Do You Have to Break Up with Yogurt If You Have Diabetes?
Okay, so plain, unflavored yogurts are the most kosher options overall. But what about all the different styles of yogurt — are certain types healthier than others? From traditional to Greek to trendy options like kefir and Skyr, here’s a look at the best options.
1. Greek yogurt
The Beyoncé of yogurts, Greek is the style most often placed on a healthy food pedestal. This style of yogurt gets strained to remove more liquid, so it’s thicker and creamier than the regular kind.
The straining also means Greek yogurt can pack up to twice as much protein and half as many carbs as regular yogurt, making it one of the best choices for people with diabetes.
2. Icelandic yogurt
Also called Skyr, this cultured dairy product has a lot going for it. Like Greek yogurt, it’s strained, so it’s high in protein and lower in carbs. It’s also often made from skim milk, so many varieties tend to be low in fat.
3. Regular yogurt
Plain, unflavored regular yogurt still has a healthy ratio of protein to carbs and a low rating on the Glycemic Index. It’s not as packed with as much protein as Greek yogurt, but it’s still a diabetes-friendly option.
4. Australian yogurt
Australian style yogurt is similar to the regular kind. It’s unstrained, so it has a thinner consistency, less protein, and more carbs than Greek or Icelandic yogurt. But, just like regular yogurt, plain varieties of Australian yogurt can still be a healthy option.
This fermented milk drink has a similar flavor to yogurt but a much thinner consistency (it’s more like a smoothie than a spoonable snack). Unflavored options can be great for people with diabetes. Some research actually ties kefir consumption to lower levels of A1C and fasting blood glucose.
6. Probiotic yogurt
Probiotic yogurt is simply yogurt that contains added strains of live, active cultures like Bifidobacterium lactis or Lactobacillus casei. Many yogurt styles are made with added probiotics, and it’ll usually say so on the label.
The jury is still out on whether probiotic yogurts offer extra health perks, but a recent review found that these options aren’t any more effective at improving blood sugar levels in people with diabetes than other yogurts.
7. Plant based yogurt
Plant based yogurts can be made with a variety of nondairy milks — from almond or soy to coconut or cashew. Each one has a different nutritional profile and some contain added sugars, which can send the carb count too high for people with diabetes. Most contain less protein compared to yogurt made from dairy.
If you’re thinking about trying a plant based yogurt, your best bet is to check the nutrition facts. As long as it has fewer than 15 grams of carbs and 10 grams of sugar, you’re good.
8. Frozen yogurt, yogurt dips, and other snacks
Are foods made with yogurt as healthy as yogurt itself? That depends on the other ingredients. Most of the time snacks like Froyo or yogurt covered pretzels or raisins are higher in added sugars and lower in protein than plain yogurt. So, they’re not often the best choice for people with diabetes.
If you have a favorite yogurt-y snack food that you’re trying to incorporate into your diet without messing up your blood sugar, consider talking with a dietician to figure out the best options.
Best Yogurts for Diabetes
Pictured Recipe: Peach-Blueberry Parfaits
Yogurt is a delicious healthy food. It’s a great on-the-go snack, breakfast food or smoothie ingredient, thanks to protein which helps keep you full. But if you’re not careful in the yogurt aisle, you could end up buying a yogurt with tons of extra carbs and added sugars. Here we offer shopping guidance and what to look for to pick out healthy yogurt when you have diabetes.
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Yogurt’s trademark tang is due to live cultures (bacteria) that boost immunity. Look for labels with the National Yogurt Association Live & Active Cultures seal, which means at least 100 million active starter cultures per gram.
Pack in protein
Brands with at least 7 grams of protein per 4-6 ounce serving keep hunger at bay. Rule of thumb: Seek options with more protein than sugar.
Go for Greek!
Thick, creamy Greek yogurt gets our vote. Most brands contain 10 grams of protein per 4-6 ounce serving and are lower in lactose.
Don’t fear fat.
Whole-milk yogurts are a great source of hugnger-satisfying fat-a formerly feared nutrient that slows digestion. But fat adds flavor naturally, so brands don’t have to resort to added sugars. Stick to yogurts with less than 8 grams total to keep saturated fat in check.
Spare the sugar.
Yogurt contains lactose, a naturally occuring sugar, so don’t expect to find options with zero grams of sugar. Just avoid added sugars: sucrose, cane sugar, dextrose, and high-fructose corn syrup. The shorted ingredients list the better (ideally milk and bacterial cultures listed first).
Mind your mix-ins.
Add your own flair to plain yogurt to limit sugar. Try 1/4 cup fresh berries, a serving of high-fiber bran cereal, 1 tablespoon of chopped nuts, and a sprinkle of ground cinnamon.
Know your numbers.
Choose yogurts with no more than 150 calories, 8 grams of fat, 120 milligrams of sodium, 20 grams of carb, and 20 grams of sugar per serving. Pick yogurts with at least 7 grams of protein.
Which Is Healthier: Greek Yogurt or Regular Yogurt?
The #1 Food You Should Eat for Breakfast
TUESDAY, Nov. 25, 2014 (HealthDay News) — Eating a serving a day of yogurt may lower your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, new research suggests.
“The data we have gathered show that yogurt consumption can have significant benefit in reducing the risk of diabetes,” said senior study author Dr. Frank Hu, a professor of nutrition and epidemiology at Harvard School of Public Health, in Boston. “It’s not a huge effect, about an 18 percent reduction .”
“Yogurt is not magic for curing or preventing diabetes,” Hu said. “That’s the bottom line and the message we want to convey to our consumers, that we have to pay attention to our diet pattern. There is no replacement for an overall healthy diet and maintaining body weight.”
The study is published online Nov. 24 in the journal BMC Medicine. It was funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health.
In type 2 diabetes, the body does not produce enough insulin or the body’s cells develop a resistance to insulin, and blood sugar levels then get too high.
For the study, Hu and his team pooled the result of three large studies that tracked the medical histories and lifestyle habits of health professionals: the Health Professionals’ Follow-up Study of more than 51,000 male health professionals; the Nurses’ Health Study, which included more than 121,000 women nurses; and the Nurses’ Health Study II, which followed nearly 117,000 women nurses.
During the study follow-up, there were about 15,000 cases of type 2 diabetes. When they looked at total dairy intake, they saw no effect on the risk of diabetes. However, when they zeroed in on yogurt, they found one serving a day was linked with about a 17 percent reduced risk.
The researchers next pooled their result with other published studies that looked at links between dairy foods and type 2 diabetes. They found a serving of yogurt a day reduced risk by 18 percent.
The meta-analysis, in which all the results were pooled, includes 14 different groups with nearly 460,000 people. About 36,000 developed type 2 diabetes.