Yogurt is made by bacterial fermentation of milk sugar (lactose), creating lactic acid which acts on milk protein to yogurt its distinctive texture and taste. Greek yogurt is yogurt made with higher live and active cultures that has been allowed to sit in muslin or cheesecloth bags to filter out the whey, giving it a thicker and creamier texture than American yogurts, similar to sour cream. “Greek-style” yogurts are made thicker with thickening agents.
All yogurts are an excellent source of calcium and protein. Their bacteria cultures aid digestion and the low-fat, unsweetened varieties are low in calories. Lactose intolerant people can usually tolerate yogurt since the bacterial culture changes the lactose to lactic acid which does not cause the unwanted GI affects. Yogurt is considered a probiotic, which is a live microorganism intended to aid the intestinal flora, fortify the immune system to combat allergies, stress, exposure to harmful substances, and perhaps other disease processes.
Greek yogurt, since it is more concentrated, has more protein per serving than regular yogurt. It is also lower in sugar and carbohydrates since the milk sugar, lactose, is removed with the whey.
Greek yogurt makes an excellent substitute for sour cream. It blends easily with herbs, spices, fruits and vegetables to make sauces, dips and toppings.