Yogurt is a staple for breakfast (and snack!). And while yogurt bowls can provide an opportunity to get healthy foods, such as fruits and nuts, they also provide a base for high-carb toppings, such as granola. Here’s what you need to know about yogurt if you’re on a keto diet or interested in another low-carb diet.
Nutritional values of yogurt
Yogurt contains carbs because it contains lactose, a type of sugar found in milk, as research notes.
One look at the case of dairy products and you will see that there are many varieties of yogurts (such as traditional, Greek, skyr), made with different milks (cow, non-dairy), fat content (whole , 2%, non-fat) and flavors (plain, fruit, dessert). The amount of lactose also varies depending on the type of yogurt.
Macronutrients in yogurt
Here’s the nutritional value of a 6-ounce container of plain, whole-milk yogurt, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA):
- Carbohydrates in yogurt: 8 grams (g)
- Net carbs in yogurt: 8 grams
Net carbs are a measurement determined by total carbs minus fiber and sugar alcohols, according to Atkins. Net carbs provide a rough estimate of the amount of carbohydrates that are digested and therefore affect blood sugar. (Some fiber and sugar alcohols are also partially digested, according to the American Diabetes Association.)
Net carbs are not an official macronutrient (like carbohydrates, fats, and proteins) with a legal definition by the United States Food and Drug Administration, but people on the keto diet often use this number as a guide for help them stay within their carb range. .
Since plain yogurt does not contain fiber or sugar alcohols, net carbs are the same as total carbs.
- Fat in yogurt: 5.5g
- Proteins in yogurt: 6g
Other Nutrients in Yogurt
Yogurt provides the minerals calcium and phosphorus, and dairy-based yogurts provide B vitamins such as riboflavin, according to Harvard Health. Riboflavin helps metabolize food into energy, and another B vitamin, B12, is necessary for maintaining energy, as the National Institutes of Health point out.
Can You Eat Yogurt on Keto?
Yes. But because the lactose in milk breaks down into sugar that will go into your bloodstream, “if you’re going to eat yogurt, it will need to be somewhat minimized in your diet,” says Scott Keatley, RDN, of Keatley Medical Nutrition. Therapy in New York.
Read the nutrition label on your yogurt and determine which serving is your carb limit. It’s also important to spread your carbs throughout the day to stay in ketosis, he says. Also, make sure the yogurt toppings aren’t high in carbs, like traditional grain-based granola.
So what type of yogurt can I eat on keto? Opt for plain, whole-milk yogurt, says Diana Rodgers, RD, of Sustainable Dish in Concord, Massachusetts. She recommends it with “a handful of berries and nuts as a snack or dessert.”
When it comes to other types of yogurt, you might be wondering, is Greek yogurt suitable for keto? The answer is yes, especially if you need a higher source of protein. Be sure to choose plain Greek yogurt. This type of yogurt has slightly less carbs (7g per 6oz container), has more fat, and has more than double the protein (15g), according to the USDA.
Is yogurt healthy?
Yes. Many researches suggest that yogurt offers health benefits. A review of over 100 studies spanning almost 40 years suggests that consumption of “fermented dairy products”, which includes yogurt, is associated with a reduced risk of breast cancer, colorectal cancer and type 2 diabetes; healthier weights; and better heart, bone, and gastrointestinal health. Fermentation creates health-promoting compounds that can help lower blood pressure, boost the immune system, and act as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent, research shows.
Keto Recipes with Yogurt
When you need inspiration for incorporating yogurt in a delicious, keto-friendly way, check out these recipes:
- The Best Low Carb Keto Yogurt Recipe If you want to make your own almond milk yogurt, Wholesome Yum’s recipe will teach you how. Otherwise, skip the keto yogurt steps and add its recommended toppings: hemp hearts, sliced almonds, coconut chips, berries, and sugar-free jam to store-bought yogurt.
- Low Carb ‘Yogurt’ Hey Keto Mama’s recipe is perfect if your carb limit is tighter and regular yogurt doesn’t cut it. Rather than using yogurt, this combines sour cream and heavy whipping cream for a high-fat, low-carb, low-protein “yogurt.”
- Chocolate Strawberry Greek Yogurt The Blissfully Low Carb version of a yogurt bowl combines Greek yogurt with chocolate, strawberries and flavorings like monk fruit for a decadent dessert in a bowl.
Yogurt can fit into a keto diet, but watch your portion sizes, read labels to make sure you’re getting a plain, unflavored version, and add low-carb toppings, such as berries and nuts or seeds.