What’s the difference between regular and Greek yogurt?

What’s the difference between regular and Greek yogurt?

Scanning the options within the yogurt aisle at your local grocery borders on sensory overload. The array of choices is considerable and with the growing popularity of Greek style yogurt in recent years, it begs the question: Is there really any difference between Greek yogurt or traditional yogurt?

The long and short of it is that both traditional and Greek yogurt are both fermented dairy products. Both contain healthy nutrients, such as magnesium and vitamin B12 and offer a number of health benefits. Greek yogurt is thicker and tangier than regular yogurt because it is strained. As part of the straining process, the amount of lactose is reduced. That in turn reduces the amount of carbohydrates and sugar found in traditional yogurt.

“Greek yogurt also contains more protein and is more satisfying, in addition to being lower in carbohydrates than traditional yogurt,” Amy Lee, a dietitian at Aurora Medical Center in Burlington, says. “It’s good for a snack with fresh berries or can be added to smoothies with fruit.”

Lee said the reduction of lactose in Greek yogurt offers important benefits, particularly for those who are lactose intolerant.

“People who are lactose intolerant often tolerate Greek yogurt better than traditional,’’ she said. “This offers a great option and is especially important when building a well-balanced diet.”

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  1. I love the greek yogart and the health benefits it offers. I have found that I am unable to tolerate the lactose in the greek yogart. How do the benefits in the greek yogart make with almond milk compare?

  2. I read a while back that it’s productions creates toxic waste. The acid whey, which is a byproduct, is considered environmentally toxic. So why is this good to purchase?

    • According to this article, farmers can use the whey to fertilize their fields.

      Which whey: Waste or resource? (Copied from https://cen.acs.org/articles/95/i6/Acid-whey-waste-product-untapped.html)

      ▸ The booming U.S. Greek yogurt market annually generates billions of kilograms of acid whey—a yellowish liquid by-product rich in lactose, galactose, calcium phosphate, and lactic acid.

      ▸ Companies and food scientists are seeking ways to use the acid whey economically without harming the environment.

      Know the whey: Acid vs. sweet
      ▸ Acid whey is the liquid by-product left over after yogurt has been strained or centrifuged to produce thick and creamy Greek yogurt. Acid whey is also a by-product of making cream cheese and Quark, a dairy product made by heating acidified milk and straining the curds.

      ▸ Sweet whey is the liquid by-product generated from making hard cheeses. Sweet whey is valuable to the food industry and is often turned into protein powders for use in sports drinks, nutrition bars, and other foods.

      ▸ Acid whey contains low amounts of proteins compared with sweet whey and therefore is considered less valuable as a raw material for the food industry.

      ▸ Work is underway to make protein and lactose extraction from acid whey more economical and to create nutritional food products from acid whey.

      Incidentally, I make my own Greek yogurt at home. I’m diabetic and the lower carb/sugar content is better for my health.

  3. I buy Greek Yogurt over regular yogurt for one thing: MATERIALLY REDUCED SUGAR.

    It’s not perfect…I truly wish they’d come out with more fruit flavored, ZERO added sugar yogurts…but it does provide a greatly reduced amount of ADDED sugar.

    When you read about the amount of sugar per year that Americans eat – even compared to other parts of the world – there’s only one word for it…HORRIFIC. Sugars lead to all sorts of ailments…most notably higher incidences of cancer. So the less sugar sweetened foods we eat – the better.

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About the Author

Andy Johnson
Andy Johnson

Andy Johnson, health enews contributor, is a public affairs coordinator with Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care. He’s been with Advocate Aurora since 2000 serving in various internal and external communication roles. He previously worked as a reporter and editor for the Journal Times and Burlington Standard Press. He enjoys kayaking, biking, and camping but most of all, spending time with his family.