You might have heard about the health benefits of Greek yogurt, a staple in any diet. But isn’t all yogurt the same? Is there really a difference between regular and Greek yogurt? And what are the similarities? Let’s take a look at yogurt in general, Greek yogurt specifically, and why you want to choose the Greek version the next time you go yogurt shopping.
Yogurt usually begins as milk. “Good bacteria” is added, causing that milk to ferment. This is what gives yogurt its tangy taste. This product is strained through cheesecloth or a similar filter, and that allows the liquid carrying whey to pour off. The resulting food is yogurt.
Non-Greek yogurts are usually filtered or strained once or twice. Greek yogurts are traditionally strained 3 times, sometimes more, because this removes a greater quantity of whey from the final yogurt product. The result delivers a much thicker consistency, which is one way you can spot Greek yogurt.
While all yogurt is good for you, delivering all kinds of health benefits, Greek yogurt is the best of the best. For instance:
- Greek yogurt delivers roughly double the protein of a similarly sized regular yogurt product.
- Because of the lower concentration of whey, the thicker Greek yogurt does not curdle when cooked or heated like regular yogurt.
- Greek yogurt does not require as high a carbohydrate investment as regular yogurt. This makes Greek yogurt extremely attractive to diabetics and others who are carb counting.
- Regular yogurt delivers 2 or more times the sodium content as Greek yogurt.
Greek yogurt has unfortunately become more and more popular in the last few years. (We say unfortunate, because that drives up the price.) This is because the unique texture, flavor and nutritional characteristics of Greek yogurt continue to make it preferable to other yogurt types.
Greek yogurt is also much more versatile than other types of yogurt. Yes, it is still a super healthy option as a snack. But because Greek yogurt withstands heat so effectively, there are hundreds of recipes which benefit from its rich, thick taste and texture.
Try swapping out processed oil and eggs with Greek yogurt the next time you are making baked goods. You can also replace sour cream, cream cheese and mayonnaise in recipes with Greek yogurt as well. And the next time you make high calorie dips, sauces, smoothies and salad dressings, why not experiment with Greek yogurt instead? Your benefit is less sodium, fewer carbs and more protein than regular yogurt, which is why Greek yogurt is a smart part of any heart healthy diet.