There are benefits of Greek yogurt vs regular yogurt, even thought the two start out basically the same. Greek yogurt starts out being regular yogurt, but has one extra step. It’s strained and much of the whey, the liquid in yogurt and lactose are removed, leaving a thicker product that’s creamier and smooth, with a tangy flavor that is the perfect substitute for sour cream. Besides being thicker and to most people, better tasting, it has other attributes that are beneficial.
With the whey removed, there’s more curd.
If you’ve only heard the term whey when you’ve heard the nursery rhyme “Little Miss Moffat,” you may wonder how that can make Greek yogurt more beneficial. Whether making cheese, cottage cheese or yogurt, the milk solids, or curd, separates from the liquid, or whey, to create the product. Whey has protein, too, but not as much as the curds left behind after it’s drained. Greek yogurt, because of the fluid removed has a thicker consistency and more protein. It’s almost double that of regular yogurt.
You can make your own Greek yogurt at home and even use the whey to make ricotta.
If you purchase live culture yogurt, it doesn’t take much to create your own Greek yogurt quickly. Get a wide mouthed bottle, a coffee ground strainer and a large portion of regular yogurt. Just put the yogurt in the strainer and drain the whey until you have the consistency you want. You can use the left over whey to make home-made ricotta cheese, which is also good for your health.
Not all Greek yogurt is real Greek yogurt.
Unfortunately, there is not standardization when it comes to labeling Greek yogurt. Not all the yogurt is a strained version that removed the whey. Some has additives to make the yogurt thicker, so you don’t get all the benefits normally provided by Greek yogurt. Some companies add thickening agents and extra protein rather than straining the yogurt. Read the labels to see the contents if you want true Greek yogurt.
– Just because Greek yogurt is healthy, it doesn’t mean all forms of it are. Some flavored varieties contain large amounts of sugar. Check the label to make sure the first ingredient is milk, followed by live cultures and fruit. Better yet, add your own fruit.
– Compare labels for protein content. Since they’re not all made the same way, protein content will vary.
– If you decide to change regular yogurt to Greek yogurt, you can use the whey to start fermented vegetables, such as sauerkraut, kimchi and natto.
– Greek yogurt is a healthy substitute for sour cream, oil, butter and mayonnaise. It saves you calories and provides more nutrition.