I Ate Yogurt Every Day for a Week—Here’s What Happened

Updated: Jun. 10, 2024

With a Cleveland Clinic expert's help, a lactose-sensitive health editor discovered a few favorite things about the daily dairy fix that's not off-limits for her.

I love the thought of a mindful morning—but I suspect like a lot of folks who work from home, my days still start in a rush. Summer calls for a breakfast that’s quick, energizing and filling, but not steamy…mornings are already pretty warm where I live.

That ruled out oatmeal. And, as much as I love a good protein smoothie, I don’t think my downstairs neighbor loves the sound of my blender at 6 a.m.

I recently learned that Greek yogurt is considered a “perfect protein,” which means it’s one of the few foods that contain all nine essential amino acids. Most yogurt products are known for their protein content, but the difference is that Greek yogurt is made by straining regular yogurt to remove extra liquid and whey. This results in a denser and creamier yogurt that’s low in sugar and has a higher protein and probiotics concentration resulting from the natural fermentation process. This sends healthy bacteria into the belly to help optimize the gut.

It’s for these reasons Greek yogurt has so many benefits. According to research, such as one 2015 microbiology study, Greek yogurt has been found to aid digestion, boost immunity, improve bone strength and heart health, possibly lower diabetes risk and even potentially lower risk of urinary tract infection.

Ahead, a Cleveland Clinic nutritionist helped me understand what I experienced during my week-long experiment to find which of the health benefits of Greek yogurt I’d discover for myself.

Get The Healthy by Reader’s Digest newsletter

Eating greek yogurt every day

Cropped Shot Of an anonymous Woman Shopping In The Dairy Section Of A Supermarket. She Is Reading The Nutrition Label On A Container Of yogurtd3sign/Getty Images

I quickly discovered that what I love most about Greek yogurt is its versatility. I’ve always considered myself a texture-focused eater who needs a forkful of different mouthfeels, whether I’m eating a salad with crunchy lettuce and soft goat cheese or a creamy soup with croutons. I found that Greek yogurt is a perfect conduit for a variety of healthy toppings—or a condiment itself. The low sugar content across brands of Greek yogurt also made it simple to narrow down the brand I chose: I went for the cheapest in the chilled dairy case.

Most days I opted for the classic breakfast approach, sprinkling some Heritage Flakes, berries, peanut butter and honey on top of my Greek yogurt, sometimes adding some pomegranate seeds if I was feeling adventurous. 

However, Greek yogurt also made its way into my lunches and dinners as a delicious and healthy sour cream substitute. I dolloped it onto tacos, swirled it into a bowl of chili, and added it to the batter of a baked good to bring creaminess to the dish.

Roasting a sweet potato for 50 minutes at 425 degrees Fahrenheit and finishing it off with a bit of salted butter and a scoop of Greek yogurt got me through a couple sleepy afternoons when I felt my energy dipping.

Greek yogurt affected my appetite

dairyAnna Efetova/Getty Images

The first thing I noticed after eating Greek yogurt was how full it made me and how long that fullness lasted. I typically pick at light snacks throughout the day instead of eating full-sized meals, and while this is a healthy approach to dieting in some respects, it can often leave me unsatisfied. But when I started incorporating Greek yogurt into my diet, it was immediately apparent what a difference it made. I could eat a bowl at 7 a.m. and feel undistracted to snack until well into the afternoon. 

According to Beth Czerwony, MS, RD, CSOWM, LD, a Clinical Registered Dietitian with the Cleveland Clinic since 2007, that’s because of the protein content. “Protein takes longer to digest than carbohydrates, so often higher protein options do end up helping with sustained satiety,” Czerwony explains. “Taking longer to digest allows the calories to be distributed with a slower release, allowing for a more subtle increase in blood sugar versus something that would provide a quick release that would cause a spike and then drop in glucose levels.”

Greek yogurt affected my energy and mood

Along with that long-acting full feeling came a noticeable energy boost. Fueling my body with something packed with protein accompanied by that gradual blood sugar increase helped prevent a mid-day “crash,” so my energy felt consistent throughout the day. Greek yogurt is also a good source of vitamins A, B12, and magnesium, all of which can contribute to higher energy levels. 

Alongside a lift in energy, I noticed a lift in mood. Czerwony says that could just be because being fuller makes me happier—OK, fair point—but she adds that there is also some science at work here: “Some studies do endorse a mood-boosting side effect since yogurt does increase serotonin, which is the ‘feel-good’ neurotransmitter,” Czerwony says. That aligns with consistent research that’s found probiotics can improve mental health states.

Greek yogurt impacted my digestion

My system tends to be a little sensitive to dairy, and I sometimes experience constipation or other issues when I’ve had a little too much ice cream or a latte with whole milk. So at first I had to ease in to eating Greek yogurt every day—a full stomach and enhanced energy wouldn’t do much good if I were constantly running to the bathroom (nor would that put me in a very good mood).

I found Greek yogurt actually aided my digestion, helping keep my bowel movements regular throughout the week, without a single instance of bloating. Czerwony says the probiotics in Greek yogurt can “positively affect your gut health and regulate your GI tract,” populating the gut with good microbes that neutralize the harmful ones and thereby help us break down our food properly.

There’s also a good reason that Greek yogurt didn’t trigger my typical lactose sensitivity. According to U.S. Dairy, the straining process that is unique to Greek yogurt means it has less lactose than regular yogurt or other dairy products. The live and active probiotic culture in Greek yogurt also helps break down the lactose it contains, making it easier to digest.

So, if you’re looking for a little more energy and satisfaction in your day, my seven days eating Greek yogurt are evidence it’s worth a try, even if you have this same dietary restriction.