If you are a food enthusiast then you might have come across the term Greek yogurt in recent years.
Like regular yogurt, Greek yogurt is also a fermented dairy product.
However, there are few differences between these two types of yogurt when it comes to health and nutrition
One thing to be said about regular yogurt is that it didn’t age well in modern times.
Additionally, sugar and salts are too high to be considered healthy, especially by weight watchers.
Subsequently, this has resulted in the downfall of regular yogurt. In developed countries, regular yogurt has almost been replaced everywhere in the U.S, but they are still common in the developing world.
How Regular Yogurt is made?
The recipe for regular yogurt had been passed down from generation to generation.
The basic formula includes warming up the milk, adding bacterial culture and putting it in warm place to ferment. After a certain time it will reach the targeted pH of 4.7 indicated that the yogurt is ready.
Additionally, the manufacturers add fruits or other flavors in yogurt when it cools down.
It is still very much beloved in some food products, like Asian and Arabic cuisines.
There was once a time when Greek yogurt was considered an exotic food. Now with more and more research, the trends have shifted.
It is generally recommended by dieticians. They believe that non-fat or low-fat Greek yogurt is healthier than the regular ones.
One more fact about its popularity is that people prefer this thicker and creamier yogurt more. However, this yogurt is tangier and sharper in taste and might be hard to adopt for some people.
How is Greek Yogurt Made?
Regular yogurt is required to make the Greek version. The process involves straining and concentration of yogurt by the elimination of whey.
In traditional and small scale production, a plain cheesecloth can be used for straining. The yogurt is strained at least three times depending upon the desired consistency.
Large scale companies use the centrifugation method to separate whey and obtain the desired components. Thickening agents and other dry components might be used to make Greek style yogurt in some cases.
As this version is made by straining the regular one, more milk is used in its production to add volume in it.
The usage of more milk results in a higher price of this product.
Finally, this yogurt could be higher in fat even if you boast about its high protein content. So if you are going to buy it, opt for the non-fat or low-fat version.
What is the difference between Yogurt and Greek Yogurt?
Yogurt has been a part of the diet for centuries. Greek yogurt has been around for some time. It was only recently the diet consciousness and healthy eating trend have made Greek yogurt common.
The basic recipe for both yogurts is the same. It is formed when bacteria ferment milk at certain conditions. Bacterial culture of Streptococcus thermophilus and Lactobacillus bulgaricus is what starts the fermentation process. They convert lactose in milk to lactic acid.
Yogurt is good for health regardless of variety as they play a role in healthy gut microflora and have many other benefits.
So what makes Greek Yogurt Different?
The differences start when it comes to nutritional profile and physical properties.
Regular yogurt contains whey which makes it thinner while Greek yogurt is thicker and creamier as whey is strained in processing. The regular one is also less sour.
In addition to this, protein content is greater in strained variety. This could be credited to the fact that more milk is used in making Greek variety. Some argue that removing whey makes solid content more readily available.
Moreover, the carbs content is also lower in high protein yogurt due to which it becomes a favorite of people who are on a low carb diet.
Sodium content is lower in strained variety, however, calcium content is less. This is because when yogurt is strained, calcium in the watery portion also drains.
Yet it can provide a decent amount of calcium. Regular one 30% of daily recommended calcium amount while the Greek one gives 20%.
The nutrient comparison between the regular and Greek version was given by the USDA.
This table shows the nutrient difference between 100g of regular and Greek variety.
Health Benefits of Yogurt
Probiotics are friendly and beneficial bacteria. They are good for gut health. These bacteria may improve digestion and lower the risk of certain digestive disease like diarrhea and bloating
Some studies also suggest that probiotic plays an important role in immunity and preventing cancer.
Yogurt is a good source of probiotics. However, commercially prepared yogurts are mostly pasteurized which kills the bacteria. Some brands add probiotics in these cases.
If you are planning to add probiotics in the diet than you should check the labels for yogurt that contains probiotics in them.
Yogurt may possibly lower the chances of heart disease and the factor for heart diseases like cholesterol and blood pressure
One of the studies suggests that people who consumed more yogurt had lower chances of stroke. The risk lowered 21% in men and 17% in women.
Another study shows that those less fermented products have higher chances of heart diseases.
There is a chance that with the improvement of gut health, yogurt can aid in digestion too.
When the digestion is improved it will affect metabolism which will help in weight loss. Yogurt is also rich in protein and eating proteins can help feel full for a long time. Staying full helps in avoiding unnecessary cravings.
The sugar in milk is called lactose. Lactose is a complex carbohydrate. For its digestion, it needs to be broken down into simpler by a certain enzyme (lactase) in the body.
In the case of lactose intolerance, however, the body lacks a lactase enzyme that breaks down lactose into simpler sugars.
The result is bloating, cramps, nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting depend on how intolerant a person is.
Yogurt contains a lesser amount of lactose than milk. Also, the probiotics in yogurt may help in lactose digestion. So people who are tolerant may fulfill their calcium intake with them.
The lactose amount is even lower in Greek yogurt mainly because of the straining process.
However, if you are intolerant, start with a small amount of yogurt and see if it is suitable for your health.
The difference is very insignificant between both varieties. It would be unwise to say that one variety is superior to others.
Both yogurts are good when it comes to health benefits.
Depending upon your goal or resources you can choose the one that is suitable for you.