Yogurt is a great source of vitamins, calcium and protein, suitable for a healthy diet. But what happens at the Grocery Store? It's overwhelming isn't it. While scanning have you noticed the newer options popping up? Especially the Greek yogurt. I’m always asked “what’s the difference, and why eat it?
The production of yogurt consists of the bacterial fermentation of milk, where live microorganisms, known as probiotics, are added to the milk to help create the final product. Greek yogurt is made in a similar fashion, but with an extra process of straining and filtering with a cloth or paper bag to remove the whey. This gives Greek yogurt a thicker consistency that is somewhere between that of yogurt and cheese. (This also takes out 90% of the lactose for those of you with a lactose intolerance)
Both regular yogurt and Greek yogurt contain probiotics, which are sometimes referred to as "good" bacteria. These probiotics are beneficial to a healthy digestive system by maintaining the balance of organisms found in the intestines. Called, "Gut Flora" Probiotics used in the production of yogurt have also been found to strengthen the immune system and help battle illness and infections.
Yogurt is an excellent source of protein, which is important for muscle building and recovery. If you are wondering which one to choose and want to use yogurt as a source of protein, look to Greek yogurt as a more significant source of protein. Greek yogurt tends to contain a higher concentration of protein due to the straining and filtering used in the production process. The higher levels of protein make Greek yogurt an awesome alternative for those who exercise regularly and want protein.
Sugar, Sodium and Carbohydrates
The straining and filtering process used when making Greek yogurt reduces the amount of sugar and carbohydrates found in regular yogurt. This can make Greek yogurt seem more appealing to those with diabetes or someone who watches carbs for other reasons. Greek yogurt has also been found to contain half the amount of sodium found in regular yogurt, which is another benefit of the straining and filtering process used in the production of Greek yogurt.
Calories and Fat
When comparing Greek yogurt to regular yogurt, Greek yogurt has significantly more fat and calories than the regular version. Those who prefer Greek yogurt, but are worried about the fat content and added calories should look for Greek yogurt made from nonfat or low-fat milk. Due to the increased consistency and creaminess of Greek yogurt, the nonfat and low-fat versions of Greek yogurt may be a passable substitute to Greek yogurts made from whole milk.
Things to Remember, The down-side
When making the decision between Greek yogurt and regular yogurt, on a whole Greek is the better choice. It does cost more (a downer) and it only has about a third of the calcium of regular yogurt. So if those are the only things you are judging on, the Regular wins out. However Fat is good for you, cost is worth it, and calcium can be obtained in many forms. Exercise can also protect your bones. So I don’t’ think it’s toss up, but here is what you can consider for your choice: Those looking for a dietary substitute to fatty snacks may prefer regular yogurt, while bodybuilders and athletes might find the high protein and low carbohydrate content of Greek yogurt more appealing. There is, of course, one more underlying factor that may trump the rest, and that is the difference in overall taste. Of course that being said we should talk quickly about the sugar content. Plain is best. No matter what the choice if loaded with sugar, sugar substitute, fake fruit, or fruit in syrup and toppings etc., you are compromising the benefits of yogurt consumption in the first place.