What’s the Difference Between Greek and Regular Yogurt?

What’s the Difference Between Greek and Regular Yogurt?

Yogurt is a fermented dairy product that’s popular worldwide.

 

In recent years, a specific type called Greek yogurt has taken off among health enthusiasts.

 

Both Greek and regular yogurt are packed with high quality nutrients and offer multiple health benefits, but you may wonder what sets them apart.

 

This article explains the differences between Greek and regular yogurt to help you determine which to choose.

 

How they’re made

Regular and Greek yogurt are cultured (or fermented) dairy products, along with sour cream, buttermilk, and kefir.

 

Fermented dairy products are made by converting lactose — milk’s naturally occurring sugar — into lactic acid by using certain bacteria, also called starter cultures (1Trusted Source).

 

In fact, both regular and Greek yogurt are made with the same main ingredients — fresh milk, plus Streptococcus thermophilus and Lactobacillus bulgaricus as starter cultures (2).

 

Yet, their taste and nutrients differ due to how they’re made.

 

Regular yogurt

Regular yogurt is made by heating milk, adding bacteria, and leaving it to ferment until it reaches an acidic pH of about 4.5. After it cools, other ingredients like fruit may be added (1Trusted Source).

 

The final product has a smooth consistency but may vary in thickness. Most yogurts are either drinkable or can be eaten with a spoon.

 

Due to its acidic nature, plain yogurt may taste slightly sour. Still, it’s generally sweeter than Greek yogurt.

 

Greek yogurt

Greek yogurt, also known as concentrated or strained yogurt, is made by eliminating the whey and other liquids from regular yogurt (3Trusted Source).

 

Because the straining process reduces the total volume, Greek yogurt takes significantly more milk than regular yogurt to make a batch of the same size.

 

Traditionally, the yogurt is strained in cloth bags up to three times until it reaches the desired texture. Modern production methods use centrifuges to achieve the same effect.

 

Some companies may use thickening agents or other dry ingredients, in which case the final product is referred to as fortified or Greek-style yogurt (3Trusted Source).

 

Because most of the liquid is removed, Greek yogurt is much thicker and tangier than regular yogurt. It’s also generally more expensive since it requires more milk.

 

SUMMARY

Regular and Greek yogurt are both fermented dairy products, but Greek yogurt is strained to make it much thicker and tangier than regular yogurt.

 

Nutrient comparison

Regular and Greek yogurt have very different nutritional profiles. The table below compares 8 ounces (245 grams) of a low fat variety of each (4Trusted Source, 5Trusted Source):

 

Regular yogurt (low fat) Greek yogurt (low fat)

Calories 154 179

Carbs 17 grams 10 grams

Sugar 17 grams 9 grams

Protein 13 grams 24 grams

Fat 4 grams 5 grams

Calcium 34% of the Daily Value (DV) 22% of the DV

Sodium 7% of the DV 4% of the DV

Both yogurts are also an excellent source of magnesium, vitamin B12, and iodine (6Trusted Source).

 

As you can see, Greek yogurt contains about half the carbs and sugar as regular yogurt while packing almost twice as much protein. It also has less calcium and sodium.

 

These differences are a result of the yogurt’s straining process.

 

On the one hand, eliminating the whey from Greek yogurt removes some of its lactose, reducing its overall carb and sugar content. On the other hand, protein remains intact throughout the straining process, so Greek yogurt’s density provides much more protein.

 

Keep in mind that the comparison above is based on low fat versions of both products. Those made with whole milk provide much more fat and calories.

 

For example, the same serving of regular yogurt made with whole milk provides 8 grams of fat, while the same serving of whole milk Greek yogurt packs 12.25 grams — doubling and nearly tripling their fat contents, respectively (7Trusted Source, 8Trusted Source).

 

SUMMARY

Greek yogurt packs twice as much protein and about half the amount of carbs and sugar as regular yogurt.

 

Similar health benefits

Greek and regular yogurt share numerous health benefits due to their probiotics and protein.

 

Rich in probiotics

Probiotics are friendly bacteria found in fermented foods like yogurt (1Trusted Source, 9Trusted Source).

 

They aid digestive health by balancing your gut microbiome — the friendly bacteria in your digestive system — which may reduce your risk of inflammation and various illnesses (6Trusted Source, 9Trusted Source, 10Trusted Source).

 

Several studies suggest that a balanced gut microbiome may stimulate and/or modulate your immune system and protect against allergies, diarrhea, depression, and type 2 diabetes.

 

 

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What’s the Difference Between Greek and Regular Yogurt?

Written by Ariane Lang, BSc, MBA on June 22, 2020 — Medically reviewed by Natalie Butler, R.D., L.D.

How they’re made

Nutrients

Benefits

Culinary uses

Recommendation

Bottom line

Yogurt is a fermented dairy product that’s popular worldwide.

 

In recent years, a specific type called Greek yogurt has taken off among health enthusiasts.

 

Both Greek and regular yogurt are packed with high quality nutrients and offer multiple health benefits, but you may wonder what sets them apart.

 

This article explains the differences between Greek and regular yogurt to help you determine which to choose.

 

How they’re made

Regular and Greek yogurt are cultured (or fermented) dairy products, along with sour cream, buttermilk, and kefir.

 

Fermented dairy products are made by converting lactose — milk’s naturally occurring sugar — into lactic acid by using certain bacteria, also called starter cultures (1Trusted Source).

 

In fact, both regular and Greek yogurt are made with the same main ingredients — fresh milk, plus Streptococcus thermophilus and Lactobacillus bulgaricus as starter cultures (2).

 

Yet, their taste and nutrients differ due to how they’re made.

 

Regular yogurt

Regular yogurt is made by heating milk, adding bacteria, and leaving it to ferment until it reaches an acidic pH of about 4.5. After it cools, other ingredients like fruit may be added (1Trusted Source).

 

The final product has a smooth consistency but may vary in thickness. Most yogurts are either drinkable or can be eaten with a spoon.

 

Due to its acidic nature, plain yogurt may taste slightly sour. Still, it’s generally sweeter than Greek yogurt.

 

Greek yogurt

Greek yogurt, also known as concentrated or strained yogurt, is made by eliminating the whey and other liquids from regular yogurt (3Trusted Source).

 

Because the straining process reduces the total volume, Greek yogurt takes significantly more milk than regular yogurt to make a batch of the same size.

 

Traditionally, the yogurt is strained in cloth bags up to three times until it reaches the desired texture. Modern production methods use centrifuges to achieve the same effect.

 

Some companies may use thickening agents or other dry ingredients, in which case the final product is referred to as fortified or Greek-style yogurt (3Trusted Source).

 

Because most of the liquid is removed, Greek yogurt is much thicker and tangier than regular yogurt. It’s also generally more expensive since it requires more milk.

 

SUMMARY

Regular and Greek yogurt are both fermented dairy products, but Greek yogurt is strained to make it much thicker and tangier than regular yogurt.

 

Nutrient comparison

Regular and Greek yogurt have very different nutritional profiles. The table below compares 8 ounces (245 grams) of a low fat variety of each (4Trusted Source, 5Trusted Source):

 

Regular yogurt (low fat) Greek yogurt (low fat)

Calories 154 179

Carbs 17 grams 10 grams

Sugar 17 grams 9 grams

Protein 13 grams 24 grams

Fat 4 grams 5 grams

Calcium 34% of the Daily Value (DV) 22% of the DV

Sodium 7% of the DV 4% of the DV

Both yogurts are also an excellent source of magnesium, vitamin B12, and iodine (6Trusted Source).

 

As you can see, Greek yogurt contains about half the carbs and sugar as regular yogurt while packing almost twice as much protein. It also has less calcium and sodium.

 

These differences are a result of the yogurt’s straining process.

 

On the one hand, eliminating the whey from Greek yogurt removes some of its lactose, reducing its overall carb and sugar content. On the other hand, protein remains intact throughout the straining process, so Greek yogurt’s density provides much more protein.

 

Keep in mind that the comparison above is based on low fat versions of both products. Those made with whole milk provide much more fat and calories.

 

For example, the same serving of regular yogurt made with whole milk provides 8 grams of fat, while the same serving of whole milk Greek yogurt packs 12.25 grams — doubling and nearly tripling their fat contents, respectively (7Trusted Source, 8Trusted Source).

 

SUMMARY

Greek yogurt packs twice as much protein and about half the amount of carbs and sugar as regular yogurt.

 

Similar health benefits

Greek and regular yogurt share numerous health benefits due to their probiotics and protein.

 

Rich in probiotics

Probiotics are friendly bacteria found in fermented foods like yogurt (1Trusted Source, 9Trusted Source).

 

They aid digestive health by balancing your gut microbiome — the friendly bacteria in your digestive system — which may reduce your risk of inflammation and various illnesses (6Trusted Source, 9Trusted Source, 10Trusted Source).

 

Several studies suggest that a balanced gut microbiome may stimulate and/or modulate your immune system and protect against allergies, diarrhea, depression, and type 2 diabetes (9Trusted Source, 11Trusted Source, 12Trusted Source, 13Trusted Source).

 

Suitable for people with lactose intolerance

People with lactose intolerance usually experience uncomfortable digestive symptoms, including bloating and diarrhea, if they eat dairy products.

 

However, they may tolerate yogurt because its probiotics support lactose digestion (6Trusted Source, 14Trusted Source, 15Trusted Source).

 

Moreover, Greek yogurt’s naturally lower lactose content may make it especially suitable for people with this condition.

 

May protect heart health

Yogurt may improve heart disease risk factors, including high blood pressure and cholesterol.

 

Fermented dairy intake is associated with a lower risk of plaque buildup and artery stiffness, which are linked to high blood pressure (16Trusted Source).

 

A study in 73,882 adults with high blood pressure determined that eating 2 or more servings of yogurt per week were associated with a 21% lower risk of stroke in men and 17% in women, compared with those who ate less than 1 serving per month (16Trusted Source).

 

Similarly, in a study in 1,981 healthy men, those with higher intakes of fermented dairy products had a 27% lower risk of heart disease than those with lower intakes. The study also found that non-fermented dairy was associated with a greater risk (17Trusted Source).

 

Probiotics may likewise help lower cholesterol levels by inhibiting certain enzymes (1Trusted Source).

 

A study in 60 people with type 2 diabetes showed that a daily intake of 10.5 ounces (300 grams) of yogurt with probiotics caused a 4.5% and 7.5% decrease in total and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels, respectively, compared with a control group (18Trusted Source).

 

May aid weight loss

Research links yogurt to less body weight, body fat, and weight gain (6Trusted Source).

 

Its probiotics boost the proportion of healthy bacteria in your gut, which may contribute to weight management, fat distribution, and sugar and fat metabolism (19Trusted Source).

 

What’s more, both regular and Greek yogurt are excellent sources of protein.

 

High protein intake leads to prolonged feelings of fullness, which may decrease your calorie intake. In turn, this may promote weight loss (20Trusted Source, 21Trusted Source).

 

For example, one small study in 15 healthy women determined that a Greek yogurt snack containing 24 grams of protein reduced hunger and delayed the timing of the subsequent meal, compared with a low protein snack (22Trusted Source).

 

Nonetheless, many commercial brands pack significant amounts of added sugar, which may hinder your weight loss goals (23Trusted Source).

 

SUMMARY

Both regular and Greek yogurt may aid digestion, heart health, and weight loss.

 

Different uses in the kitchen

Regular and Greek yogurt are particularly versatile. While both can be enjoyed alone or mixed with fruit, nuts, or granola, they’re used differently in recipes.

 

For instance, due to its thickness, Greek yogurt is a common ingredient in dips and sauces like tzatziki, which is a staple in Greek cuisine.

 

Additionally, you can use it to replace mayonnaise, sour cream, and buttermilk in most recipes, though it may curdle at high temperatures. Its texture also makes it great for baking, especially if you want a moist, dense texture.

 

In contrast, regular yogurt is commonly used in smoothies (Greek yogurt is still a good option too), dressings, and other viscous dishes. For example, you can make a scrumptious marinade for chicken by mixing it with lemon juice and spices.

 

SUMMARY

When cooking, Greek yogurt is best for dips, sauces, and baked goods, while regular yogurt is preferable for smoothies, dressings, and marinades.

 

18 Comments

  1. Reply

    There’s lot of I learned about this two products.

  2. Reply

    Educating

  3. Reply

    I prefer regular youghurt

  4. Reply

    This is really good and interesting to know

  5. Profile photo ofItz Kvng Twitch

    Reply

    Very interesting

  6. Reply

    Nice

  7. Reply

    Good

  8. Reply

    Sounds yummu

  9. Reply

    I never knew about this…thanks

  10. Reply

    The difference is clear

  11. Reply

    Good to know

  12. Reply

    Wow this is tempting o

  13. Reply

    Interesting

  14. Reply

    Thanks for sharing

  15. Reply

    Good article

  16. Reply

    Good

  17. Reply

    Both Greek and regular yogurt are packed with high quality nutrients and offer multiple health benefits

  18. Reply

    Nice info thanks for sharing

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