What's The Difference Between Regular and Greek Yogurt?

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The options in the yogurt aisle at the grocery store have increased greatly over the years, with Greek yogurt taking up just as much space on the shelves as the regular stuff. What's the difference between Greek and regular yogurt, and which one should you buy?

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How They're Made

The process for making regular and Greek yogurt starts off the same: milk is first heated, then cooled to the desired fermentation temperature (106-114°F) before bacterial cultures are added. The mixture is then left to ferment until the bacteria grows, produces lactic acid, and gels the milk proteins to produce regular yogurt.

To make Greek yogurt, regular yogurt is strained extensively to remove liquid whey and lactose, leaving behind a thicker-textured yogurt.

What Are The Differences?

Besides texture, here are some other differences between regular and Greek yogurt:

  • Protein - Greek yogurt has almost double the protein of regular yogurt.
  • Fat - Unless you're using the nonfat varieties, Greek yogurt has about three times the saturated fat than regular yogurt.
  • Sodium - Greek yogurt contains about half the sodium of regular yogurt.
  • Carbohydrates - Greek yogurt contains roughly half the carbohydrates of regular yogurt, but remember that adding sweeteners to either one will increase the carbohydrate count.

The one to choose really depends on texture and dietary preferences. Because of its thicker texture and tangier flavor, Greek yogurt is often used as a healthier substitute for sour cream, crème fraiche, or mayonnaise.

Do you prefer Greek or regular yogurt, or does it depend on how you're using it?

(Image credits: Christine Gallary; Leela Cyd)

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