairy intakes lead to greater fat losses and muscle gains. A 2012 review published in the “International Journal of Obesity” found that high-dairy, energy-restricted diets reduce body weight, body fat and waist circumference more than general weight-loss diets.
The amount of Greek yogurt you should eat daily to lose weight depends on your weight-loss calorie needs. The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute suggests many adults aim for 1,200 to 1,600 calories daily for effective weight loss -- men often require more calories than women. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010 recommend getting 2.5 cups of dairy foods daily when eating 1,200 to 1,400 calories per day, and consuming 3 cups from the dairy group when eating 1,600 calories, or more, daily.