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What’s the Difference Between Greek Yogurt and Regular Yogurt?

Eat This, Not That! logo Eat This, Not That! 2019-02-12 Cheyenne Buckingham
a cake with fruit on a plate: Yogurt parfait © Shutterstock Yogurt parfait

By now, you probably know there’s a big difference between Greek yoghurt and regular yoghurt, both in the taste and the texture of each. When it comes to the Greek yoghurt vs. regular yoghurt question, though, here’s what you should keep in mind: Greek yoghurt is by nature thicker and can be described as having a tart flavour, whereas regular yoghurt isn’t as dense, and it has a more runny kind of consistency and is naturally sweeter. Why? It all has to do with the straining process.

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Greek yogurt is thicker and has a creamier consistency than regular yogurt because the whey—the liquid substance that remains after milk has been curdled and strained—has been removed from it. In part because of this process, the nutritional content of each type of yogurt is different. We consulted Laura Burak MS, RD, CDN, who’s also Nutritious Life Certified, for more information on how the two yogurts differ nutritionally to help you decide which is the better fit for your dietary needs when it comes to the great debate of Greek yogurt vs. regular yogurt.

Greek yoghurt vs. regular yoghurt: what are the differences between them?

“Any plain yoghurt is not only a great source of protein and calcium, but it’s also convenient and easy to find in most stores, versatile in meals, and economical for the nutritional punch it provides,” says Burak. “Greek yogurt, however, contains nearly triple the amount of protein as regular, due to the straining process, which results in a thicker consistency and more sour taste.”

That’s why Greek yoghurt has so much more protein than regular yogurt—it’s more concentrated due to the absence of the whey. While Greek yogurt dominates regular yoghurt in protein content, regular yoghurt has more of an important bone-building mineral.

“Plain, unstrained yogurt typically contains more calcium than Greek though, and is sometimes more palatable to my clients who aren’t used to the thickness,” Burak says.

a woman holding a bottle: Woman picks up yogurt from grocery store shelf © Shutterstock Woman picks up yogurt from grocery store shelf

So, is one style of yoghurt healthier for you than the other?

Burak says that plain Greek yoghurt and regular yoghurt are both healthy choices, it just boils down to personal preference.

“If my clients are looking for an easy way to incorporate a nice amount of protein into a snack or meal, I do recommend Greek first for its protein content, as more protein will slow digestion, control blood sugar, and increase satiety—and encourage them to doctor it up with fresh fruit and a sprinkle of nuts or granola,” she says. “If they can’t tolerate the sour taste, however, regular plain yoghurt always works, too.”

Anything else people should know about the two types of yoghurt?

Burak says to be mindful of the added sugar varieties offered for both Greek yoghurt and regular yoghurt. She suggests opting for the plain version of both because the plain flavour only comprises the naturally occurring kind of sugar from milk, known as lactose.

“Also, it is important to note that eating yoghurt with some fat, as in 2 to 4 percent or whole milk, will not only increase that satiety, or feeling of fullness, but it is so much more palatable than fat-free without adding significant calories,” she says. “I love 2 percent plain Greek yoghurt with fresh berries and a sprinkle of chopped walnuts.”

The final verdict in the Greek yoghurt vs. regular yoghurt debate.

Let’s recap: Greek yoghurt is thicker than regular yoghurt, and it isn’t as sweet. This is because the liquid remains of milk—known as whey—have been strained out, leaving it with a higher concentration of protein. It also has fewer carbohydrates and, therefore, less sugar.

On the other hand, regular yoghurt has more calcium than Greek yoghurt, because it still has the whey intact, which naturally houses calcium.

So, when it comes to Greek yogurt vs. regular yoghurt, you really can’t go wrong with eating either, as long as you always stick with the plain versions.

Related: Six 'bad' carbs that are actually good for you (Provided by Health.com)

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