Did you know that yogurt can help you lose weight? Yogurt is a fermented milk product made by adding good bacteria (yogurt cultures such as Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus) to milk then leaving it to ferment (7). These bacteria feed on the milk’s sugars to produce lactic acid, responsible for the tart flavour and thick, smooth texture. Other than taking yogurt regularly as a snack or meal, keto diet yogurt is becoming a popular weight loss alternative, but what does it involve?
Dietitians, nutritionists, and fitness experts have different opinions on what meals should be consumed in a low-carb diet. For instance, a keto diet yogurt could be a solution for people who find it hard to keep track of their caloric intake from yogurt (6). But is it healthy and recommended for long term weight loss? Here is everything you need to know about this weight loss meal plan.
Keto Diet Yogurt: How It Works
Carbohydrates are the primary energy source for the body, but not the only one. Many people follow keto diets in order to succeed in their weight loss plans, while others mostly want to reap the health benefits such as preventing seizures in epileptic children, controlling type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome management, and much more (10).
Ketosis is the process in which your body produces substances called ketones (an alternative fuel source) by burning fat instead of carbohydrates (10). This happens after eating a low-carb diet for some time, meaning that the body has to seek other fuel sources to sustain its daily functions.
Read More: Types Of Keto Diet: Which Is Right For You?
Yogurt And The Keto Diet
What’s a keto diet? From the definition of ketosis, a keto or ketogenic diet is a meal plan that contains a high amount of fat and moderate proteins but is very low in carbs. Depending on your goals, minding what type of yogurt you eat, could make or break your efforts during a keto diet yogurt. This meal plan works best when combined with appropriate strength training exercises.
On a keto diet, you want to keep your daily net carb intake to about 30 grams, but keep in mind your age, weight loss goals, activity level, and body composition matter (5). For keto diet yogurt, cutting or changing your yogurt preferences is inevitable.
Yogurt is an excellent source of protein and calcium, but in addition, you need to understand the carb content of your yogurt (6). For instance, plain yogurt seems harmless until you see its nutritional profile. A 5-ounce serving of plain yogurt contains about 12 grams of carbohydrates from naturally occurring lactose, possibly enough to knock you out of ketosis if eaten with other snacks (12). Some low-fat flavoured yogurts are packed with about 24 grams of carbohydrates because sugar has been added, but once you add some additional sugary toppings, it renders your ketosis plans obsolete.
What Yogurt Can You Eat on The Keto Diet?
What is a good keto diet yogurt? There are many kinds of yogurt, ranging from Icelandic yogurt, drinkable yogurt, Australian, lactose-free, among other types. Choosing the best yogurt for your keto diet can be puzzling since different types have different nutritional compositions. Some yogurt brands are lower in carbs than others; therefore, knowing which yogurts to buy is essential.
Greek Yogurt Keto Diet
Plain Greek yogurt is made from the same ingredients as regular yogurt – the only significant difference being in the overall nutritional composition. Unlike other yogurts, Greek yogurt goes through a straining process to remove the whey, a liquid part of milk that contains lactose (14). Doing so produces a thicker texture and a tart taste. Nutritional experts recommend Greek yogurt for the keto diet due to its low carb content. A 6-ounce plain whole milk Greek yogurt serving has about 7 grams of carbohydrates (2).
Benefits Of Greek Yoghurt
Besides its low-carb content, unique flavor, and appearance, Greek yogurt contributes several nutritional benefits to help your body sustain daily operations and overall health (8).
Appetite And Hunger Reduction
Greek yogurt is rich in protein, an essential macronutrient in every person’s body. According to research, a diet that is higher in protein reduces one’s energy intake, implying that by eating Greek yogurt and other protein-rich foods, you can cut down your appetite and urge for food. Besides this, higher protein diets (i.e. 30% of energy vs. 15%) could lead to increased weight loss compared to low-protein meals (1).
Building Muscle Mass
The protein in Greek yogurt can be used by the body to build muscle mass, which may help improve your performance in exercise, strength training, and sports. According to the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, athletes often tweak their diets with the intention to enhance their performance (4).
Additional Nutrients To Your System
Lowering your carb intake should not come at the cost of giving up useful nutrients and minerals from carb-rich foods. Fortunately, Greek yogurt is also rich in other minerals and nutrients that help your body maintain proper health. For instance, it contains iodine and Vitamin B12. It also contains calcium which is useful for strong bones and healthy teeth.
Greek yogurt may also aid in promoting mental health, reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes, lowering blood pressure, enhancing gut health, boosting metabolism, and much more (8). With these few benefits, Greek yogurt deserves a place in your daily diet. There are many types of Greek yogurt in the market, so you need to go for the one with the least carbs. This way, you can reap the benefits and, at the same time, maintain ketosis.
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Dairy-Free, Low-Carb Yogurt
Dairy-free yogurts are excellent alternatives for regular yogurt and other low-carb yogurts. These are made from coconuts, almonds, or soy and contain some of the same health benefits and flavour as milk-based yogurts (3).
When choosing your dairy-free yogurt, go for the one with no preservatives, colour additives, or artificial sweeteners. You can also choose a brand that has been fortified with minerals such as calcium to ensure that you get the same nutrients as you would with milk-based yogurts. Since there is no lactose in some of the toppings, you may opt for a serving of plain, unsweetened yogurt, almonds, or coconut with 1-4 grams of sugar.
Cashew yogurt may not be as tasty as frozen yogurt, but it remains a viable low-carb alternative. Cashew yogurt contains about 2 grams of protein. Although cashew yogurt is a healthy replacement for regular and flavored yogurt, it still needs nutritional improvement. The next time you go shopping for cashew yogurt, look for a fortified option with protein, fiber, and vitamins. You can also add some sugar-free toppings to add to the taste.
Coconut yogurt is made from full-fat coconut milk and active probiotics. It contains more carbs than Greek yogurt but is still a viable option for people on a keto diet. A 6-ounce serving contains about 13 grams, but that depends on how it is prepared, and if you add any toppings, the carb count may increase. Fortunately, coconut yogurt can be found in many stores. But if you prefer making your own, you won’t need any special equipment.
Almond yogurt is prepared from whole ground almonds and water. It contains healthy fats and less sugar, and even though it is slightly higher in carb count than other dairy-free yogurts, it is low in proteins. It includes a very low carb content compared to plain and regular yogurt (a brand of almond milk yogurt may contain 8 grams of carbohydrates in a 150g container). It is also lower in protein and calcium as compared to cow milk yogurt. Unless you get the fortified option, you risk missing out on some essential nutrients for your health.
When buying almond yogurt, read the descriptions to avoid additives and thickeners that may compromise your keto diet.
Skyr yogurt is an Icelandic-style, increasingly popular type of yogurt. It consists of skim milk and live cultures. It is thicker than Greek yogurt hence, requires more milk to make during the straining process.
Apart from its smooth texture, Skyr packs a low carb content, high protein content, and a wide assortment of vitamins and minerals. Like Greek yogurt, it also contains a substantial amount of calcium (can provide about 20% of the body’s calcium daily requirement) to increase bone mass density, especially in children and teenagers (13). Skyr is fat-free, but as you are picking yours from the shelves, do not forget to check the label and ensure that the manufacturer did not add any cream.
Full Fat Yogurt On Keto Diet
At times, higher fat content in dairy products could mean it’s better, as long as you do not have underlying medical conditions or allergies. Full fat and low-fat yogurts have been around for some time, but experts tend to disagree on the overall better option. Cheese, whipped cream, and thick full-fat yogurts can be included in your daily diet.
Unfortunately, full-fat yogurt has its downsides. According to Dr. Frank Hu, Professor of Nutrition and Epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, there is no evidence to support that whole milk is better than low-fat milk (9). Unlike fish, olive oil, and nuts that contain monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, dairy products contain saturated fats, which are not as good for your heart health. You should limit saturated fat to no more than 10% of total calories, which means 20 or fewer grams if you consume around 2000 calories per day.
How Can I Sweeten Yogurt Keto Diet?
Making keto yogurt requires some background information on adding the right flavours in the right amounts, or else you risk adding too many carbs. Many recipes for preparing home-made keto yogurts use different flavouring ingredients, but they are not always right. A low-carb yogurt requires low-carb or keto-flavoured syrups such as Nirvana Organics Syrups or Natvia’s Salted Caramel Syrup (11).
You can also add a few strawberries, raspberries, or a few drops of liquid stevia. The average American is used to sugary toppings, and cutting the habit is easier said than done. The toppings (granola, honey, chocolate, etc.) could make or break your efforts on a keto diet, and things may get worse if you do not control how much you add.
Some of the best options for toppings include chia or flax seeds which are not only low in carbs but also add fiber to your system. A few low-carb fruits or berries wouldn’t hurt, but too much would create an imbalance in your diet. Remember, the success of your keto diet boils down to your preferred yogurt and sweeteners. Different brands have different processing methods while others add more or less sugar, so you should read the labels before buying any keto yogurt.
How Much Yogurt Can You Have on The Keto Diet?
Generally, dairy products are a good source of calcium and protein. However, according to Dr. Hu, there have been controversies about the RDA for calcium in the US since it is much higher than in other countries (9). He adds that eating too much dairy may not be a good idea. For most women, 1-3 servings per day are enough, but remember people are different so what works for some may not work for others, so consult an expert before you start.
So, what is the best yogurt for keto diet? The best yogurt for people on a low-carb diet is often said to be the one that contains fat. Avoid non-fat yogurt brands – experts recommend unflavoured whole milk yogurt to low-fat and nonfat yogurts, which have more carbs (2).
Many people love frozen yogurt because it is sweet. One serving may contain more than 35 grams of carbohydrates, partly due to the added sugar and toppings. It would be best to avoid some foods such as frozen yogurt on keto diet since they contain a lot of sugar.
The keto diet is a delicate meal plan, and every element, including the keto diet yogurt, directly influences the outcome. Enjoying a cup of yogurt with its creamy sweetness is great, but if you want to burn excess body fat on a keto diet, you need to eat keto yogurt alongside other low-carb foods. Sadly, many people lose track while others simply forget to count their daily calories or carbs. It would be better to check the label before selecting the appropriate low-carbohydrate yogurt that will help you reach ketosis for your weight loss journey. Better still, seek assistance from an experienced nutritionist or fitness expert.
If you are interested in healthy meal plans, you may be curious about other methods of supporting your body health. Supplement a proper meal plan with some exercise and take up this 20 Min Full Body Workout at Home.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- A high-protein diet induces sustained reductions in appetite, ad libitum caloric intake, and body weight despite compensatory changes in diurnal plasma leptin and ghrelin concentrations (2005, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Choosing the Right Yogurt for a Low-Carb Diet (2020, verywellfit.com)
- Confused by Dairy-Free Yogurts? A Dietitian Is Here to Help (2019, menshealth.com)
- Dietary protein to maximize resistance training: a review and examination of protein spread and change theories (2012, jissn.biomedcentral.com)
- How Many Grams of Carbs Per Day Should You Eat on Keto? (2021, perfectketo.com)
- How To Choose The Best Low-Carb Yogurt, According To Nutritionists (2020, womenshealthmag.com)
- How to Make Yogurt (n.d, cooking.nytimes.com)
- Is Greek yogurt good for you? (2018, medicalnewstoday.com)
- Is low-fat or full-fat the better choice for dairy products? (n.d, health.harvard.edu)
- Ketosis (n.d, webmd.com)
- NEW SUGARFREE SYRUPS NOW IN WOOLIES (2020, reddit.com)
- Plain yogurt (n.d, eatthismuch.com)
- Skyr Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits (2020, verywellfit.com)
- The biggest benefits — and drawbacks — of eating Greek yogurt over ‘regular’ yogurt (2018,insider.com)
- Yogurts With More Sugar Than A Twinkie (2014, huffpost.com)