Want to know the difference between Greek yogurt vs regular? This article looks at the different ways they are produced and the best ways to use them in your recipes
Over the past few years it seems that Greek yogurt has become more and more popular - you hear about it all the time!
But have you ever wondered what the difference is between Greek yogurt vs. regular yogurt?
Both Greek yogurt and regular yogurt go through a fermentation process in which lactose (naturally occurring sugars) is converted into lactic acid, with the help of bacteria referred to as a 'starter culture'.
Both Greek and regular yogurts have the same primary ingredients and starter cultures, but the way they are made is different. This also affects their nutriental content.
Regular yogurt is crafted by heating fresh milk and adding starter cultures, leaving it to ferment until its acidity reaches a pH of approximately 4.5.
Plain, regular yogurt has a somewhat sour taste and has quite a smooth texture. Fruit and other sweeteners can be added for flavor.
Producing Greek yogurt involves straining plain yogurt
Greek yogurt is sometimes referred to as strained yogurt, because the whey and other liquids are eliminated.
Due to this elimination, a greater volume of fresh milk is needed to yield the same amount og Greek yogurt as regular yogurt.
Greek yogurt was traditionally strained through cloths for a total of three times, until its thick texture had been achieved. Modern day processes uses centrifuges instead.
That being said, some manufacturers use thickening agents, so the yogurt created is not a true Greek yogurt and is called fortified or Greek-style yogurt.
Greek yogurt is much thicker than regular yogurt and has more of a tang to it.
Why yogurt is good for you
Both low fat Greek and regular yogurts offer a range of nutrients. They are great sources of magnesium, vitamin B12 and iodine.
Whilst Greek yogurt has a higher calorie content compared to regular yogurt, it actually has less carbs, sugar and sodium. On the other hand, it has a far greater amount of protein due to the greater amounts of milk needed to make it.
Despite this, Greek yogurt has a lower calcium content than regular yogurt, because the removal of the whey reduces its overall lactose content.
The starter cultures used in the fermentation process for both types of yogurts are considered to be friendly bacteria which help with your digestive health by keeping harmony within your gut microbiome.
Having a good balance in your gut microbiome helps to keep your immune system functioning and helps protects against allergens, diarrhoea, depression and type 2 diabetes.
Typically, people who suffer with lactose intolerance cannot eat dairy products as they create discomfort and digestive problems. They may, however, be able to eat either Greek or regular yogurt because of the probiotics they contain. Greek yogurt is the best choice as it has a lower overall lactose content.
Using yogurt in your recipes
Both types of yogurt can be used in the kitchen.
Because of the thickness of Greek yogurt, it is better suited for dips, sauces and baked goods. It is also an excellent substitute for mayo, sour cream and buttermilk - however, do bear in mind that it can curdle when exposed to high temperatures. If you're using Greek yogurt in a sauce, don't stir it in until the end of the cooking time.
In summary, both regular and Greek yogurts can be enjoyed as a part of most diets and offer great nutritional value. We always recommend opting for plain yogurts and adding your own sweeteners like honey and fruit, as sweetened yogurts can be packed full of sugar!