What is the difference between Greek yogurt and regular yogurt?
What are the main benefits of Greek yogurt?
How to turn plain Greek yogurt into a tasty, healthy breakfast or snack
The difference between Greek yogurt and regular yogurt is the process in which it is produced. As is known, yogurt results from the milk fermentation process by bacteria, two in particular: Streptococcus thermophilus and Lactobacillus bulgaris.
My sister always prefers her yogurt to be sweet, and I have always liked the plain acidic one. The typical acidic taste is acquired through fermentation. Regular yogurt is filtered twice through gauze, while Greek yogurt undergoes three filtrations, resulting in more creamy and consistent yogurt. For this reason, it contains less whey and therefore less lactose: a feature that makes it more digestible and more tolerable.
The benefits of Greek yogurt derive from this further filtration step, which is decisive in the variation of the product’s nutritional values.
1. Greek yogurt is a sweet gluttony for low-calorie diets
Lactose is a sugar, and the fact that it is contained in lesser quantities in Greek yogurt (about half than regular yogurt) makes it an ideal food in low-calorie diets.
Its texture, density, and creaminess make it look like a dessert made even more delicious by a couple of black cherries or a handful of red fruits and cereals or granola. Suitable for those who cannot resist ending a meal without something sweet and are always ready to give in to a small sin of gluttony.
It has optimal nutritional values for those who do sports, a good intake of proteins (about 9 g), a right amount of carbohydrates (4 g), and 0 fat. On average, 100 g of whole Greek yogurt provides 115 kcal, while non-fat Greek yogurt provides 52 kcal.
2. Greek yogurt is low in salt, and it is suitable for low-sodium diets
In most packaged products, the quantities of salt are prohibitive for those who follow a diet with reduced sodium content.
Greek yogurt contains only 45 milligrams of sodium per jar, about half the size of a serving of regular yogurt. For this reason, it is a food recommended by dieticians and nutritionists for those suffering from hypertension or those who simply want to lose weight or even fight cellulite.
Greek yogurt is a valid substitute for lunch if added to grilled vegetables, cherry tomatoes, and sunflower seeds, all seasoned with a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil.
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3. Greek yogurt is a good source of protein, and it has a strong satiating power
With 9 grams of protein per 100 grams of Greek yogurt, it has a remarkable satiating power. In fact, the filtrations eliminate liquids and concentrate proteins, which affect the skin and muscles and activate the metabolism so that the whole body can benefit from it.
Each jar of Greek yogurt contains approximately one-third of the recommended daily intake of protein.
If you are afraid of calories, go for the non-fat version of Greek yogurt. However, it is good to remember that lipids should not be completely eliminated in a healthy and balanced diet but simply selected by preferring those derived from milk, fish, and vegetable sources.
4. Greek yogurt is rich in lactic ferments, and it helps the intestine
Like all self-respecting yogurts, even the Greek one improves intestinal function by promoting peristalsis and regularity. The lactic ferments contained in it integrate the bacterial flora found in the intestine, restoring the right balance.
There are several benefits of the intestinal tract:
- elimination of annoying abdominal swelling,
- decrease in digestion time,
- shorter contact time between the intestinal wall and harmful substances taken with food,
- synthesis of biotin and vitamin K that is important for coagulation and bones,
- enhancement of sugar metabolism.
5. Greek yogurt is versatile and light, and it is an excellent dressing in the kitchen
Greek yogurt can be used as a tasty and light dressing for savory dishes. The famous tzatziki sauce, for example, is nothing more than a mixture of Greek yogurt, cucumbers, garlic, oil, white vinegar, and dill.
The advantage of using this type of dressing lies in making many dishes leaner and tastier at the same time, reducing the amount of oil and/or other fats, and even eliminating the addition of salt.
How to buy the right Greek yogurt
While we commonly refer to this product as Greek yogurt, there is no federal standard for Greek yogurt in the United States. Companies can label filtered or unfiltered yogurt “Greek” based on texture and taste.
But in other countries, such as southern Europe and Greece, filtered yogurt typically doesn’t contain:
- thickening agents, such as starches or gelatin
- whey protein concentrate
- milk protein concentrate
- modified food starch
Classic Greek yogurt is made with goat’s milk; the best is the normal one, unsweetened, low in fat, and with the least number of additives.
How to use Greek yogurt
Greek yogurt plays the perfect role as a milk substitute in the diet, especially for lactose-intolerant people. It is excellent for breakfast or snacks.
In cooking, Greek yogurt is used a lot in the formulation of cold recipes, such as frozen, ice cream, mousses, and other spoon desserts. Some use it as a substitute for milk cream in the sauces of first courses, together with spices and vegetables (cucumber, parsley, etc.) in sauces for meat (for example, beefsteak), or as a topping for chili instead of sour cream.
A very simple way in which I like to enjoy Greek yogurt is with chia seeds, fresh fruits, and almond flakes. I enjoy it for breakfast or as a healthy and filling snack during the day.
What you need:
- 3-4 tablespoons of natural plain Greek yogurt
- 1 tablespoon of chia seeds
- Fresh blueberries
- Almond flakes
Put the natural plain Greek yogurt and the chia seeds in a bowl, mix it well and leave it for around 5 to 10 minutes in the fridge.
Roast the almond flakes, and together with the blueberries, add on top of the yogurt.
That’s pretty much it!
Do you like Greek yogurt? How do you enjoy it?
If you want to know more about chia seeds, you may read below:
If you want to know a few of blueberries benefits, you may read below: