The scrumptious, creamy taste of Greek yogurt is most certainly a treat, but is it keto-friendly? Greek yogurt can be eaten in so many ways: blended with berries for added sweetness or garnished with coconut flakes and nuts for a crunch. With so many brands, flavors, and types to choose from, Greek yogurt can be confusing, especially on keto! While most Greek yogurt brands aren’t suitable for the keto diet, there are some you can choose from (or you can always make your own).
What is Yogurt?
Yogurt refers to milk or other combinations of dairy products that are merged with an active culture (beneficial bacteria).
Studies reveal the importance of this beneficial bacteria or probiotics for a healthy digestive system . Watch out for the words ‘heat-treated’ on the label, which suggests the yogurt was heated after it was cultured, killing beneficial bacteria.
The process of making yogurt involves heating milk and cooling it for fermentation. A concentration of about 2% fermentation culture is added to the yogurt. When you leave the yogurt for a few hours, the bacteria consume the lactose (sugar) and convert the sugar into lactic acid. With commercial yogurts, the milk also usually goes through certain manufacturing processes before it’s combined with the bacteria, such as pasteurization and homogenization.
The fermentation process is what gives yogurt its flavor, aroma, consistency, and health benefits. After the fermentation process, manufacturers often add other ingredients to create their products, such as fruits and sugar. The product is cooled and stored at refrigeration temperatures to slow microbiological and chemical degradation.
Yogurt is an ancient food that became prevalent with the dawn of agriculture when humans began commonly domesticating milk-producing animals like cows, camels, yaks, and goats. The first yogurt factory opened in 1932 in France! .
Different factors alter the nutrient composition of any yogurt, such as the source and type of milk solids, the strains of bacteria used in the fermentation, the duration of the fermentation process, and any added ingredients (like pesky sugar).
What is Greek Yogurt?
Greek yogurt is made by straining traditional yogurt to remove the whey (lactoserum) and obtain a thicker texture. After fermentation, the yogurt is typically placed in a fine mesh cloth and allowed to strain for several hours. Greek yogurt is often strained three times.
Greek yogurt is a concentrated fermented milk product with a low lactose content, making it a better option for those with dairy or lactose sensitivities and for those on keto since it’s lower in carbs. It’s also a great source of protein and fatty acids.
Can I Have Greek Yogurt on a Keto Diet?
Most Greek yogurts have lots of added sugar, but there are some trusted brands of keto yogurt you can choose from, such as YQ®, Peak®, and Two Good®. Chobani® full fat plain Greek yogurt is another keto-friendly option.
5 ounces (150 grams) of plain Greek yogurt is around 11 grams of protein and 5 grams of carbs. Yogurt has been shown to reduce appetite and promote feelings of fullness, so if you consume keto-friendly Greek yogurt in moderation, it’s an excellent keto choice! [3,4]
Tips For Selecting a Greek Yogurt on Keto
Look for Greek yogurts that:
- Are unsweetened or unflavored
- Are full fat
- Have active cultures
If you can’t have dairy or you’re doing an elimination diet due to autoimmune disease, you could try a coconut yogurt alternative!
Do You Enjoy Greek Yogurt on Keto?
Do you top yours with keto-friendly chocolate shavings and blackberries or a sprinkle of shaved brazil nuts and blackberries?
1) Markowiak, P., & Slizewska, K. (2017). Effects of probiotics, prebiotics, and synbiotics on human health. Nutrients, 9(9), 1021. doi: 10.3390/nu9091021
2) Yogurt in Nutrition Initiative. What is Yogurt? Process, History, and Frequently Asked Questions. https://www.yogurtinnutrition.com/what-yogurt/
3) Self Nutrition Data. Greek Style Yogurt Nutrition Facts & Calories, https://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/custom/590715/2
4) Tremblay, A., Doyon, C., & Sanchez, M. (2015). Impact of yogurt on appetite control, energy balance, and body composition. Nutrition Reviews, 73, 23-27. DOI: 10.1093/nutrit/nuv015
Steph Green is a writer, researcher, and singer/songwriter with a passion for all things wellness. In 2016, after four years of struggling with her own health problems and painful autoimmune disease, Steph developed a life-changing and extensive knowledge of keto, nutrition, and natural medicine. She continues on her healing journey and enjoys helping others along the way.