Ask the Diva: What’s in That Liquid on Top of the Yogurt?

Should you pour off the liquid that sits on top of yogurt, or are you pouring nutrients down the drain? Nutrition Diva explains

Monica Reinagel, MS, LD/N, CNS
1-minute read

Q. When you open a container of yogurt, sometimes there is some clear liquid sitting on top. What is that? Does it mean that the yogurt has gone bad? Should I pour it off or am I pouring nutrients down the sink?

A. There’s nothing wrong with your yogurt! The clear liquid that sometimes separates out is whey. You can either stir it back into your yogurt or pour it off.  If you drain it off, you’ll end up with slightly thicker yogurt. In fact, that’s exactly how Greek yogurt is made—by straining off some of the whey.

When you pour off the whey, most of the protein stays behind in the yogurt solids. However, you will be pouring some of the calcium down the drain. If that seems too wasteful, you could always save the whey to use in a smoothie or use it to cook hot cereal.

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How Much Protein Is in Whey?
What Happens to Milk When You Make Yogurt?
Benefits of Fermented and Cultured Foods

Yogurt Cup photo from Shutterstock.

About the Author

Monica Reinagel, MS, LD/N, CNS

Monica Reinagel is a board-certified licensed nutritionist, author, and the creator of one of iTunes' most highly ranked health and fitness podcasts. Her advice is regularly featured on the TODAY show, Dr. Oz, NPR, and in the nation's leading newspapers, magazines, and websites. Do you have a nutrition question? Call the Nutrition Diva listener line at 443-961-6206. Your question could be featured on the show.