After starting a keto diet, I wondered if I would be able to still indulge in creamy unsweetened yogurt. and here's what I found.
Unsweetened yogurt, such as Greek, may be eaten in moderation while following a keto diet. Plain or sweetened yogurts should be avoided due to their high sugar content. Certain brands like Fage or Two Good are lower carb than others, with 3 to 5 grams of net carbs per 150-gram serving.
One of my favorite snacks growing up was grabbing one of those sugar-filled yo-plait yogurt cups or frozen go-gurts… I guess that explains why I grew up such a chubby child, but I digress.
In this article, I'll go over which yogurts are more keto-friendly than others, how many carbs are in unsweetened yogurt, the different kinds of yogurts, and how they rank on the keto-friendly scale, how yogurt may benefit weight loss, and much more.
Is Unsweetened Yogurt Keto Compliant?
When it comes to unsweetened yogurt, there are so many different varieties. One brand of yogurt may be keto-friendly, while another brand may not be.
Another factor you have to consider is the portion size listed on the back of the tub. You may think one brand has half as many carbs as another, but only to see that the serving size listed is half that of the other brand.
Confusing right? I've always wondered how they come up with what a “serving” is.One thing's for sure; you want to stay away from 99% of the flavored yogurt that you find at your local grocery store. Most of the yogurts on the shelves are filled with sugary fruit blends and other sweeteners.
How Many Calories And Carbs In Unsweetened Yogurt
To illustrate how many calories and carbs are in unsweetened yogurt, let’s take Fage Greek Yogurt and Dannon Plain Yogurt as an example.
When it comes to calories, the higher fat percentage the yogurt, the more calories it will generally contain. Per gram, fat contains 9 calories, while carbohydrates and protein are only 4 calories per gram.
- Fage 0% (200 grams) 105 calories, 0g fat, 6g carbohydrates, 20g protein
- Fage 2% (200 grams) 140 calories, 4g fat, 6g carbs, 20g protein
- Fage 5% (200 grams) 190 calories, 10g fat, 6g carbs, 18g protein
- Dannon 0% (225 grams) 120 calories, 0g fat, 18g carbohydrates, 10g protein
- Dannon Low-fat (225 grams) 150 calories, 3.5g fat, 19g carbs, 11g protein
- Dannon Whole-milk (225 grams) 150 calories, 8g fat, 11g carbs, 8g protein
Does Unsweetened Yogurt Still Have Sugar?
Unsweetened yogurt has sugar, but the sugars are naturally occurring sugars found in dairy called lactose. It's the same kind of sugar you would find in a glass of milk or any other dairy product.
Lactose is what's responsible for giving specific individuals abdominal pain, gas, and sometimes even diarrhea.
We call those individuals “lactose intolerant.”
People who cannot tolerate lactose have very few or no enzymes, specifically lactase, that help with the breakdown of lactose.
Lactose is a sugar molecule made up of two smaller sugar molecules, glucose, and galactose. For us to properly digest lactose, the enzyme lactase must split lactose into the two smaller sugar molecules.
Is Unsweetened Yogurt Good For Weight Loss?
Unsweetened yogurt can be a tool in the weight loss tool bet, especially if you enjoy eating unsweetened yogurt.
One of the main benefits of including yogurt in your diet is that it may aid in weight loss through increased satiety. 1
Even though some hunger is to be expected when attempting to lose weight, if you can better manage your hunger, you will have an increased chance and successfully sticking to your diet. 2
Yogurt, especially Greek yogurt, is a very thick and high-protein variety of yogurt. In a study, women who consumed the high-protein Greek yogurt felt full the longest, and therefore less hungry later on in the evening. 3
Other Benefits Of Unsweetened Yogurt
Aside from yogurt potentially helping with weight loss and satiety, yogurt is rich in essential nutrients, high in protein, and a good source of probiotics.
Although, kefir may have a leg up yogurt in terms of potency and diversity containing up to 61 strains of bacteria and yeasts.4
- Read: Is Kefir Keto Friendly?
Rich in nutrients
Yogurt is exceptionally high in calcium, B vitamins, and trace minerals.
A single cup of yogurt provides 49% of the recommended daily intake (RDI) of calcium. Calcium is a mineral important for healthy teeth and bones. 5
Also, yogurt contains the essential minerals phosphorus, magnesium, and potassium. Electrolytes, especially sodium and potassium, play a crucial role in helping regulate fluid balance during carbohydrate restriction, as while following a ketogenic diet.
Having a deficiency in electrolytes may be the reason you're feeling tired on keto or suffering from the dreaded “keto flu.”
High in protein
Protein gets demonized amongst the keto community, but most people end up realizing they are actually protein deficient.
It's not uncommon for individuals to be given the generic advice of following a “specific percentage” of protein, but that's the wrong way to go about it.Protein should ideally be calculated based on your lean body mass, which is your total body weight minus your fat weight. By calculating protein based on lean body mass, you'll be taking the specific individual (you in this case) into account.
It wouldn't make much sense for an active, athletic male weighing 180 lbs and eating 1800 calories to eat the same amount of protein as a sedentary female who weighs 140 lbs and also eating 1800 calories.
Which would happen if they stuck to a “percentage.”
For more information about how to accurately calculate your protein and macros, head over to the keto macro calculator.
Protein has also been shown to:
- Increase energy expenditure 6
- Provide greater satiety 7
- Helps with weight management, glycemic regulation, and bone density 8
Want to learn additional ways to get calcium while following a ketogenic diet? Check out my article.
5 Uses For Unsweetened Yogurt
Unsweetened yogurt may also act as a versatile ingredient or addition to some recipes.
Crust for proteins
Using yogurt mixed with your favorite spices and herbs is a great way to achieve a crispy, tasty crust on foods such as baked salmon or baked chicken.
You may have heard of restaurants using milk, half and half, or heavy whipping cream (HWC) to make eggs fluffier and tastier. Yogurt can be used in the same way to achieve light, fluffier, and more flavorful eggs.
Want to know other ways to use HWC on keto?
Sour cream substitute
While sour cream is keto-friendly, you can use Greek yogurt as you would for a higher-protein sour cream alternative.
Frozen yogurt pops
Do you need a great idea for a low-calorie, low carbohydrate, high-protein dessert, or snack? I'll list one of my favorites down below in the recipes section.
Swirled into soup
Mixing in a little unsweetened yogurt into a soup can help cool it down and provide that creamy tang to soups. I like to make myself a keto-friendly chili and top it with some greek yogurt for added flavor.
How To Flavor Unsweetened Yogurt
Unless you like the taste of plain yogurt, you may be wondering how to best flavor it for consumption now that you're buying the unflavored kind.
Here are a few of my favorite ways to use unsweetened yogurt.
Want an easy and keto-friendly dish to bring to your next party or tailgate? Mix a packet of Ranch powder into some Greek yogurt to taste and pair it with some veggies or pork rinds.
An easy snack or dessert is simply mixing in your favorite sugar-free jello flavor to make a delicious keto treat.
Mini dessert bowl
I like to make a small cup of Greek yogurt and top it with a few berries, usually blueberries, and drizzle it with Walden Farms Pancake Syrup.
Never heard of Walden Farms? Learn about Walden farms products and keto.
Need I say more?
I stole this idea from Trader Joes, but mixing in a little Greek yogurt into your favorite guacamole gives it that tang, similar to lime, while also making it much creamier.
What's The Best Yogurt For Keto?
When it comes to the best yogurt for keto, the number of carbs and sugar, given the same quantity, differs significantly among brands and types of milk used.
Contrary to popular belief, lower-fat versions of yogurt do not significantly differ in the number of carbohydrates as the higher or full-fat versions contain. I was confused about this at first because most other foods will replace the fat with additional sugars.
The reasons different brands will vary in carbohydrates mostly comes down to the manufacturing process.
Also, with additional yogurts hitting the shelves, we have a variety of non-dairy options that are too low in carbohydrates.
Some alternative yogurts that are non-dairy include:
- Kitehill Almond Yogurt
- Forager Cashewgurt
- So Delicious Coconut Milk Yogurt
I usually stick with Kite Hill plain almond yogurt or Fage Plain Greek yogurt, but that's just me.
Remember, always check the nutrition label and make sure you don't grab the sweetened varieties by mistake.Also, PLAIN doesn't equate to UNSWEETENED, make sure it says both plain and unsweetened, or at the very least unsweetened.
Been there, done that.
The Most Keto-Friendly Yogurts I've Found
If you want the MOST keto-friendly yogurts, I've come across two in particular, but they aren't as widely available as other brands of yogurt.The two yogurts with the least amount of carbohydrates are Yoplait YQ and Two Good brand Yogurt. Both yogurts are made using ultra-filtered milk, which helps reduce the carbohydrate count.
The Yoplait YQ yogurt contains 2 grams of carbohydrates per 150g serving while Two Good has 3g of carbs per 150g serving.
Yoplait YQ does have flavored yogurts, but those are generally not keto-friendly as they have added sugar.
On the other hand, Two Good yogurt has a variety of flavors and is sweetened with stevia, making it my personal favorite when it comes to keto. Another option is Oikos triple zero Greek yogurt, but it is slightly higher in carbohydrates.
What's The Difference Between Yogurt And Greek Yogurt?
In terms of being more keto-friendly, unsweetened Greek yogurt wins hands down versus unsweetened plain yogurt.
On average, Greek yogurt is strained three more times than regular yogurt. This additional straining process is what gives Greek yogurt a thicker consistency, higher protein, and reduced amount of sugar cup for cup.
In general, Greek yogurt is also a tad more expensive since more milk goes into making each cup. However, when it comes to how to get calcium on keto, regular yogurt has nearly twice as much calcium compared to Greek yogurt.
When it comes to being keto-friendly, Greek yogurt will have about half as much carbohydrates compared to its non-Greek counterpart.
Keto Friendly Recipes Using Greek Yogurt
Now that we've established that you can include some Greek yogurt in moderation while following a ketogenic diet, here are some ideas to get those creative juices flowing.
Greek Yogurt Pancakes
Adding Greek Yogurt to pancakes, keto-friendly pancakes to be exact, adds a beautiful creaminess and extra protein to this pancake recipe.
Photo and recipe courtesy of Healthy Recipes Blog
Keto Blueberry Muffins
Greek yogurt helps this muffin recipe, making it extra fluffy and tender. I use blueberries, and so does the recipe, but you can use any berry you like.
Photo and recipe courtesy of All Day I Dream About Food
Sugar-Free Blackberry Yogurt Popsicles
As I alluded to above, Greek Yogurt can be used to make keto-friendly desserts, whether as a popsicle or in ice cream form.
Photo and recipe courtesy of Keto Diet App
Is Frozen Yogurt Keto Friendly?
We've established that unsweetened yogurt may be eaten in moderation while following a ketogenic diet, but that may have opened a can of worms.
Inevitably there are some of you wondering if you can eat frozen yogurt now?
Is frozen yogurt keto friendly? Most frozen yogurts are not keto-friendly since they have been sweetened with added sugars. However, if you have access to certain chains such as Menchies or D'Lites, then you may be in luck.Unfortunately, most frozen yogurt, even “plain” frozen yogurt in the form of soft-serve Is loaded with added sugars. The same goes for yogurts listed as “low-carb,” since this just means “lower” carb relative to the high-sugar varieties.
Unless the establishment offers nutritional information for their yogurt, I would probably avoid it.
Your best bet is to utilize the recipe above or find another recipe by googling one or scouring Pinterest.
Unsweetened yogurt may be eaten while following a ketogenic diet.
However, some yogurts are more keto-friendly than others.
When choosing an unsweetened yogurt, make sure it clearly states unsweetened yogurt as “plain” yogurt may still be sweetened.
Greek yogurt, especially Yoplait YQ and Two Good brand yogurts, will have considerably fewer carbohydrates than plain unsweetened yogurt.
You may also find non-dairy yogurts such as Kite Hill Almond Yogurt or Foragers Cashewgurt if you happen to be lactose intolerant or want to change it up.