Both Greek and regular yogurt are nutrient rich and offer several health benefits, however there are differences. Greek yogurt is becoming increasingly popular as a weight loss option and as a post-work out meal.
This article explains what makes Greek yogurt different from its traditional counterpart.
Greek Yogurt vs. Regular Yogurt: synthesis
Both Greek and regular yogurt are fermented dairy products as are sour cream, buttermilk, and kefir.
Fermented dairy products are produced by converting the natural milk sugar lactose into lactic acid with the help of certain bacteria, also called starter cultures.
Furthermore, both regular and Greek yogurt are made with the same main ingredients, fresh milk and Streptococcus thermophilus and Lactobacillus bulgaricus as starter cultures.
Despite these similarities, both the yogurts differ in taste and nutrients. These differences arise due to some other changes in their making process.
Regular yogurt is made by adding bacteria to lukewarm milk, and leaving it to ferment until it reaches an acidic pH of around 4.5.
The final product has a smooth consistency but may vary slightly in thickness. The thickness depends on the type of milk used and time duration. Full fat milk produces very thick yogurt which is difficult to drink. It is ideally eaten by a spoon. If the time duration is longer for yogurt making, then also yogurt will be more thick and sour.
Due to its acidic nature, plain yogurt tastes slightly sour. Still, it’s more sweet than Greek yogurt.
Greek yogurt is also known as concentrated or strained yogurt. The name is so because it is made by eliminating whey and other liquids from regular yogurt.
The straining process reduces the total volume of yogurt. This is why Greek yogurt takes quite more milk than regular yogurt to make a batch of same size.
Traditionally, cloth bags are used to strain the yogurt up to three times until it reaches the desired texture. Modern production uses centrifuges to achieve the same results.
Some companies use thickening agents or other dry ingredients for these same effects. In that case, the final product is referred to as fortified or Greek-style yogurt.
Because a good volume of liquid gets removed, Greek yogurt is much thicker and tangier than regular yogurt. It’s also more expensive since it takes more milk and the production involves the extra work of straining.
Greek Yogurt vs. Regular Yogurt: Nutrition
Regular and Greek yogurt have very different nutritional profiles. The following table compares 8 ounces (245 grams) of each type.
|Regular yogurt (low fat)||Greek yogurt (low fat)|
|Carbs||17 gm||10 gm|
|Sugar||17 gm||9 gm|
|Protein||13 gm||24 gm|
|Fat||4 gm||5 gm|
|Calcium||34% of Daily Value (DV)||22% of DV|
|Sodium||7% of DV||4% of DV|
Both yogurts are also a good source of magnesium, vitamin B12, and iodine.
As written in table, Greek yogurt contains twice more protein than regular yogurt and about half the carbs and sugar. It also contains less calcium and sodium.
These differences arise due to straining in case of Greek yogurt.
Eliminating whey from Greek yogurt removes some of the milk sugar lactose. This reduces the overall carb and sugar content. Protein remains intact during the straining process. This is why Greek yogurt contains much more protein.
Similar Health Benefits
Greek and regular yogurt share numerous health benefits due to their probiotics and protein.
Greek Yogurt vs. Regular Yogurt: probiotics
Probiotics are friendly bacteria present in fermented foods like yogurt.
They improve digestive health by balancing the gut microbiome, the friendly bacteria in your digestive system. This reduces your risk of inflammation and various illnesses.
Several studies suggest that a balanced gut microbiome improves immunity and protects against allergies, diarrhea, depression, and type 2 diabetes.
Suitable for people with lactose intolerance
People with lactose intolerance experience uncomfortable digestive symptoms, including bloating and diarrhea, upon eating dairy products. Because their digestive system is deficient in enzyme lactase which digests lactose sugar.
However, these people may tolerate yogurt because its probiotics support the digestion of lactose.
Greek yogurt is even better for people with lactose intolerance as it has naturally low lactose amount.
May protect heart health
Fermented dairy intake is linked to a lower risk of plaque buildup and artery stiffness. Both of these factors are linked to high blood pressure.
A study in 73,882 individuals with high blood pressure concluded that eating 2 or more servings of yogurt per week was found to be associated with a 21% less risk of stroke in men and 17% in women, compared with those who ate less than 1 serving per month.
A similar study involving 1,981 healthy men with high intakes of fermented dairy products had a 27% less risk of heart disease than those with lower intakes. The study also found that the non-fermented dairy products were associated with a greater risk.
Probiotics may also help lower cholesterol levels by inhibiting certain enzymes.
A study involving 60 people with type 2 diabetes showed that a daily intake of 10.5 ounces (300 gm) of yogurt with live cultures caused a 4.5% and 7.5% decrease in total and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels, respectively, compared with a control group.
Greek Yogurt vs. Regular Yogurt: weight loss
Research has frequently linked yogurt to less body weight, body fat, and weight gain.
The probiotics boost the proportion of healthy bacteria in your gut, which may play part in weight management, fat distribution, sugar and fat metabolism.
Both regular and Greek yogurt are excellent sources of protein, while Greek yogurt is a step ahead, containing twice more protein than regular yogurt.
Protein rich foods are the best for weight loss, as they are very filling. The satiety helps to prevent overeating.
Furthermore, Protein rich foods combined with strength training ensure that you don’t get loose skin after weight loss.
One small study involving 15 healthy women found that a Greek yogurt snack containing 24 gm of protein reduced hunger and delayed the timing and amount of subsequent meal, compared with a low protein snack.
One must ensure to avoid the added sugar or flavorings as they will highly raise the calories.
Greek Yogurt vs. Regular Yogurt: Kitchen Uses
Both regular and Greek yogurt are equally versatile. Both can be enjoyed alone but are used differently in recipes, as they differ in consistency and flavor.
Considering the thickness, Greek yogurt is a common ingredient in dips and sauces.
Additionally, you can use it to replace mayonnaise, sour cream and buttermilk in most recipes. The texture of Greek yogurt also makes it ideal for baking, especially if you prefer a moist and dense texture.
In contrast, regular yogurt is more commonly used in smoothies and dressings. In case of smoothies, Greek yogurt can also be used.
Which type to choose?
If you’re particularly looking to boost your protein intake, Greek yogurt is ideal. This is more functional if you are trying weight loss. Greek yogurt is excellent as a post-work out snack. for Regular low fat yogurt is good for anyone looking to keep their calorie and protein intake in check.
As both are healthy, you should choose the one that fits your dietary needs.
Both Greek and regular yogurt are made from the same ingredients but differ in nutrients due to differences in making. Greek yogurt contains twice more protein than the regular one. Both types pack probiotics and support digestion, weight loss and heart health.
Both are healthy and you can opt for any depending on your needs.