can you eat yogurt on a low-carb diet

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can you eat yogurt on a low-carb diet

The average person eats a diet that is very high in carbohydrates. There are many people today that believe this is driving the obesity epidemic.

For this reason, a lot of people are turning to a low-carb diet. Here we will take a look at some facts about eating yogurt on a low-carb diet.

All Yogurts Are Not Created Equal

a yogurt parfait in a glass

By most people’s standards yogurt is considered a health food. Unfortunately, however, all yogurts are not created the same. A typical serving of this food can give you almost half of the calcium you need for the day.

It is also a great source of magnesium, B complex, potassium, and zinc. Even so, when someone is trying to lose weight and using a low-carb style diet then the amount of carbohydrates and sugar contained in the food needs to be understood.

There are several different types of yogurt available at most supermarkets. These include full-fat versions as well as low-fat yogurt. There are plain and flavored styles along with Greek and frozen yogurt.

Each of these will have a different amount of carbs, sugar, and protein. A single serving of flavored yogurt can have almost 40 grams of net carbs.

With the average person who is following a low carb diet, like Atkins, trying to maintain an intake of 20 to 50 grams of carbs daily, then eating a single serving of flavored yogurt with 40 grams of carbs is usually not a good choice.

Because so many people have been taught for the last several decades that they should reduce fat, then many will turn to low-fat versions of this and other foods.

The fact is, however, that low-fat foods tend to be higher in carbs. The reason for this is that the food manufacturing companies want it to taste good and when you remove the fat you remove much of the flavor.

To resolve this problem they often add sugar and other additives that increase the number of carbs found in the food.

Low-Fat vs. Whole Fat Yogurt

raspberries in whole fat yogurt

Health experts will commonly recommend brands of yogurt that have no more than 23 g of carbs per serving. Even so, this is still high for those that are trying to follow a low-carb diet. That amount would mean consuming the entire day’s worth of carbs for some on an ultra low carb diet.

Even for those that are allowing themselves 50 grams of carbs, it would mean that they have consumed half of what they could for the entire day.

Manufacturers want to sell their products and to do this they want their food to taste good. When they remove the fat they remove much of the taste.

To accommodate this issue they add in sugar and other ingredients that increase the number of carbs in the food because it enhances the flavor.

Whole fat versions of yogurt don’t need to have sugar added because the fat gives it a good flavor. For this reason, it is usually the best choice for those on a low-carb diet.

Avoid Flavored Yogurt

A guy pours yogurt with added sugars, something to avoid if you're low carb

Regardless of whether it is a low-fat version or full-fat yogurt, the ones that have added flavors have also added sugar which will increase the number of total carbs.

These versions of yogurt will also have a number of other additives which are generally considered unhealthy. When checking the labels it can be misleading because you may not see a lot of information about sugar.

That’s because they’re using other sweeteners such as fructose corn syrup, and other types of sweeteners and chemicals.

Not only do these added sweeteners increase the number of carbs but some have been linked to obesity. It is not fully understood exactly how these sweeteners interact in the body but increasing evidence suggests that they tend to be highly addictive.

These sweeteners tend to give a quick rush and then the person comes down from that and feels the need to eat more. This leads to a cycle of consuming too many sweeteners, carbs, and calories.

Greek Style Yogurt

a bowl of greek yogurt with onions on it

This is probably the most recommended type of yogurt when someone is following a low-carb diet. It’s high in protein and low in carbs. In fact, a serving can contain as little as 6 grams of carbs.

That is significantly lower than many other types of yogurt available at the supermarket. Eating this type of yogurt will mean that you get a good amount of protein which will help you feel full and yet you won’t be taking in too many carbs.

Another good point about this type of yogurt is the way in which it’s made. It’s strained in a way that lowers the amount of lactose in the yogurt as well as the carbs.

This means that it might be suitable for those who are lactose intolerant. Greek yogurt is typically lower in the amount of sodium it contains as well. Its high-fat content works well with a low-carb diet which typically calls for eating more fat.

When someone consumes more fat and fewer carbs they will enter a state of ketosis which helps the person burn body fat.

Total Carbs Versus Net Carbs

yogurt on a spoon

Some people who are following a low-carb diet count the net carbs instead of the total ones. What this means is that they are subtracting the amount of fiber from the total carbs listed and that leaves them with net carbs.

Fiber is something that is considered good for the body and it isn’t absorbed by it. When it comes to yogurt, however, there really isn’t a lot of fiber in it.

For this reason, the total carbs and net carbs will be almost the same.

Recommended Daily Carb Count

The obvious reason for paying attention to which type of yogurt you eat is so that you do not consume too many carbs for the type of diet that you’re on.

Standard dietitians will typically recommend that you consume 135 grams of carbs daily. But typical low-carb diets suggest consuming 20g to 50g daily.

This means that every gram counts and that is why you will want to select the type of yogurt with the fewest total carbs.


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