Is Yogurt Keto? Macros, Nutrition, and Best Keto Yogurt Brands
3K Shares

Is Yogurt Keto? Macros, Nutrition, and Best Keto Yogurt Brands

Yogurt has numerous health benefits. The most well-known gut-healthy probiotic food, it’s available nearly everywhere and most brands are delicious.

But is yogurt keto-friendly? The short answer: it depends.

You can only eat 30-50 grams of net carbs each day on keto, so it pays to be cautious about which foods you consume. That makes many brands unsuitable for a ketogenic diet, but some brands and flavors just fine. 

In this article, you’ll learn how to tell the difference, find out where yogurt fits into a balanced, low-carb, high-fat diet, and discover the best keto yogurt options to make your next shopping trip easy.

What is Yogurt?

Yogurt is a traditional dairy food produced by the bacterial fermentation (also called culturing) of milk. Cow’s milk is the most common choice today, but other options include goat’s milk and sheep’s milk.

Vegan options include almond milk, coconut milk, and cashew nut-milk options. 

The bacteria used to make yogurt, known as yogurt cultures, convert the lactose in milk into lactic acid. Lactic acid gives yogurt its characteristic tart taste and smooth, creamy texture.

Yogurt Macros and Nutrition

The macronutrients and nutrition facts of yogurt can differ a lot from brand to brand. 

Before we discuss why that is (and how to make wiser purchasing decisions), here are some examples of what’s likely available at your local grocery store:

Plain, nonfat yogurt (per 4 oz. serving)[*]:

  • Calories: 63 kcal
  • Protein: 6g
  • Carbohydrates: 9g 
  • Added sugars: 0g
  • Fat: 0.2g

Strawberry flavored 2% fat yogurt (per 4 oz. serving)[*]:

  • Calories: 175 kcal
  • Protein: 4g
  • Carbohydrates: 30g
  • Added sugars: 25g
  • Fat: 1g

Plain, full-fat Greek yogurt (per 4 oz. serving)[*]:

Great deal on Cinnamon Roll Bars!

One of our most popular flavors. Only 2-3g net carbs per bar. 100% real food ingredients.

Shop Now
  • Calories: 110 kcal
  • Protein: 10g
  • Carbohydrates: 4.5g
  • Added sugars: 0g
  • Fat: 5.5g

Big variation, right? The first is mediocre, the second is “yikes,” and the last one is actually a good keto option.

Again, not all yogurt is created equal. Here’s why.

The technical FDA definition of yogurt in the United States is: “the food produced by culturing one or more of the optional dairy ingredients (Cream, milk, partially skimmed milk, or skim milk, used alone or in combination) of this section with a characterizing bacterial culture that contains the lactic acid-producing bacteria, Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus”[*].And according to the FDA, it must also have at least 3.25% milkfat and 8.25% milk solids other than fat, before other ingredients (such as sweetening, binding, and flavoring agents) are added[*].

Essentially, although it must contain milk and bacterial cultures, the regulations allow a lot of leeway in the quality and nature of other yogurt ingredients. 

Therefore, you must be cautious when choosing among available yogurt options. 

In the next section, you’ll learn where yogurt fits into the keto diet.

Is Yogurt Keto?

Some yogurt is keto, while other yogurt definitely is not.

High-quality, keto-friendly yogurt is an excellent source of protein and healthy fats with a relatively low carb count.

The protein content of yogurt comes from milk, making it 20% whey protein and 80% casein protein, both of which are high-quality proteins. 

But the amount of milk protein varies greatly, because yogurt is often diluted with less-than-wholesome filler ingredients.

Greek and Icelandic yogurts contain milk that’s been filtered before culturing, which is why they have a higher protein content than other types of yogurt. 

And like the protein content, the fat in yogurt also comes entirely from milk, which is why it’s called milkfat or butterfat. Butter is a keto-approved healthy fat, as long as it comes from a high-quality (preferably grass-fed) source of milk.

Lastly, you’ll notice that even unsweetened yogurt has some carbs listed on the label. Most yogurt still contains lactose (milk sugar), but much of it gets converted to lactic acid, which isn’t a carbohydrate, during fermentation.

That’s why generally speaking, higher-quality, plain yogurt tastes more tart and has fewer total carbs.

Homemade yogurt that’s cultured long enough may contain as little as 1-2 grams of carbs, making it a fantastic keto-friendly choice.

How to Choose Keto Yogurt

is yogurt keto

If you prefer not to make your own low carb yogurt, here’s what to keep in mind on your next shopping trip.

Do purchase:

  • Naturally or traditionally fermented yogurt (if you go this route, the carb content will be much lower compared to mass-produced factory yogurt)
  • Unsweetened, sugar-free yogurt (or yogurt exclusively sweetened with keto-friendly sweeteners like stevia or monk fruit)
  • The yogurt with the highest fat content relative to other brands
  • Greek or Icelandic yogurts, if available, for their higher protein contents
  • Grass-fed and organic yogurt, if possible

Don’t purchase:

  • Yogurt with added sugar or other caloric sweeteners (such as fructose, rice syrup, corn syrup, or fruit juice)
  • Low-fat yogurt
  • “Greek-style” yogurt (unlike authentic Greek yogurt, it doesn’t have any extra protein and instead contains thickeners and other fillers)
  • Yogurt with thickeners or fillers like carrageenan or cornstarch
  • Yogurt with artificial colors, artificial flavors, or other chemical additives

In a nutshell, make sure to read the label and ingredients list very carefully. The lower the carbs, the higher the protein and fat content, and the simpler the ingredients list, the better. 

Milk, one or two other ingredients at most, and live cultures are all you want in your yogurt. Stay away from any yogurt with 20 ingredients that are chock-full of preservatives and other unnecessary ingredients.

Benefits of Including Yogurt in Your Keto Diet

  • High in Protein: Getting plenty of protein on the keto diet aids weight loss, suppresses appetite, speeds your metabolism, and builds lean muscle[*][*]. Yogurt is an excellent source of high-quality protein, especially if you opt for the Icelandic or Greek (not “Greek-style”) varieties.
  • High in Healthy Fat: Considering that on the standard keto diet, up to 80% of calories come from healthy fats, it’s safe to say that fat is the cornerstone of the ketogenic diet. Some full-fat yogurts contain over 50% of calories from fat, making them a logical choice for your keto shopping list.
  • Probiotics: Probiotic cultures are what sets yogurt apart from milk and other dairy foods, and they’re vital for a balanced, healthy gut microbiome. Good bacteria in yogurt may help reduce inflammation, regulate immune function, and contribute to healthy digestive processes[*].
  • Essential Nutrients: Along with all the other natural goodness, yogurt is an excellent source of riboflavin (vitamin B2), pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), cobalamin (vitamin B12), calcium, and phosphorus[*].

Best Keto Yogurt Brands

You don’t necessarily need a “keto” branded yogurt.

Nearly any unsweetened, full-fat yogurt is suitable for keto. And if it’s a filtered yogurt high in protein, even better.

Here are our top yogurt picks for a low-carb diet, with nutrition facts per serving:

Chobani Whole Milk Plain Greek Yogurt

Chobani is a widely-available national brand that’s very likely to be on the shelves, no matter where you shop.

  • Calories: 170 kcal
  • Protein: 16g
  • Carbohydrates: 7g
  • Added sugar: 0g
  • Fat: 9g

Siggi’s Icelandic Cream-Skyr Whole Milk Yogurt, Plain

For those who appreciate the high protein value of Greek yogurt, this delicious Icelandic variety has an even more impressive 18 grams of protein.

  • Calories: 170 kcal
  • Protein: 18g
  • Carbohydrates: 8g
  • Added sugar: 0g
  • Fat: 7g

Stonyfield Organic Whole Milk Greek Yogurt 

Stonyfield is a reasonably-priced and easy-to-find brand that offers tasty, smooth Greek yogurt with all-organic ingredients.

  • Calories: 150 kcal
  • Protein: 16g
  • Carbohydrates: 7g
  • Added sugar: 0g
  • Fat: 6g

Cabot Whole Milk Plain Greek Yogurt

Cabot Greek yogurt contains added cream, making it delicious as well as a perfect source of healthy fats for your keto meal plan. 

  • Calories: 230 kcal
  • Protein: 14g 
  • Carbohydrates: 9g
  • Added sugar: 0g
  • Fat: 16g

Fage Total Plain Greek Yogurt 5%

Fage is extremely tangy and a perfect choice for yogurt connoisseurs who prefer an authentic Greek yogurt with minimal carbs from lactose.

  • Calories: 190 kcal
  • Protein: 18g
  • Carbohydrates: 6g
  • Added sugar: 0g 
  • Fat: 10g

The Takeaway: Yogurt on the Keto Diet

High-quality, traditional yogurt has a place in your keto diet. You can eat it as-is, use it in a variety of keto recipes, or thicken up your favorite smoothies.

It’s not zero-carb, but considering the numerous health benefits of yogurt, it’s worth spending a little bit of your daily “net carb budget.”

Remember to choose options that are high in healthy fats, low in carbs, without added sugar, and organic and grass-fed whenever possible. 

Keep in mind that filtered Icelandic and Greek varieties have significantly more protein than other yogurt types.

Homemade yogurt and yogurt made the old-fashioned way typically contain fewer carbs since the active cultures convert lactose into lactic acid, which doesn’t spike insulin levels. 

You may be able to lower the carb count further by leaving store-bought yogurt in the fridge an extra week or two, mixing it by hand every couple of days.

If in doubt, test your blood sugar and ketone levels after eating yogurt to ensure you’re staying in ketosis.

3K Shares

Join the Internet's largest keto newsletter

And we'll send you our Keto Kickstart guide and subscriber discounts.

Secured By miniOrange