Yogurt is delicious and can form part of a healthy diet provided that you choose the low-fat variety of it.
But, not all yogurt found in grocery store fridges is made in the same way. There are important things to know about yogurt, such as when it comes to deciding between Greek yogurt or regular yogurt.
What, exactly, is yogurt?
Yogurt is made by fermenting milk. The milk is heated and mixed with live bacteria called lactobacillus bulgaricus and streptococcus thermophilus. These are good bacteria that benefit your gut by keeping it healthy.
If you want to start adding more yogurt to your diet, you should choose the healthiest one. Is Greek yogurt better than regular yogurt?
We’ve got the lowdown on which yogurt to put into your trolley the next time you buy groceries.
What Is Greek Yogurt?
Greek yogurt is made by removing liquids and whey from regular yogurt.
It undergoes a straining process that reduces its volume, which means that it requires more milk than other types of yogurt to get the same quantity of it.
Greek yogurt is usually more expensive to purchase than regular yogurt as a result of how it needs more milk.
Greek yogurt is strained with cloth bags until it gets a creamy, thick texture. It’s thicker and creamier than regular yogurt, mainly because its whey gets eliminated.
Whey is what gives milk its watery consistency, so by removing it Greek yogurt ends up being denser and thicker than other yogurt.
What Is Regular Yogurt?
To make regular yogurt, milk is heated and then good bacteria is added to it so that it ferments.
When it cools down, ingredients like fruit can be added to it. Regular yogurt has a smooth, thin consistency, although you can find some yogurt that has a thicker consistency.
Plain yogurt tends to taste a bit sour, but it’s usually a bit sweeter than Greek yogurt, which is tangier in flavor.
Greek Yogurt vs Regular Yogurt: What Are The Similarities?
It’s worth noting that both types of yogurt have many of the same health benefits.
- Being high in probiotics, which balance your gut bacteria and reduce inflammation. Probiotics have also been linked to successful weight management. Basically, probiotics are produced during the fermentation process of making yogurt from milk and they are live bacteria which nourish the gut.
- Being suitable for healthy recipes. Both types of yogurt can be used in a variety of foods and recipes, such as those containing granola, fruit, and nuts. You can eat Greek and plain yogurt in smoothies, with fruit, or in dips.
- Being good sources of protein. Although Greek yogurt contains more protein than regular yogurt, both types of yogurt are a great choice for adding more protein to your diet.
Which Yogurt Is Healthier?
If you’re worried that you’re not consuming healthy yogurt or that the yogurt you buy from the supermarket is high in calories, here’s what to know about the nutritional differences of Greek yogurt vs regular yogurt.
What makes Greek yogurt healthy:
In a comparison of low-fat Greek vs low-fat regular yogurt, Greek yogurt was found to have a slightly higher number of calories, but it contains roughly half of the sugar and carbs you’ll find in regular yogurt.
Greek yogurt usually has around five to eight grams of sugar compared to approximately 12 grams that you’ll find in regular yogurt. Despite this, it still packs a punch when it comes to its minerals and vitamins.
It also has almost double the amount of protein, which makes it healthy.
When it comes to reducing your sodium content, Greek yogurt is your best bet. This is because an eight-ounce serving of 2% Greek yogurt contains 75 mg of sodium as compared to an eight-ounce serving of low-fat yogurt that contains 170 mg of sodium.
What makes regular yogurt healthy:
By comparison, regular yogurt has more calcium than what you’ll find in Greek yogurt. Regular yogurt gives you a whopping 40 percent of your recommended daily allowance of this important nutrient.
An eight-ounce serving of regular yogurt has 400 mg of calcium as compared to an eight-ounce serving of 2% Greek yogurt, which has 150 mg of calcium.
Which Yogurt Has Lower Amounts Of Fat?
When it comes to the fat content of yogurt, it’s interesting to note that non-fat yogurt is always the healthiest choice – whether you choose Greek or regular yogurt.
They both have less than one gram of fat and they’re made with skim milk.
If you want full-fat yogurt, your best bet to reduce your fat intake is to choose regular yogurt.
One serving of regular yogurt will contain eight grams of fat, five of which are saturated fats, while Greek yogurt will have 10 grams of fat, seven of which are saturated.
Is Greek Yogurt Bad For The Environment?
One of the things that make people concerned about the production of Greek yogurt is that the whey which is removed during the straining process can be sold to farmers, where it’s used as fertilizer or livestock feed but there’s been such an increase in Greek yogurt production that a lot of whey goes to waste.
Whey can be toxic to the environment.
If it’s poured in one spot on the ground, it produces a subsoil layer of fat which prevents plants from growing, which in turn prevents cows from being able to eat the plants to produce milk.
However, scientists are trying to find new ways to use leftover whey. For example, some researchers are experimenting with turning waste whey from Greek yogurt into energy.
Which Yogurt Should You Choose?
If you’re not sure if you should buy regular or Greek yogurt at the grocery store, it’s good to know that they both have health benefits.
However, regular yogurt that’s been sweetened will have added sugars you might want to avoid. Plain regular yogurt is a better choice, however it might not taste as creamy or tangy as Greek yogurt.
If you want to increase your protein consumption, Greek yogurt is the better choice. Just make sure that it’s of the low-fat variety if you’re watching your calorie intake.
If you want to add yogurt to smoothies or baked goods, you’ll do well to choose Greek yogurt simply because of its thicker, creamier consistency. Some people choose Greek yogurt over regular yogurt for this reason alone, because of how it feels more satisfying to eat.
That said, it’s important to make wise choices whether you’re choosing Greek or regular yogurt. Avoid yogurt containing high amounts of carbs, sweetening agents, or sugar. Choosing products that have less added sugar is always the healthiest choice.
Which Type Of Yogurt Is Better For Lactose-Intolerant People?
People who have lactose intolerance will find that yogurt is easier to digest than milk.
Although Greek yogurt and regular yogurt do share some similarities, when it comes to choosing the best yogurt if you’re lactose intolerant, Greek yogurt is your best bet.
This is because it’s naturally lower in lactose, which is basically a sugar present in milk.
Other Types Of Yogurt To Know About
Maybe you’re not a fan of either regular plain yogurt or Greek yogurt, or the environmental concerns about Greek yogurt have put you off it.
Whatever the case, there are many other types of yogurt to know about. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular ones and their benefits.
Goat Milk Yogurt
If you’re a fan of goat’s cheese, then you might want to try goat milk yogurt. It has a creamy, slightly sweet, and earthy quality but it lacks the thick consistency you’ll find in Greek yogurt.
It’s similar to yogurt that doesn’t contain large quantities of lactose, so it’s a great choice if you’re lactose intolerant.
However, goat milk yogurt has less protein and more fat than Greek yogurt. It does have a greater amount of calcium, though.
This type of yogurt is similar in consistency to Greek yogurt. It gets strained for longer periods of time during its production, which removes whey and makes it thick.
It isn’t as tangy as Greek yogurt, and it has zero amounts of fat as well as less sodium than Greek yogurt. That said, it doesn’t have as much protein or calcium.
This is a non-dairy yogurt that’s great for you if you’re vegetarian or vegan. It is similar in texture and consistency to regular yogurt made from cow’s milk, but it’s a bit sweet and tangy.
When it comes to its nutritional value, soy yogurt doesn’t have as much protein as Greek yogurt, but it does have more calcium.
If you love nut milk, you should try almond yogurt. How it’s made is that a thickening product is added to almond milk, which is then heated up before live cultures are added to it.
This yogurt is thicker than regular yogurt but similar to it in texture and flavor.
Almond yogurt products can have less protein and more sugar than Greek yogurt, so it’s important to scrutinize their ingredients when buying them from the supermarket.
This is an interesting type of yogurt to enjoy if you love eating coconuts. The coconut flesh, which contains healthy fats, gets pressed with water to produce coconut milk, which is later blended with live cultures to make yogurt.
The consistency of this yogurt is very similar to regular yogurt.
The only downside is that this type of yogurt doesn’t contain protein and store-bought versions usually contain lots of added sugars, which could be off-putting if you’re trying to reduce your sugar content.
Tips For Adding Yogurt To Your Diet
There are some easy ways in which you can add yogurt to your regular diet in order to reap its health benefits.
Here are some ideas.
- When you bake at home, try switching butter or oil for yogurt instead. This is healthier and it makes your food creamier.
- Add Greek yogurt to foods such as baked potatoes instead of sour cream. This is a healthier option.
- Enjoy yogurt for breakfast – add seeds, nuts, and fruits to it to make it satisfying.
- Add yogurt to vegetable or meat-based wraps. This gives your food a lovely, tangy flavor.
- Mix yogurt with herbs and seasonings to make salad dressings and dips.
Is frozen yogurt healthy?
Although you might think that frozen yogurt is healthier than ice cream, the truth is that many frozen yogurt products have the same amounts of sugar as ice cream!
How can I make yogurt sweet without being unhealthy?
If you want to sweeten yogurt, enjoy it with fruit or small amounts of honey instead of purchasing sweetened yogurt at the grocery store.
If you love eating yogurt, you’ll be glad to know that whether you choose regular or Greek yogurt, you’re getting valuable nutrients your body requires.
Yogurt forms part of a healthy diet, but not all yogurts are the same.
In this article, we’ve looked at the differences between Greek yogurt vs regular yogurt to find out how they compare and which one you should choose.
Whichever yogurt you prefer, make sure you choose a low-fat, plain version to reduce your consumption of sugar.