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Is Yogurt Keto? How To Enjoy Yogurt On A Keto Diet 2024
When starting a ketogenic diet, you may wonder if yogurt is allowed or should be limited. You may also wonder if yogurt is good for weight loss. Yogurt, whether from a cow or a nut, will contain healthy fat, which is good for ketogenic diet followers. Yogurt contains healthful probiotics, which are foundational for gut health. However, yogurt also contains a certain amount of carbs, depending on the source of the yogurt, which you may need to be mindful of. This doesn’t necessarily mean avoiding yogurt but watching your portion sizes and frequency of intake.
Let’s explore this further, including how to use other foods in yogurts, such as the best MCT oils, different types of berries, and various nut butter.
Is Yogurt Keto?
Yes, Yogurt is keto-friendly, and it is a great choice for you when on a keto diet. Many yogurts include a good amount of fat and minimal carbs, but you should read the labels to confirm that a certain type and brand of yogurt satisfies your keto requirements.
Can You Eat Yogurt On Keto?
The short answer is yes, you can definitely enjoy yogurt on a keto diet. The goal for keto is to increase fat, while at the same time, minimizing carbs to around 10% of total daily calories. That being said, this is not a hard and fast rule, meaning, this percentage is just an estimate – it may need to be tweaked depending on the person. Many yogurts offer a decent amount of fat and relatively few carbs, but you’ll want to check the labels to ensure that a specific type and brand of yogurt meets your keto needs.
You may also feel comfortable eating more or less yogurt depending on how many other carbs you’ve consumed that day. Make smart choices when consuming yogurt – add toppings that will increase healthy fats, such as nuts, and choose brands that don’t have any added sugar.
Yogurt Nutritional Profile
When we think of yogurt, we think of traditional dairy yogurt, made from cow’s milk. There are various versions of dairy yogurt: full-fat, reduced-fat, fat-free, sweetened, and unsweetened–not to mention vegan/non-dairy yogurts which are made from nuts, seeds, and even grains like oats. It goes without saying that the fat content, as well as the ingredients in the yogurt, are going to change the nutritional profile of a given yogurt. So, let’s look at the nutritional breakdown of an average cup of dairy yogurt while factoring in these differences:
The following applies to one serving of dairy yogurt (one cup):
- Between 60-150 calories. Again this will vary based on the fat content, protein content, and any added ingredients.
- Between 4-15 grams of net carbs, in the form of lactose (the naturally-occurring sugar in dairy). Plain Greek yogurt ferments longer, and in the process, loses some of its lactose. This makes Greek yogurt easier to digest for those who are lactose-intolerant and becomes a low-carb yogurt choice.
- Low-fat Greek yogurt also tends to be healthier with regard to protein. It contains more protein (10-20 grams a serving) than regular yogurt which contains about half that amount.
- The fat content will depend entirely on the fat content of the milk used: Full-fat, low-fat, or non-fat. For reference, full-fat yogurt has between 4-8 grams of fat per serving. If you opt for low-fat or non-fat, the count will be lower, but you may also lose some of the flavor. Some yogurt brands increase the carbs/sugar to compensate for the lack of fat, so be mindful and look at the nutritional facts on the label.
- Dairy yogurt also provides vitamins and minerals, such as magnesium, phosphorus, calcium, vitamin D, and B12. The amount will vary depending on the brand.
- Probiotics are a natural product for making yogurt (dairy or plant-based). The fermentation process used to create yogurt helps to culture and grow beneficial bacteria. These bacteria help to replenish and feed the bacteria in our gut, enhancing our gut microbiome and overall health. Since bacteria grow by the billions, it’s hard to get an exact count, and each yogurt brand will have different strains of bacteria. However, some common bacteria found in most yogurts include Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium lactis.
Best Yogurt For Keto Diet
We recommend the 5 best keto yogurt options you should eat on the keto diet.
Coconut Milk Yogurt
Coconut is used to make coconut oil (and MCT oil) as well as yogurts and milk, all of which are recommended to be included in a ketogenic diet. This is due to coconut offering a healthy source of fat which can reduce inflammation while helping the body switch into ketosis. Just be sure to choose a yogurt version that is unsweetened, to avoid unnecessary sugar.
This is the most well-known low-carb keto yogurt, Greek yogurt ferments longer than regular yogurt, which not only increases the amount of beneficial bacteria, but makes it easier to digest and lower in sugar than other forms of yogurt. You can choose from full-fat, low-fat, or no-fat versions of unsweetened Greek yogurt, but may opt for full-fat to reach your keto goals.
Almond Milk Yogurt
Almonds can be used to create an almond-based yogurt. Almond yogurt provides omega-3 which offers healthy increases in fat for the keto diet, as well as many other health benefits. Additionally, almonds contain protein and some carbohydrates, although one cup is not likely to exceed the carb limit on a standard keto diet.
Cashew Milk Yogurt
Like almonds, cashews can also be turned into yogurt. Cashews offer a naturally sweet taste that may make consuming it more enjoyable for some people. Similar to almond yogurt, cashew yogurt offers a good ratio of healthy fats to carbohydrates, suitable for a keto diet. Just be sure to get unsweetened yogurt so that you’re not getting more sugar than you need to.
Full-Fat Plain Yogurt
For those who want to stick to dairy, it’s perfectly suitable to opt for full-fat plain dairy yogurt. This means no, or very little fat has been removed from the milk that was used to make the yogurt, providing an adequate amount of fat for the keto diet. “Plain” refers to unsweetened with no added fruit on the bottom.
Keto Diet Yogurt: What Can You Add?
Nut butter such as peanut butter, almond butter, and cashew butter can be a wonderful addition to any cup of yogurt (the same is true for seed butter). The consistency helps to thicken up yogurt while the flavor can be a nice addition to the yogurt as well. Most importantly, nut butter helps to increase the fat content. Just be mindful of portions as nuts also contain some carbs.
Raspberries are high in antioxidants, fiber, and flavor and blend in beautifully with yogurt. They are low glycemic and contain relatively little sugar, which makes them a perfect addition to keto yogurt.
Blackberries And Blueberries
Similar to raspberries, blackberries and blueberries are low in sugar, but high in nutritive value, offering a boost of flavor, sweetness, and health to any cup of yogurt. These berries in particular contain anthocyanins, antioxidants that give fruit and veggies their dark color, and various health benefits.
Seeds And Nuts
If nut and seed butter aren’t your thing, you can try whole nuts and seeds. Throwing a few nuts or seeds (such as pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, walnuts, etc.) into your yogurt helps to increase the fat content while adding texture and taste. Just don’t overdo it.
MCT oil is derived from coconuts and is often used as a supplement while on the keto diet. It enhances coffee, smoothies, baked goods, and of course yogurt with more healthy fat. Try mixing one teaspoon into your yogurt and increase the dosage based on tolerance.
Honey Or Maple Syrup
Generally speaking, all forms of sugar should be avoided or limited on the keto diet, including honey and maple syrup. However, as long as you’re having small amounts, it should not impact your carb load too much. If you are having trouble eating plain yogurt (it can taste sour), add just half a teaspoon of raw honey or maple syrup to enhance the flavor.
Tips For Eating Keto-Friendly Yogurts
Consider Adding MCT Oil
While MCT oil is traditionally used in coffee to make bulletproof coffee or added to smoothies, it can be easily added and mixed into any yogurt to help enhance the texture, flavor, and fat content. This makes MCT oil an ideal pantry staple while on the keto diet.
Sugar needs to be kept to a minimum on the keto diet in order to stay low-carb. Sugar comes in many forms – agave, honey, maple syrup, rice syrup, molasses, fruit juice, etc. In fact, there are dozens of sweeteners with different names that, whatever you call them, behave the same as sugar does in the body. When choosing a yogurt, be sure to choose versions that are unsweetened and that do not contain any sugar-like additives.
Add More Fats
Top off your yogurt with chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, almonds, or other forms of healthy fats. These tiny but nutritious foods help boost healthy fat to reach your keto goals while keeping the carbs minimal. As a bonus, nuts and seeds also provide fiber, minerals, and vitamins.
Include Colorful Berries
Berries can help to naturally sweeten or liven up yogurt and are acceptable to include on the keto diet because they are lower in sugar than most fruits. Berries, especially dark ones, contain higher concentrations of antioxidants and nutrients which can help improve a variety of health conditions. Consider raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, and goji berries to mix into your yogurt.
Enjoy In Moderation
Because yogurt has some carbs in addition to fats, it’s important not to overdo it. By all means, enjoy a cup of yogurt a day, or even two if your keto diet allows. However, by increasing the yogurt, you potentially increase the carbs as well, which might interfere with ketosis. Be sure to read the labels to know exactly how many carbs you’re getting in the yogurt you buy.
Most yogurts, whether made from cow’s milk, nuts, or seeds, are acceptable in a ketogenic diet. Because different nuts and seeds have different nutritional makeups, and dairy is in a class all by itself, there’s no one set measurement for how much fat, protein, or carbs you’ll get in yogurt – it will depend on the brand and type of yogurt. Always check the ingredients list and nutritional facts on the yogurt container which will give you a breakdown of the macronutrients, micronutrients, and bacteria in that particular cup of yogurt.
+ 5 sources
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- Burton-Freeman, B., Sandhu, A.K. and Indika Edirisinghe (2016). Red Raspberries and Their Bioactive Polyphenols: Cardiometabolic and Neuronal Health Links. [online] 7(1), pp.44–65. doi:https://doi.org/10.3945/an.115.009639.