Yogurt is a dairy product that is popular all around the world. Made by fermenting, yogurt offers several health benefits. Besides being a highly filling food, yogurt can improve digestive health.
For a long time since the discovery of yogurt, the commonly used type has been regular yogurt. Butrecently, a particular type called Greek yogurt has risen in popularity and has gained more attention among health-conscious people. Both of these types of yogurts provide incredible health benefits, and they are packed with beneficial nutrients. What is the difference between them? That is what this article is up to, setting apart the differences between Greek and regular yogurt. That way, you will easily determine which type suits you best.
Differences In How They’re Made
The common types of fermented or cultured dairy products apart from Greek and regular yogurt include kefir, sour cream, and buttermilk. The fermentation process is all about converting a naturally occurring milk sugar called lactose into lactic acid. This is achieved by adding certain bacteria, also known as starter cultures. The fermentation process applies to both Greek and regular yogurt as they contain the same ingredients, which are fresh milk and starter cultures like Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus. However, there is a huge disparity between their taste. Why?
To start with, fresh milk is heated to the desired degree. This is followed by adding starter cultures and leaving them to settle for fermentation to attain a pH of 4.5. After that, when it has cooled, other ingredients of the manufacturer’s interests like fruits may be added. The final product’s consistency is smooth but with varied thicknesses, and for that reason, some are drinkable while others are eaten with a spoon. Since regular yogurt is more of acidic, it tends to have a sour taste but is sweeter than Greek yogurt.
As per the National Institutes of Health, Greek yogurt is made by extracting whey and other liquids from plain yogurt. It is also called strained or concentrated yogurt. By eliminating such liquids, Greek yogurt has a reduced volume which is compensated for by adding more milk than in plain yogurt to come up with a batch of equal size. In the olden days, the yogurt would be strained in cloth bags up to 3-4 times to achieve the desired texture. Currently, the production of Greek yogurt involves centrifuging it to achieve the same effect. A fortified type which is also called Greek-style yogurt, is produced by adding a few drying ingredients or thickening agents. Greek yogurt has a tangy taste, and a thicker consistency as the most liquid has been removed and more milk has been used. This makes it more expensive than regular yogurt.
There is a huge difference between the nutritional profile of both Greek and regular yogurt. For example, 245 g of regular low-fat yogurt provides 154 calories, 17 g of carbs, 17 g of sugar, 13 g of protein, 4 g of fat, 34% of the daily recommended value (RDV) for calcium, and 7% of the RDV for sodium. On the other hand, the same amount of low-fat Greek yogurt provides 179 calories, 10 g of carbs, 9 g of sugar, 24 gof protein, 5 g of fat, 22% of the RDV for calcium, and 4% of the RDV for sodium. Both yogurts are a great source of key minerals like iodine, magnesium, and vitamin B12.
As you can see, regular yogurt has twice as many carbs and sugars as Greek yogurt, which provides nearly twice as much protein. Regular yogurt also has more calcium and sodium. What brings all these differences? This is simply a result of the concentration or straining process. During this process, whey is eliminated from Greek yogurt, thus removing most of its lactose content. As a result, the overall content of sugar and carbs is lowered. However, protein remains intact during the entire process of straining, giving Greek yogurt much density and more protein content. It is worth mentioning that the comparisons made above have been based on low-fat versions of both Greek and regular yogurt. Therefore, expect more calorie and fat content in products made with whole milk. For example, 245 g of whole milk regular yogurt contains 8 g of fat while 245 g of Greek yogurt made with whole milk provides 12.25 g of fat which is twice their fat content.
Both Greek and Regular Yogurts Have Similar Health Benefits
The fermentation process and addition of healthy bacteria in both Greek and regular yogurt make them possess probiotic properties, and in addition to their rich protein content, they share the same health benefits.
High in Probiotics
Most fermented foods, including yogurt, contains probiotics which are healthy bacteria. Probiotics support and maintain digestive health by increasing the number of good gut bacteria, which may lower your risk of inflammation, indigestion, and other illnesses. Studies suggest that a balanced gut bacteria may help boost your immune system and protect against several diseases, including type 2 diabetes and allergies.
Can Be Used by People with Lactose Intolerance
People who are intolerant to lactose usually experience bloating, diarrhea, and other uncomfortable digestive problems. Fortunately, yogurt is high in probiotics which can help digest lactose so that they can tolerate yogurt. In addition to that, the low lactose content in Greek yogurt makes it more suitable for people with lactose intolerance.
May Support Weight Loss
Regular consumption of yogurt has been tied to reduced body weight and body fat. This is because the probiotics in them increase the number of healthy bacteria in your gut, which may aid in the metabolism of fat and sugar and weight management. Additionally, both Greek and regular yogurt are great sources of protein. Studies suggest that a high protein intake can extend your feelings of fullness, which reduces your calorie intake.
Both Greek and regular yogurt have the same health benefits, including aiding weight loss. However, how they are made, their taste, and their nutritional profile sets them apart. If you are lactose intolerant, you can find yogurt more suitable for you than most dairy products as they contain probiotics that digest lactose.