Low carb yogurt options are available. But what’s the best keto yogurt? Should you go no-fat, 2%, or whole fat? And is Greek style preferred?
Is Yogurt Low Carb?
If you look at the nutrition labels, plain yogurt carbs are anywhere from 7 to 12 grams of carbs. And full fat Greek style is the one with the least amount of carbs.
When following a strict ketogenic diet, the amount of carbs in yogurt may not fit into your daily macros. However, new ultrafiltered products have emerged that list even lower carbs than plain Greek yogurt carbs.
When you click on the “shopping” tab while doing a Google search for either the terms “low carb yogurt” or “keto yogurt,” you’ll find the following brands prominently displaying sugar content:
- Two Good by Light & Fit
- YQ by Yoplait
If you dig a little deeper, you’ll find the following information:
- Flavored Two Good yogurt has 3 grams of carbs with 2 grams of sugar
- Unflavored Plain YQ has 2 grams of carbs with 1 gram of sugar
However, you’ll have to add flavor and sweetener to the plain YQ yogurt. So is Light & Fit ‘Two Good’ the best low carb yogurt option? And does it fall it line with the keto diet?
In terms of being low sugar, yes, it does. But the rest of the ingredients may not be keto friendly. The reason why will be explained in a bit….
Keto-Friendly Plain Whole Milk Yogurt
If you’re eating the average cup of yogurt from a convenience store, it’s probably not keto-friendly. But there’s good news about eating plain yogurts….
The method of figuring out carbohydrates in fermented products is not the most accurate. The method done is “by difference”.
The difference method adds up all the parts of the product. This includes water, fats, and proteins. It is then assumed the rest of the content are carbohydrates.
But in finished cultured dairy, the active bacteria are busy at work consuming the lactose for energy.
Lactose is then converted to lactic acid which is NOT a carbohydrate. The bacteria eat almost all of the carbohydrates!
Thus, it can be assumed according to this article that half a cup of plain whole milk yogurt contains 2 grams of carbohydrates.
For a full cup of no-sugar added cultured whole fat dairy, expect approximately 4 grams of carbohydrates.
This nutritional data was tested and proven in a laboratory by Dr. Goldberg, co-author of the Go-Diet.
And by the way, the reason cultured dairy tastes sour is precisely because of the bacteria eating the sugar.
More on Low Carb Yogurt Brands
One brand that appears to be going after the low carb keto trend is Kroger. It has a line called “Carb Master.” Like Light & Fit’s Two Good, it also contains just 2 grams of sugar. This makes it one of the brands lowest in carbs.
If your main concern is carb counts, Kroger’s Carb Master seems like a good choice. The carbs in this product is 5 grams per 8 oz. serving.
Chobani brand’s Less Sugar Greek yogurt contains 9 grams of sugar per serving. And it’s a low carb yogurt Walmart sells.
Fit & Active’s plain nonfat contains 16 grams of sugar. That’s a lot of sugar for a little cup. However, the parent company, Dannon, offers a low carb option called “Two Good” which has only 2 grams of sugar per cup.
Is Greek Yogurt Keto?
Is Greek-style yogurt better if you’re following a low carb diet?
Greek yogurt has a thicker mouthfeel. And it’s usually more sour and has the whey protein removed. You can also strain regular plain yogurt yourself to remove the whey and obtain the thick Greek style.
Generally speaking, the carbs in Greek yogurt are lowest. But you still need to look at the labels for any added sugar when assessing brands of low carb yogurt.
Trader Joe’s whole milk plain Greek has 12 grams of net carbs with 10 grams of sugar. Vanilla Greek by Light & Fit contains 9 grams carbs with 7 from sugar.
However, the Light & Fit product adds sugar whereas the plain Greek by Trader Joe’s does not. So Trader Joe’s is the low carb winner because the nutritional label is likely not an accurate calculation for carbs.
Let’s throw in a brand that has even less sugar: Dannon brand’s Oikos Triple Zero is a low carb Greek yogurt brand. It has just 6 grams of sugar but they add chicory root fiber which brings total carbs up towards 20 grams.
Which is the best yogurt for keto? Clearly, the one with the least amount of carbs, right. And the best one should be sugar free too.
Remember that full fat Greek style will have about 4 grams of carbs since most sugar has been consumed by the culture. That makes it keto friendly!
Ingredients in Low Sugar Yogurt
The yogurt with the least amount of sugar isn’t necessarily the healthiest. Just because one brand has more sugar doesn’t mean it’s not keto-friendly. This is because the bacteria in the finished product will gobble up most of the sugars.
Still, if you’re buying strictly based on carb counts, keep the following in mind….
Finding a commercial brand with 0 net grams of carbs or 0 grams of sugar is close to impossible. Besides sugar, you should also look at the amount of fat in the nutrition label. If you want to burn your own body fat for energy, you’ve got to eat a lot of dietary fat.
And whole milk dairy products have the least amount of naturally occurring sugar. So full fat yogurt is always better than low fat when it comes to keto.
That’s why Trader Joe’s Greek Whole Milk Plain is one of the best choices. Although a serving lists 12 grams carbohydrates with 10 grams of sugar, it contains 22 grams of fat. But the carb info is inaccurate because the culture consumes most of the sugar. So true carbs is more like 4 grams.
Saturated Fat in Yogurt
As a nutritional side note, 14 of those 22 grams are saturated fat. Many doctors suggest limiting saturated fat intake. Fourteen grams is 70% of the suggested daily limit of saturated fat.
But some nutrition experts think natural, saturated fats are healthy smart fats. If you’re concerned about saturated fat and are lucky enough to be able to shop at Trader Joe’s, the chain has a low-fat Greek option.
Say No to Nonfat
If you’re on a keto diet, do not eat nonfat yogurt. Even if it’s ultra low in sugar.
When you have no other option besides nonfat, add some heavy whipping cream, cream cheese or sour cream to it. For an extra dose of healthy fats, you can add small amounts of chia seeds.
Is Low Sugar Yogurt Good For Keto?
Just because the label shows low sugar doesn’t mean it’s good for you.
Compare Trader Joe’s whole milk Greek yogurt to other low sugar yogurts. It’s 5 times higher in sugar than Kroger Carb Master and Light & Fit Two Good.
But if the rest of your food intake for the day keeps you in ketosis, TJ’s is a good choice. For two reasons. First, as mentioned, it’s got plenty of fat. Fat helps keep you full. And it’s a good source of fuel for your body.
And secondly, Trader Joe’s is more natural. It contains just milk, cream and cultures. Compare that to the Kroger Carb Master product. It contains the following ingredients: modified corn starch, glycerine, natural flavor, salt, gelatin, tricalcium phosphate, pectin, agar, cultured dextrose, sucralose, acesulfame potassium.
You don’t need to have a degree in nutrition to realize Kroger’s is far from all-natural. In fact, it contains artificial sweeteners.
The Light & Fit product is better. The ingredients in the Plain ‘Two Good’ Greek Lowfat Yogurt are: Cultured Reduced Fat Milk, Water, Less Than 1%: Tapioca Starch, Lemon Juice Concentrate, Gellan Gum, Vitamin D3, Active Yogurt Cultures L. bulgaricus & S. thermophilus. But you’ll need to add fat to make it keto friendly.
There’s something interesting about Dannon’s Oikos Greek Triple Zero option. It’s triple zero Greek options contains chicory root fiber. This reduces the net carbs per serving to eight. So the actual amount of sugar is much less because of the cultures.
However, Dannon’s Triple Zero has no fat. If you’re eating keto, approximately 70-75% of your calories should come from fat. If you’re going to eat Triple Zero, add a bunch of healthy fats to it.
Low Carb Yogurt Conclusion
Don’t just pay attention to the amount of carbohydrates when buying yogurt. The actual amount of carbs will be much lower than what the label says. Also be mindful of the fat content. If nonfat is your only option, add lots of healthy fats to it.
Look for a low carb yogurt brand that contains just a couple ingredients: dairy and bacteria strains.
If possible, look for a brand that contains grass-fed milk. Maple Hill Creamery is grass-fed and contains no other ingredients other than the active cultures (bacteria).
Another option is to to make your own at home. And it’s really easy to do, especially if you have a pressure cooker with a yogurt function. Here’s an Instant Pot yogurt recipe if you want to give it a try.
More Information For Keto Diets
Looking for more information about low carb and living a ketogenic lifestyle? Here’s a few more articles you might be interested in:
- Best Keto Supplements
- Do Calories Matter on Keto?
- Fat Fast Diet Menu
- Not Losing Weight On A Low Carb Diet
- Low Carb High Fat Diet Meal Plan