Does Keto-Friendly Yogurt Exist?
Yogurt is rich in probiotics and protein but most store-bought yogurts are also loaded with added sugars. But that doesn’t mean keto friendly yogurt doesn’t exist. Here’s what to look for.Up until a few years ago, if you did a search for “keto yogurt” online, there wouldn’t be very many brands to choose from. But thankfully, these days, for those living a low-carb lifestyle, keto yogurt lovers have options.
Think plain yogurt is better? Well, for sure it is. But it’s not exactly keto-friendly. My personal favorite store-bought yogurt is Trader Joe’s whole-milk plain Greek yogurt. Never mind the 14 grams of saturated fat per cup, which is terrible for my cholesterol as I’m cursed with familial hypercholesterolemia, so I gotta watch my saturated fat intake.
And that’s a great thing because nearly all the yogurt sold in stores will kick you out of ketosis faster than you can say beta hydroxybutyrate. Just one small cup of most conventional yogurt brands contain 25 grams or more of sugar, most of them in the form of added sugars.
But even if you don’t have to worry about your cholesterol, if you’re a low-carb eater, just one cup of TJ’s full-fat Greek yogurt contains 10 grams of sugar. Yogurt contains no fiber so that’s 10 net grams of carbs in just one cup. And if you’re like me and love yogurt, one cup can easily turn into two. Starting off your day with two cups of yogurt and 20 grams of carbs isn’t going to set you up for successfully staying in ketosis.
Keto Yogurt Options
So what’s a yogurt lover to do—especially if you don’t like purchasing several little yogurts at once (4 oz cups). Unfortunately, the conventional dairy yogurts I’ve come across marketed as keto-friendly are all of the Lilliputian variety; there are no 32-oz giants readily available in the stores I frequent—with one exception.
One regular yogurt that’s low in sugar is Good & Gather’s Greek Whole Milk plain yogurt. (Guess which supermarket I saw it in? The answer: None of the above; I saw it in Target.) It’s a beautiful 32-oz tub (5 servings per container, if you have will power) with only 5 grams of sugar and just two ingredients: cultured pasteurized Grade A nonfat milk and cream.
Now, I’m not sure if Good & Gather screwed up their labeling. How can a product called Whole Milk yogurt contain nonfat milk? If you’re eating keto, you need to consume up to 80% of your calories from fat, so nonfat milk won’t cut it. And what exactly is Grade A milk anyway? According to Colorado Farm to Market, Grade A milk, also called fluid grade milk, refers to milk produced under sufficiently sanitary conditions to qualify for fluid (beverage) consumption.
Does that sound like a strong selling point to you?While it’s true that Good & Gather’s Greek yogurt is low in sugar, it lacks the texture of a true creamy Greek yogurt.
But the rub with this particular Chobani yogurt is that the serving size is three-quarters of a cup. So if you have a full cup, the sugar count goes up to 9 grams. That’s still sort of keto-friendly, compared to most other yogurt, but the extra three grams if you eat a full cup makes it more difficult to be keto-compliant with the rest of your meals.
A better option seems to be Chobani Greek Yogurt Whole Milk Plain. It contains only one more gram of sugar than Good & Gather (6 grams of net carbs per serving). And there’s no confusing food label (just one ingredient: cultured milk). Chobani Greek yogurt contains six strains of bacteria, which is the higher end of conventional yogurt. Some brands contain just two or three strains. Bacterial diversity is a key component of having a healthy gut microbiome, so the more beneficial bacteria, the better.
And besides, I’m looking for a yogurt that’s not only low in sugar and higher in bacterial diversity but also won’t trigger any potential food sensitivities like congestion or mucus. Grade A conventional dairy, which is also used in Chobani yogurt, is one of the most common food allergens. So is there a yogurt that’s keto friendly and low-inflammatory?
Low-carb yogurts that won’t send your immune system into overdriveI found a brand in my local Sprouts store called Alexandre Family Farm. Here’s what I love about it. It’s certified organic A2 milk. As I mentioned in this post about organic milk, A2 milk comes from cows that have not had their genetic line altered. That means that the milk protein has been in existence for thousands of years so most of us can fully digest it; our body recognizes this particular subtype of casein protein unlike people with A1 allergies or sensitivities.
And what else I like about this brand is that the yogurt comes from 100% grass-fed cows using regenerative farming methods.But you’re living a low-carb carb lifestyle and want to know how many grams of sugar there are per serving. The answer: 7 grams. It’s hard to beat that for dairy. The only caveat is that the serving size is also three-quarters of a cup.
Another relatively low-sugar option from A2 milk is goat milk yogurt. Redwood Hill is a brand I’m particularly fond of. They’ve been humanely raising goats in Sonoma County, CA since 1968. The only downside is the carb content is slightly higher at 11 grams. But if you’re one of the lucky keto kids that can stay in ketosis at 50 grams of net carbs per day then you can make room for a serving of goat yogurt.
Dairy Free Keto Yogurts
If you can’t have dairy because of allergies or sensitivities, there are plenty of plant-based yogurts on the market. But which seems to be the best one for keto? Coconut milk yogurt? Nothing special when it comes to net carbs.
One popular brand, So Delicious, contains 9 grams of carbs per serving. There is, however, a low-carb (2 grams) brand of coconut yogurt called :ratio (that’s no typo). I’m intrigued by it because it contains avocado oil. (But I can’t have it because eating anything with coconut milk or oil sends my cholesterol levels skyrocketing.)
As for almond milk yogurt as well as cashew milk yogurt? Same thing … 9 grams of carbs for the most popular brands. Even though these plant-based yogurts are lower in sugars, they still contain the same amount of net carbs as many of the “healthier” conventional dairy yogurts.
I haven’t perused every single brand of yogurt out there but it seems that :ratio is a good choice. The brand also has a conventional dairy strawberry keto yogurt with only 2 grams of carbs and 15 grams of fat!
If you don’t mind going a little higher up in carbs, you can’t go wrong with certified regenerative/organic A2 milk from Alexandre Family Farm. The other option is to learn how to make your own keto-friendly yogurt at home.