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Buttermilk vs Yogurt - Health impact and Nutrition Comparison

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Article author photo Jack  Yacoubian by Jack Yacoubian | Last updated on March 21, 2021
Education: Haigazian Medical University
Buttermilk
vs
Yogurt

Summary

Buttermilk has fewer calories and relatively has higher sodium, vitamins A and C. Yogurt is richer in proteins, phosphorus, vitamins B2 and B12, and has a lower glycemic index. They both have similar calcium amounts; however, buttermilk has slightly higher calcium amounts.

Introduction

Buttermilk is a byproduct of milk during butter production. Commercial buttermilk is prepared by pasteurizing fermented milk with bacteria that produce acidic compounds. This gives buttermilk its taste and texture, which is creamy and buttery.

Yogurt is the product of the fermentation and processing of milk. There are 2 types of yogurt: the first type is sweet and often mixed with fruits and sugar. The second type of yogurt is sour and salty, which is directly consumed without processing after fermentation. Yogurt has a wide range of usage in the culinary world. It is often used as plain yogurt, used as a component in cooking, or made dessert.

This text will look into the differences and similarities of buttermilk and yogurt and how they impact our health.

The buttermilk taken into consideration in this article is low-fat buttermilk. The yogurt taken into consideration is non-fat yogurt.

Nutrition

Buttermilk and yogurt are considered among the foods that contain the highest amounts of calcium, among other nutritional elements.

Buttermilk and yogurt are mostly composed of water. In 100g of buttermilk, there is 90g of water, and for 100g of yogurt, there is 85g of water.

Calories

A hundred grams of buttermilk and yogurt have approximately similar caloric profiles. Buttermilk has 40 calories per 100g compared to yogurt, which has 59 calories per 100g. Hence buttermilk has fewer calories than yogurt. However, both are considered low-caloric foods.

Carbs

Buttermilk has more carbohydrates compared to yogurt. Buttermilk has 4.79g of carbs per 100g compared to yogurt, which has 3.6g per 100g. Both of these values are less than 1% of the daily recommended value.

Proteins

Yogurt is richer in proteins compared to buttermilk. Yogurt has 10.19g of proteins per 100g which is 24% of the daily recommended value. In contrast, buttermilk has 3.31g of protein which is 7.8% of the daily recommended value.

Fats

Yogurt has negligible fats; as noted before, we are considering non-fat yogurt in this article. Yet, we can say that it is also negligible. Yogurt has 0.39g of fat which is less than 1% of the daily recommended value. On the other hand, buttermilk has relatively higher fats (0.88g per 100g).

We can conclude that both have negligible amounts of fats.

Glycemic index

Buttermilk and yogurt are classified as low glycemic index foods. Buttermilk’s glycemic index is 31, while yogurt has a glycemic index of 19.

Vitamins

Buttermilk is richer in vitamin C and vitamin A (retinol) compared to yogurt. However, these amounts are not very remarkable relative to the daily recommended values. Yogurt, on the other hand, is richer in vitamin B2 and B12.

Vitamin Comparison

Vitamin comparison score is based on the number of vitamins by which one or the other food is richer. The "coverage" chart below show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of the food
:
6
Yogurt
Contains more Vitamin A +1075%
Contains more Vitamin E +400%
Contains more Vitamin C +∞%
Contains more Vitamin B1 +47.8%
Contains more Vitamin K +∞%
Contains more Vitamin B2 +80.5%
Contains more Vitamin B3 +258.6%
Contains more Vitamin B5 +20.4%
Contains more Vitamin B6 +85.3%
Contains more Folate +40%
Contains more Vitamin B12 +240.9%
Vitamin A Vitamin E Vitamin D Vitamin C Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3 Vitamin B5 Vitamin B6 Folate Vitamin B12 Vitamin K 3% 1% 0% 4% 9% 36% 2% 17% 8% 4% 28% 1%
Vitamin A Vitamin E Vitamin D Vitamin C Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3 Vitamin B5 Vitamin B6 Folate Vitamin B12 Vitamin K 1% 1% 0% 0% 6% 65% 4% 20% 15% 6% 94% 0%
Contains more Vitamin A +1075%
Contains more Vitamin E +400%
Contains more Vitamin C +∞%
Contains more Vitamin B1 +47.8%
Contains more Vitamin K +∞%
Contains more Vitamin B2 +80.5%
Contains more Vitamin B3 +258.6%
Contains more Vitamin B5 +20.4%
Contains more Vitamin B6 +85.3%
Contains more Folate +40%
Contains more Vitamin B12 +240.9%

Minerals

Buttermilk and yogurt are among the foods that are rich in calcium. They have nearly equal amounts of calcium, and both satisfy the daily calcium requirement by 12%. Buttermilk has higher amounts of sodium, which we should take into consideration. In addition to that, yogurt is richer in phosphorus.

Mineral Comparison

Mineral comparison score is based on the number of minerals by which one or the other food is richer. The "coverage" chart below show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of the food
Contains more Iron +40%
Contains more Phosphorus +51.7%
Contains less Sodium -81.1%
Contains more Zinc +23.8%
Contains more Copper +54.5%
Equal in Calcium - 110
Equal in Magnesium - 11
Equal in Potassium - 141
Calcium Iron Magnesium Phosphorus Potassium Sodium Zinc Copper 35% 2% 8% 39% 14% 25% 12% 4%
Calcium Iron Magnesium Phosphorus Potassium Sodium Zinc Copper 33% 3% 8% 58% 13% 5% 15% 6%
Contains more Iron +40%
Contains more Phosphorus +51.7%
Contains less Sodium -81.1%
Contains more Zinc +23.8%
Contains more Copper +54.5%
Equal in Calcium - 110
Equal in Magnesium - 11
Equal in Potassium - 141

Weight loss and diets

Buttermilk and yogurt are considered low caloric and low glycemic foods suitable for a calorie deficit diet.

Vegan

We cannot consume them in vegan diets because they are dairy products.

Lactose intolerance

There is a certain level of lactose consumption that triggers the symptoms of lactose intolerance. However, buttermilk and yogurt have low amounts of carbs. In this case, lactose is below that trigger level. Most lactose-intolerant individuals can consume low amounts of these foods to satisfy their calcium needs and not develop severe deficiencies.

Obesity

Studies have shown a correlation between yogurt consumption and low obesity risk in the female population. (1)

Other studies have shown a correlation between consumption of buttermilk and low cholesterol levels in blood in both male and female populations. (2)

Health impacts

Health benefits

Cardiovascular health

Studies have shown that consumption of buttermilk reduces blood levels of cholesterol, which in turn is associated with lowering risks of cardiovascular diseases and decreasing the risk of heart attacks. (2)

Regular consumption of yogurt in hypertensive patients has been shown to reduce the risks of developing cardiovascular diseases. (3)

Another study has shown that regular consumption of yogurt has decreased mortality rates from cardiovascular diseases. (4)

Diabetes

The following study shows a direct relationship between the reduction of developing type 2 diabetes and dairy consumption. However, this is dose-dependent, meaning that moderate amounts have to be consumed without adding added sugars and syrups. (5)

Yogurt is considered a probiotic, keeping the normal gut microflora healthy and active, thus, regulating blood glucose levels. This, in turn, helps decrease the risk of type 2 diabetes. (6)

Cancer

The following study shows the effects of consumption of buttermilk on colon cancer cells in vitro. It was observed that buttermilk has an antiproliferative effect on cancer cells. The antiproliferative effect is the halting of cell division. (7)

Another study sheds light on the antiproliferative effect of buttermilk when it is used as a food additive instead of other harmful additives that are commonly used to preserve food for longer durations. (8)

Yogurt consumption has been shown to reduce risks of breast, colorectal, gastric, and bladder cancer. (9)

Another study focuses on the effects of yogurt and its reduction of risks in developing cancer of the upper aerodigestive tracts (UADT). (10)

Downsides & Risks

Diabetes

Studies show that consumption of full-fat dairy products is directly associated with developing pre-diabetes, which in turn, if not controlled, leads to the development of type 2 diabetes. (11)

Cancer

High diets in calcium have been shown to increase the risks of prostate cancer. (9)

References

  1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27228702/
  2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23786821/
  3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29462263/
  4. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31968071/
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3719038/
  6. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28615384/
  7. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27472445/
  8. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27374586/
  9. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22081693/
  10. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22179690/
  11. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29498341/
Article author photo Jack  Yacoubian
Education: Haigazian Medical University
Last updated: March 21, 2021

Infographic

Buttermilk vs Yogurt infographic
Infographic link

Comparison summary table

Pay attention to the most right column. It shows the amounts side by side, making it easier to realize the amount of difference.
Buttermilk Yogurt
Lower in Sugar ok
Lower in Sodium ok
Lower in Saturated Fat ok
Lower in glycemic index ok
Lower in Cholesterol ok
Lower in price ok
Rich in minerals Equal
Rich in vitamins Equal

All nutrients comparison - raw data values

Nutrient Buttermilk Yogurt Opinion
Net carbs 4.79g 3.6g Buttermilk
Protein 3.31g 10.19g Yogurt
Fats 0.88g 0.39g Buttermilk
Carbs 4.79g 3.6g Buttermilk
Calories 40kcal 59kcal Yogurt
Starch g g
Fructose g 0g Yogurt
Sugar 4.79g 3.24g Yogurt
Fiber 0g 0g
Calcium 116mg 110mg Buttermilk
Iron 0.05mg 0.07mg Yogurt
Magnesium 11mg 11mg
Phosphorus 89mg 135mg Yogurt
Potassium 151mg 141mg Buttermilk
Sodium 190mg 36mg Yogurt
Zinc 0.42mg 0.52mg Yogurt
Copper 0.011mg 0.017mg Yogurt
Vitamin A 47IU 4IU Buttermilk
Vitamin E 0.05mg 0.01mg Buttermilk
Vitamin D 1IU 0IU Buttermilk
Vitamin D 0µg 0µg
Vitamin C 1mg 0mg Buttermilk
Vitamin B1 0.034mg 0.023mg Buttermilk
Vitamin B2 0.154mg 0.278mg Yogurt
Vitamin B3 0.058mg 0.208mg Yogurt
Vitamin B5 0.275mg 0.331mg Yogurt
Vitamin B6 0.034mg 0.063mg Yogurt
Folate 5µg 7µg Yogurt
Vitamin B12 0.22µg 0.75µg Yogurt
Vitamin K 0.1µg 0µg Buttermilk
Tryptophan 0.042mg mg Buttermilk
Threonine 0.141mg mg Buttermilk
Isoleucine 0.171mg mg Buttermilk
Leucine 0.313mg mg Buttermilk
Lysine 0.277mg mg Buttermilk
Methionine 0.087mg mg Buttermilk
Phenylalanine 0.171mg mg Buttermilk
Valine 0.217mg mg Buttermilk
Histidine 0.1mg mg Buttermilk
Cholesterol 4mg 5mg Buttermilk
Trans Fat g 0.006g Buttermilk
Saturated Fat 0.548g 0.117g Yogurt
Monounsaturated Fat 0.254g 0.053g Buttermilk
Polyunsaturated fat 0.033g 0.012g Buttermilk

Which food is preferable for your diet?

ok
ok
is better in case of low diet
Buttermilk Yogurt
Low Fats diet ok
Low Carbs diet ok
Low Calories diet ok
Low glycemic index diet ok

People also compare

Vitamin and Mineral Summary Scores

The summary score is calculated by summing up the daily values contained in 300 grams of the product. Obviously the more the food fulfills human daily needs, the more the summary score is.
Vitamin Summary Score
9
Buttermilk
17
Yogurt
Mineral Summary Score
17
Buttermilk
17
Yogurt

Macronutrients Comparison

Macronutrient comparison charts compare the amount of protein, total fats, and total carbohydrates in 300 grams of the food. The displayed values show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of food.
Protein
20%
Buttermilk
61%
Yogurt
Carbohydrates
5%
Buttermilk
4%
Yogurt
Fats
4%
Buttermilk
2%
Yogurt

Comparison summary

Which food is lower in Sugar?
Yogurt
Yogurt is lower in Sugar (difference - 1.55g)
Which food contains less Sodium?
Yogurt
Yogurt contains less Sodium (difference - 154mg)
Which food is lower in Saturated Fat?
Yogurt
Yogurt is lower in Saturated Fat (difference - 0.431g)
Which food is lower in glycemic index?
Yogurt
Yogurt is lower in glycemic index (difference - 19)
Which food is lower in Cholesterol?
Buttermilk
Buttermilk is lower in Cholesterol (difference - 1mg)
Which food is cheaper?
Buttermilk
Buttermilk is cheaper (difference - $0.6)
Which food is richer in minerals?
?
It cannot be stated which food is richer in vitamins. See the charts below for detailed information. See the charts below for detailed information. See the charts below for detailed information.
Which food is richer in vitamins?
?
It cannot be stated which food is richer in vitamins. See the charts below for detailed information. See the charts below for detailed information. See the charts below for detailed information.

References

The source of all the nutrient values on the page (excluding the main article the sources for which are presented separately if present) is the USDA's FoodCentral. The exact links to the foods presented on this page can be found below.

  1. Buttermilk - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/170874/nutrients
  2. Yogurt - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/170894/nutrients

All the Daily Values are presented for males aged 31-50, for 2000 calorie diets.

Data provided by FoodStruct.com should be considered and used as information only. Please consult your physician before beginning any diet.