When I was a kid, the only kind of yogurt you could get was Dr. Gaymont’s, which came in small containers and had a suspiciously gelatinous texture, as though the good doctor had added some thickening agent into the mix.
Then Dannon came along and changed everything. Yogurt went from being some oddball fringe food to a more mainstream “health” food. Of course, all the sugary fruit and sweeteners in “fruit-on-the-bottom” Dannon yogurt probably negated many of the health benefits. Nonetheless, this popular yogurt was a step forward in healthy snacking, containing a lot more protein and helpful bacteria than, say, a plate of cookies or a package ofTwinkies.
Recently, Greek yogurt has become a thing. The good folks at Lala sent us some, so I road-tested them.
The main problem with all fruit-on-the-bottom type yogurts is that you have to stir the fruit up from the bottom, which homogenizes the texture of the yogurt: you lose the pleasant custard-like qualities. This doesn’t happen with yogurts like LaLa that have fruit already mixed in.
Aside for such aesthetic considerations, you, like me, may be a little unclear about what makes Greek yogurt different than “regular” yogurt. According to U.S. News and World Reports, Greek yogurt:
- Is “strained extensively to remove much of the liquid whey, lactose, and sugar, giving it thick consistency” and more of the custardy goodness mentioned above. This straining also concentrates the flavor of the yogurt.
- Has about twice the protein of regular yogurt, which is especially important to vegetarians who may have a hard time getting all the protein they need without meat.
- Contains about half the carbs and sodium of regular yogurt, but also less calcium (a concern for some).
The health advantages are important, but as always, for me, it comes down the eating experience, and Greek yogurt surpasses regular yogurt in taste and texture …and it’s way, way better in all ways than Dr. Gaymont’s.