Is Unsweetened Yogurt Keto Friendly?

As I’ve struggled with my weight, and gotten into the keto diet, I’ve wondered Is unsweetened yogurt keto friendly?

Here’s what I found out:

While any sugar-sweetened yogurt should be avoided on the keto diet, unsweetened yogurt works great. But avoid low-fat or non-fat yogurts. Whole milk or non-dairy milk unsweetened yogurts are the lowest carb yogurts. Also, look for yogurts with live cultures as they typically have fewer carbs.

But there’s a lot more to know about keto, yogurt, and whether unsweetened yogurt is truly OK.

In some cases, a single cup of yogurt can contain upwards of 45 grams of carbs. So when it comes to maintaining ketosis, it can be ruined with each spoonful.

So without wasting any more of your precious time, let’s dive right in. We’ll examine whether or not unsweetened yogurt is a good choice. But we’ll also explore specific brands of yogurt and see which is the best.

The hard truth about keto

If you’re just starting the Keto diet, those first 4 weeks are typically the hardest; that’s when 80% of people lose their motivation and fall off the diet.

When that happens, they go right back to their old eating habits. Even if they lost a few pounds, they usually come right back, plus a few extra!

I know. I’ve been there. I struggle to keep the pounds off despite a decent diet and exercise.

The best way to really succeed with keto and drop those unwanted pounds in a safe, healthy and consistent way is with a proven plan.

And there’s no better plan I’ve found than the 28-Day Keto Challenge.

This plan was developed by Dr. Charles Livingston. He actually lost his own weight on keto, so he really knows our struggle. He follows you every step of the way through those critical first 4 weeks.

You’ll get a meal plan, recipes, a complete guide to keto. And, more importantly, he gives you proven strategies for dealing with the social pressures that come from going out to dinner with friends.

It even has a cheat sheet for drinking alcohol in a keto-approved way!

So check out his 28-Day Keto Challenge (just click the link to learn more on their site) and make sure to let me know how it works for you!

Which yogurt has the lowest carbs?

If you’re on the keto diet, you’ll obviously want to avoid anything with a high carb content.

Even a little bit can ruin ketosis, which is the metabolic state your body gets into when it starts burning stored fat for fuel.

So when it comes to your yogurt choice, you need to make sure you pick one that’s low in carbs. So let’s take a quick look at some yogurt types that are very low carb.

To start with, make sure you’re buying unsweetened or plain yogurt with no sugar added.

Sugar is added carbs, and even the smallest amount can ruin your precious ketosis process. So, be sure to go for unflavored yogurt types if you want low carbs.

You can always add a little stevia powder or liquid to sweeten it, which is exactly what I did. Stevia is an all-natural sugar-free sweetener that sweetens like sugar without affecting carbs or calories.

Before we go further, let’s review how many carbs each type of keto diet allows:

Type of Keto Diet Net Daily Carbs Allowed What Makes it Different?
Standard Keto Diet (SKD) 20-50 grams The basic keto diet
Targeted Keto Diet (TKD) 25-50 grams You can eat extra carbs before workouts
Cyclical Keto Diet (CKD) 20-50 grams (during the no-carb period) – No limit other days Strict keto 5 or 6 days a week, but 1 or 2 cheat days
High-Protein Keto Diet (HPKD) 20-50 grams More protein and fewer fats than the SKD

There are other variations that have sprung up for the keto diet. But these 4 remain the most widely followed.

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How the active cultures affect the carb count

Yogurts are made with live cultures; basically bacteria.

But, with most major brands (Dannon, etc), the cultures are killed in the packaging process. That makes the fermentation stop and effectively kills the bacteria.

Major brands do that to ensure no harmful bacteria get into their products and it improves shelf-life. But it also kills most of the beneficial bacteria too.

So it’s drastically reducing the probiotic benefits of yogurt. But it also locks in the carbs.

The way the yogurt fermentation works is by allowing the beneficial bacteria to consume the lactose (ie: sugar) that is naturally occurring in the milk.

The more this happens, the lower the sugar count (and also the carbs). With most big brands of yogurt, this process is severely limited, so the lactose (ie: sugar) remains high in the finished product; even with unsweetened versions.

So, to get the lowest-carb yogurt, we have to find those that get fermented longer.

To start with, look for labels that say contains live cultures or something similar. They will all list the cultures on the label or ingredient list. But you want to see “contains live cultures” to be sure.

Some of the most common beneficial bacteria names are:

  • Streptococcus thermophilus
  • Lactobacillus acidophilus
  • L.bifidus
  • L.casei

If a yogurt contains live cultures, the carbs will continue to reduce, even after purchase. That process stops when enough lactic acid has been produced that the bacteria go dormant.

Finally, the best yogurt type you can find for low carbs is going to be Greek yogurt.

This yogurt type, unflavored, tends to have the lowest carb content you can find. If you’re curious about Greek yogurt, don’t worry, because we’ll be touching on Greek yogurt below.

Who said keto is no fun?

If you’re just starting out on the keto diet, you won’t want to miss my recent article on all the yummy stuff you can eat at a Mexican restaurant while doing keto.

Just click the link to read that on my site.

Which yogurt has the least sugar?

When it comes to yogurt, sometimes you might be surprised by the sugar content.

The first thing you’ll want to consider when it comes to yogurt that’s low in sugar is the type of milk that’s used.

At the end of the day, knowing your milk can help you determine the sugar content. Generally speaking, the lower the fat content of the milk, the higher the sugars.

So a whole milk yogurt will have less sugar and carbs than a low-fat or non-fat yogurt. But non-dairy unsweetened yogurts can also bee a good keto option.

If you’re still a bit confused, and just want to know which yogurt types have the least sugar, then you’ll definitely want this cheat sheet:

  • Forager Project Cashewgurt (non-dairy)
  • Kite Hill Plain (non-dairy)
  • Wallaby Greek yogurt (plain and unsweetened)
  • Siggi’s 4% Milkfat (without the added sugar)

These four brands and yogurt types will definitely be some of the best when it comes to low sugar.

Before you start binge eating unsweetened yogurt, make sure you understand how they’ll taste. Unfortunately, without sugar, yogurt can be quite bland.

Therefore, it might be a good idea to first add some of your own touches to enhance the taste.

What brand of yogurt is best for the keto diet?

Not all yogurt is created equal, and at the end of the day, you need to know what you’re buying.

This is because there are hundreds of yogurt brands out there. But luckily we’ll help you narrow that long list down a bit. We listed a few brands above that are good choices.

But now, let’s take a look at the top 3 yogurt brands you should use for your keto diet.

Oikos

If you’ve ever watched television, then you’ve definitely seen a commercial for Oikos.

Not only is Oikos a delicious option, but they also produce excellent low carb Greek yogurt. With Oikos, you can expect quality and less than 10 grams of carbs in each individual cup.

Fage Total

While Fage is a bit less well known, that doesn’t mean they’re lacking in the yogurt department.

Fage makes great-tasting unsweetened yogurt, and believe it or not, each cup only contains about 10 grams of carbs. This puts it right alongside Oikos, and for the price, you really can’t beat Fage.

Chobani

Chobani is likely the lowest amount of carbs that you’ll be able to find in yogurt.

It beats both Oikos and Fage because it only contains 8 grams of carbs per cup. For any yogurt, that’s quite an accomplishment.

Aside from being low in carbs, Chobani is all-natural, and they even make non-dairy yogurts too.

Is Greek yogurt better for keto?

Now when it comes to the keto diet, and maintaining ketosis, you might be curious about Greek yogurt. You’ve seen the commercials. You’ve heard that it can be a healthy choice. But is it good for your keto diet?

Let’s take a look.

Remember when we mentioned Greek yogurt before? Well here is why. Greek yogurt is excellent because it has been strained 3 times. That removes a lot of the liquid giving it a thicker consistency. It also makes for a richer flavor.

It also boosts the protein in the yogurt.

Sometimes, the unsweetened whole milk-based yogurts might not taste the best. But if you want to stay true to ketosis you can’t beat Greek yogurt.

Bear in mind that ANY kind of yogurt will have some amount of carbs. This doesn’t have to wreck your keto diet, but you need to make sure you manage your intake properly.

150 grams of unsweetened Greek yogurt, on average, will contain up to 5 grams of carbs.

You might be turned off when you see any amount of carbs. But, believe it or not, a carb amount like 5 grams is not going to ruin your state of ketosis.

While unflavored Greek yogurt might not be the tastiest treat, it can provide you with plenty of nutritional value.

Can I eat frozen yogurt on the keto diet?

Yes is the short answer. But you may have a hard time finding one at the grocery store.

While there are some ice creams and frozen yogurts that are labeled “Carb-friendly” or “carb-smart”, just be aware that often these are sweetened with Splenda. Sometimes on the label, it will just list the generic name for Splenda; sucralose.

Sucralose isn’t likely to wreck your keto diet, but it’s not very good for you either.

There are a variety of concerns ranging from elevated blood sugar levels to killing beneficial bacteria in the gut, to studies showing links to cancer. You can read more about those concerns at Healthline.

There are plenty of brands on the market that offer frozen yogurt. However, only a few types of frozen yogurt are truly keto-friendly.

So what should I look out for?

When it comes to frozen yogurt, you’ll want to make sure you avoid and watch out for:

  • Added sweeteners (Maltodextrin, agave, dates, coconut, honey, maple syrup)
  • High sugar content
  • Check the number of carbs on the label

Aside from stevia, there are some other all-natural sweeteners that work well on keto. You may be lucky enough to find one made with one of these on your grocer’s shelf too.

So look for one of these:

  • Erythritol
  • Xylitol
  • Monk fruit sweetener
  • Yacon syrup

You can always take a container of your favorite fresh low-carb yogurt and stick it in the freezer too.

Did I cover everything you wanted to know about whether you can eat unsweetened yogurt on the keto diet?

In this article, we took an in-depth look at the world of the keto diet and how yogurt fits in.

While yogurt is a good choice for your keto diet, there is a catch. You need to make sure to choose the right brands, go the unsweetened route, and make sure you know what you’re eating.

Not all yogurt brands or types will be ketosis friendly. But hopefully, you’ll be leaving here today with the knowledge you need to enjoy all of the yogurt your heart desires.

Can’t find a low-carb yogurt you like? You can try making your own frozen yogurt at home to get the job done.

Just getting into keto and have more questions?

My most popular article dives into how balsamic vinegar fits into the keto diet. After all, it’s a delicious treat on salads, and in a glaze. But how concentrated are those sugars from the wine it’s made from?

Just click the link to read that on my site!

Jeff Campbell

Jeff was a leader for Whole Foods Market for over 2 decades and is now a recovering foodie. When he's not spending time in the kitchen, he can usually be found with his wife & 3 daughters, he can usually be found practicing martial arts, making music, or blogging on his other sites. Click to learn more about me

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