Plain yogurt or Greek yogurt, which one do you usually choose? Do you know if one of them is healthier than the other?
This is a topic that makes many people confused; even more so considering that some brands found in supermarkets deceive consumers and just add thickeners to plain yogurt to sell it as “Greek”.
However, there are substantial differences between plain yogurt and Greek yogurt, including from a nutritional point of view. Let's understand better about them and how to decide which one is the best option!
Is Greek Yogurt Made the Same Way as Plain Yogurt?
Yogurt is a kind of food obtained from the fermentation of milk by bacteria, which convert milk sugar (lactose) into lactic acid. And that's how we get that creamy texture and slightly sour taste.
Both Greek yogurt and plain yogurt follow this same process and are made from the same ingredients: milk and a starter culture of bacteria.
But then, how do they get such different textures and flavors? The answer lies in some details in the manufacturing process:
Plain yogurt is made following these steps: the milk is heated, the starter culture is added when the milk is already warm, and the mixture is set aside to ferment until it reaches the ideal point (texture, pH, etc.). Then the yogurt must be cooled to stop the action of bacteria.
At the end of this whole process, we have a creamy and velvety yogurt, but with a consistency that can vary. You may have already seen on supermarket shelves that there are yogurts to drink and those that we should eat with a spoon.
Greek yogurt, on the other hand, is thicker because it removes the whey and other liquids that may have formed during the separation (a natural process in the manufacture of yogurt).
And that gives us an important piece of information: since Greek yogurt is drained, it takes a larger amount of milk compared to what is used to make plain yogurt to obtain a similar amount – and, therefore, it tends to be more expensive.
Regarding its characteristics, as it is concentrated, Greek yogurt is not only thicker but also has a slightly more pronounced flavor than plain yogurt.
As we mentioned, some companies use gelatin or other thickeners to thicken plain yogurt and sell it as Greek yogurt. So don't take any risks and make your Greek yogurt at home. It's super easy!
So if Greek yogurt and plain yogurt use the same ingredients and go through the same manufacturing process, they are nutritionally the same, right? Well no!
When drained, Greek yogurt doesn't just concentrate the flavor and texture; it also concentrates nutrients. That happens because when excess whey is removed, part of the lactose is also removed. This reduces the amount of carbohydrates and sugar, for example. Protein is not lost. Also, for those with lactose sensitivity, this makes Greek yogurt a better option.
Greek yogurt has:
- More calories;
- Less carbohydrate;
- Less sugar;
- More protein;
- Less calcium;
- Less sodium.
In terms of fat, both have similar amounts, depending on the product. Also, both Greek and plain yogurt are sources of vitamin B12, magnesium, and, of course, probiotics.
Probiotics are bacteria present in yogurt that are good for the microbiota and the digestive system. They bring many health benefits, regulating the functioning of the intestine, increasing immunity, protecting the heart, and helping with weight loss, among other advantages.
How to Use Greek Yogurt in Everyday Life?
When you make your yogurt at home, you have food without sugar, preservatives, thickeners, and other chemicals, and with a smooth taste. This makes yogurt extremely versatile in the kitchen.
Because it is thicker, Greek yogurt is a great option for making healthy alternatives to cream, as well as dip sauces and desserts. You can also use it for cooking, getting more full-bodied and moist dishes.
Of course, a Greek yogurt is also a great option for breakfast, especially with granola and fruit (a little honey and voilà, the perfect breakfast).
Plain yogurt, on the other hand, is a better choice for making smoothies and salad dressings, and even hot dishes.
Final Round: Greek or Plain Yogurt, How to Choose?
By now, we know the differences and similarities between Greek yogurt and plain yogurt, their health benefits, and how you can use them in your daily life.
But in the end, which one to choose?
As we have seen, the fundamental difference between the two types of yogurt is in texture and flavor. So taste both and try which one fits your routine better.
The most important thing is: always look at the labels. Avoid products with sugar, preservatives, and other additives. Sometimes you think you're being healthy when you're actually ingesting as much sugar as in a soda!
Our tip? Make your Greek yogurt at home. All you need is milk (quality one!), a starter culture, and a few hours to obtain a natural and much healthier yogurt. You choose the amount of fat and sugar you want to add. No additives, no surprises.Top Therm offers a complete line of starter cultures specifically for making homemade Greek yogurt. Explore our products!
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