Yogurt of all types is touted as a tasty dairy food with a myriad of health benefits. There are a variety of choices that can make anyone feel confused at the grocery store especially when you have diabetes and are counting carbohydrates. All types of yogurt are considered carbohydrates. Let’s compare Greek, light and fit, whipped, regular and goat’s milk yogurts to find the best ones when you have diabetes.
- Yogurt is made from milk and milk solids with added bacteria cultures (formally called lactobacillus bulgarius and streptococcus thermophilus). Yogurt also contains lactic acid which gives it a slightly sour taste. Yogurt can be made from the milk of cows, goats, sheep and even water buffalo. Fruit, nuts, flavorings and other additions may be found on the bottom, in a separate packet, or pre-mixed into the yogurt.
- Yogurt can be a viable option for those who are lactose intolerant, but still want to get the health benefits of consuming dairy foods. Eating yogurt can help build bones with nutrients such as vitamin D and calcium. The added cultures found in most yogurts can help improve your digestion. Check the label to verify the yogurt contains active cultures to support gastrointestinal health. People with diabetes need to carefully read the labels before buying any yogurt. Keep diabetes supplies on-hand to test your glucose levels two hours after eating yogurt to help you find the best varieties based on your blood sugar levels.
- Greek yogurt has become a buzzword among health food enthusiasts. It is also called Mediterranean yogurt. It can be used to make Greek dips or dressings. It can be used as a marinade or sauce for a lamb dish. Greek yogurt is thicker than regular yogurt with a creamier texture. It holds up well to heat, which makes it a good choice for cooking. While Greek yogurt tends to have more protein, it can also contain more fat and calories than other types of yogurt. It comes in regular, low fat and fat free varieties so always read your labels.
- Light and fit yogurt usually contains less fat, carbohydrates and calories than other varieties of yogurt. It might also be made with sugar substitutes and/or skim milk. The way it is processed often means it can have a more watery consistency than other types of yogurt. The added artificial sweeteners may have an aftertaste. Again, it is important to read the label to find out how or if it fits into your daily dietary requirements. Some light and fit yogurts may be formulated to have a similar texture to regular or Greek-style yogurt. Look for what types of additives are being used to achieve this consistency.
- Whipped yogurt is a form of regular or traditional yogurt that has greater air content for a lighter texture. Often whipped yogurt is served as a dessert with light whipped cream or fresh fruit. It may have added gelatin to achieve the whipped texture. The nutritional content is much like other types of yogurt. Some types of whipped yogurt have more saturated fat than others, so always read the labels to keep track of your carbohydrate and fat intake.
- Regular yogurt is also referred to as traditional yogurt. It is a timeless choice that has been on grocery shelves for decades. Traditional yogurt offers a tangy taste and nutritional value with calcium, riboflavin, potassium, protein and phosphorus. There are also low-sugar, sugar-free and low-fat options. From generic to fancy brands, regular yogurt has a thick and creamy texture. Try plain yogurt and add a handful of nuts, granola or fresh fruit for flavor and fiber. This gives you better control of the fat and carbohydrate intake.
- Goat’s milk yogurt is made with milk from a goat rather than a cow. Goat’s milk yogurt is good for those who are lactose intolerant. It still contains probiotics, the beneficial bacteria found in most yogurt, as well as essential vitamins and nutrients. However, goat’s milk yogurt often does not have artificial flavorings, colors, preservatives, sugar and/or gelatin. In many instances, goat’s milk yogurt is promoted and sold in health food stores and farms. As a result, it might not be made with pesticides, antibiotics, or added growth hormones. It is also possible to find these benefits in certain varieties of cow’s milk yogurt, which may be labeled as organic. Always read the label to get the facts, as promotional language can be deceiving.
- There are a variety of other types of yogurt to consider. European style, which is smooth and creamy, is also called stirred curd yogurt. French-style has a texture like pudding and might be referred to as custard-style yogurt, which is often used as a dessert. Probiotic yogurt contains plenty of active cultures to help promote better gastrointestinal health. Kefir is a fermented milk drink with a tangy taste that is often sold in the yogurt section of the grocery store.
Yogurt offers nutritional and health benefits, but it can be tricky to find the right ones. Always read the labels to choose low-fat brands and keep track of the calories and carbohydrates. The proper kinds of yogurt are a tasty way to include dairy products into your daily diabetes diet.