Yoghurts for Diabetes: Everything You Need to Know

In today’s world, diabetes is a widespread medical condition in which the blood sugar levels of a person rise above the ideal level. To manage sugar levels, a person with diabetes needs to pay special attention to what they eat. A person with diabetes should try to categorically avoid a high carbohydrate diet because it is directly related to increasing blood sugar levels. At the same time, to manage diabetes effectively, it is helpful to choose a nutritious diet. It should contain high fibre carbohydrates instead of processed carbohydrates with added sugar. Dietary protein has a stimulating effect on insulin secretion (insulinotrophic) and thus helps stabilise blood glucose levels after a meal. Additionally, it is also helpful in improving overall health.

Yoghurt is the perfect dish that fulfils all the above mentioned nutritional requirements. You can easily pair it with many different dishes for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Furthermore, you can eat it raw as well.

Yoghurt for Diabetes: How Does it Help?

Yoghurt is the go-to food for people having diabetes. Extensive research shows that regular consumption of yoghurt helps reduce blood sugar levels. The protein content in yoghurt is responsible for the same. As protein breaks down into glucose more slowly than carbohydrate the effect of protein on blood glucose levels tends to occur gradually over a few hours. Therefore, it does not cause spikes in blood sugar levels. In addition, yoghurt has immense, wide-ranging health benefits like reducing blood pressure, improving bone health, helping in digestion and improving heart health.

Yoghurt: Nutritional Content

Carbohydrates

Zero-carb yoghurt is a myth because milk sugar (lactose) is naturally present in yoghurt. However, you can easily find low-carb yoghurts. Besides low-carb yoghurts made with milk, non-dairy yoghurts are available with almond, coconut, or soy milk. Lactose (milk sugar) and galactose, the two main sugars in plain yoghurt, make up most carbs. On the other hand, yoghurt contains less lactose than milk because bacteria break it down during fermentation, and the breakdown of lactose produces galactose and glucose.   

Greek yoghurt or Icelandic yoghurt are good options if you have diabetes. These yoghurt variants do not contain whey as the manufacturing process involves removing whey, leaving behind a thick, carb-free product with more protein than other yoghurt types. Furthermore, they have a lower lactose content (around 5%) than other yoghurts. Besides being easier to digest, it also prevents lactose intolerance. However, you should check labels carefully since many plant-based yoghurts contain thickeners and sugar to make them creamy and thick.

Proteins

Yoghurt is a rich source of protein. Research suggests that among 23,276 food items identified in a study. One cup (245 grams) of plain yoghurt has 8.5 grams of protein. In addition, yoghurt is also a good source of other nutrients such as calcium and vitamin D.

Depending on their solubility in water, yoghurts have two types of milk proteins: whey and caseins. Whey proteins dissolve in water, while caseins do not. However, both are rich in essential amino acids, have an excellent nutritional profile, and are easy to digest. There are 80% caseins in yoghurt and 20% whey protein. By increasing calcium absorption, casein lowers blood pressure. Research has shown that whey protein can promote weight loss and reduce blood pressure, resulting in better diabetes management.

Fats

Yoghurt has varying amounts of fat depending on the milk we use to make it. Any type of milk can transform into yoghurts. For example, you can make yoghurt from whole milk, low-fat milk, or fat-free milk. The vast majority of yoghurt sold in the United States is low-fat or fat-free. Non-fat yoghurt contains as little as 0.4% fat, while full-fat yoghurts have as much as 3.3% fat. Yoghurt contains the most saturated fat (70%) and an adequate amount of monounsaturated fat. Milk has about 400 different types of fatty acids, making it unique.

Fat content in yoghurt is the primary source of energy that they offer. Additionally, fat helps slow glucose absorption and gives you a sense of satisfaction. Yoghurt is essential for absorbing fat-soluble vitamins, such as vitamin D. Low-fat yoghurt can even help you reduce your calorie and saturated fat intake. 

Probiotics 

A probiotic is an alive bacteria added to food, water, or other products. Probiotics may provide a wide range of health benefits, but they are especially beneficial for digestion. Based on a study, probiotic yoghurt is associated with lowered blood glucose, cholesterol, and diastolic blood pressure in people with type 2 diabetes. 

Probiotics are friendly bacteria found in fermented milk products like yoghurt. They have live and active cultures, with lactic acid bacteria and bifidobacteria being the most common types of probiotics in fermented milk products.

Yoghurt for Diabetes: How to Add Them Into Your Diet?

Following are a few fantastic ways to add yoghurt to your everyday diet and reap the health benefits that come with it.

  • A simple way to add crunch, protein, and healthy fats to your Greek yoghurt is to top it with one serving of fresh or frozen berries and one tablespoon of chopped nuts.
  • You can also add yoghurt to your smoothies to make them thicker, creamier, and more protein-packed.
  • Plain Greek yoghurt works well in dips, dressings, and other recipes as an alternative to sour cream.
  • For a lighter and tangier version of coleslaw, you can substitute yoghurt for some of the mayo.
  • In baked goods like cookies, scones, or cake, replace sour cream with Greek yoghurt.
  • Drizzle some Greek yoghurt over whole-grain pancakes and waffles for a healthier alternative to honey and maple syrup. 
  • Try a frozen container if you prefer Greek yoghurt to ice cream for dessert. Garnish with a quarter cup of fresh or frozen berries for a sweet after-dinner treat. 

And, if you do not feel like doing any of the above, you can directly just eat raw yoghurt. It tastes pretty good.

Yoghurt for Diabetes: The Healthiest Versions

You can choose from a wide variety of yoghurts to consume for managing diabetes. The following list contains a variety of yoghurts suitable for adults with high blood sugar levels, prediabetes, and adults with normal blood sugar levels.

Greek Yoghurt

Healthy eaters often choose Greek yoghurt as an alternative. Since Greek yoghurt has a thicker and creamier texture, removing liquid lactose and whey requires straining. Consequently, some Greek yoghurt brands offer yoghurts with less sugar and more protein.

If you have diabetes, Greek yoghurt is excellent for you. Unsweetened Greek yoghurt contains twice the protein and half the carbs of regular yoghurt. However, whole-milk Greek yoghurt contains almost three times the fat.

Icelandic Yoghurt

Have you heard of Icelandic yoghurt? You’ve probably seen the little Icelandic flag on the packaging. When you open the lid, the yoghurt makers ensure that you know about the origin of their yoghurt. Iceland means a lot to their dairy farmers, who credit the Icelandic population for their milk, thus giving Iceland its name. The yoghurt has a light and fluffy texture from proteins and certain bacteria.

Australian Yoghurt

Australian yoghurt is a drink made of milk fermented with lactic acid bacteria (LAB). It is available in a range of benefits and flavours and is often dairy-free. Australian yoghurts vary in taste and consistency, depending on various factors. For example, thick or thin whole milk, whole milk powder or skim milk are differentiators.

Most Australian yoghurt brands claim that you can prevent colon cancer by eating Australian yoghurt. In addition, it also relieves anxiety. It is a food loaded with probiotic properties to help reduce digestive disease, allergies, asthma and allergies. In addition, it has a high concentration of friendly bacteria capable of destroying the bacterium called pathogenic E.Coli, which can cause food poisoning. It is also rich in proteins, vitamins, minerals and probiotics.

Other Health Benefits of Yoghurt

Highly Nutritious

Yoghurt is an excellent source of dietary protein. Furthermore, it is full of vitamins and nutrients and has probiotics, which can help you live a healthier and longer life. Consuming yoghurt every day can help fulfil daily nutritional requirements. It is also good source of Calcium, Vitamin B12, Riboflavin (B2), Phosphorous and selenium.

Improves Bone Health

Yoghurt has rich amounts of calcium which is essential for maintaining bone health. Research has conclusively shown that taking more calcium prevents osteoporosis and helps in keeping the bones healthy for long.

Improves Digestion

Consuming yoghurt regularly helps improve digestion. Research suggests that the bacteria present in yoghurt supports the good bacteria already present in your gut. In addition, consuming yoghurt and yoghurt products enables the stomach to digest different foods. It can also help prevent diarrhoea in children. 

Healthy for the Heart

Studies show that regular yoghurt consumption can significantly reduce cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Over time, triglyceride and cholesterol accumulate and block arteries. It inhibits proper blood flow through the heart.

Yoghurt for Diabetes: What to Avoid

If you have diabetes, you should be wary of any product that contains artificial/added sweeteners. Accordingly, you should avoid yoghurts with added sugars, artificial colour and artificial flavours. In addition, avoid yoghurt gelato, flavoured yoghurts, gelatin yoghourts, and non-dairy yoghurts, as they can spike blood sugar levels. 

The Bottom Line

Being a diabetes patient, you should know the nutritional breakup of everything you eat. Yoghurt, in general, frees you of this problem because most diabetics can safely eat them. It is high in fibres, vitamins and minerals and low in carbohydrates. Hence, it is safe for people with diabetes. In addition, it has various added health benefits like improving blood pressure, improving bone health and being healthy for the heart.

While all yoghurts on the market are safe for people with diabetes, it does not mean they are all healthy. So, think wise before you begin, and always consult with your doctor in case of any confusion. So, by learning which foods are better to consume, you will also reduce your chances of contracting diabetes. Hence, it is essential to invest your time in understanding what to eat and what to avoid. A simple way to healthify yourself, isn’t it?

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: What kind of yoghourt is good for people with diabetes?

A: Diabetics often watch what they eat and stick to special diets to lower their blood sugar. But according to current research, Greek yoghurt could help with glucose absorption. In another study, researchers found that Greek yoghurt can help you return to normal insulin levels more quickly than high-fat, low-fibre diets. Hence, Greek yoghourt is good for diabetes.

Q: Can people with type 2 diabetes eat yoghurt?

A: In many cases, people with type 2 diabetes can eat yoghurt and stay within their daily insulin allowances. Research suggests that yoghurt is a wise food choice that provides nutrients, including calcium and protein. It takes a little bit of extra attention when planning the type, timing, and amount of carbohydrates you consume. But it’s a good idea to speak with a dietitian for safety information.

Q: Which yoghurt has no sugar?

A: Plain yoghurts have no sugar. However, an easy way to find out about the sugar content of yoghurt is to read the label carefully. In addition, some brands manufacture precisely zero sugar yoghurts. For example, Stonyfield Organic Grass-Fed Greek Plain and Bellwether Farms Plain Sheep Milk yoghurts are some of those with no added sugar.

Q: What are the benefits of yoghurt?

A: According to the latest research, eating low-fat yoghurt may help lower the risk of type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol. Eating yoghurt after meals can aid in weight loss. Eating three servings of low-fat, dairy yoghurt every week lowers your risk of a major cardiac event and helps you avoid significant health problems. In addition, it has health benefits like reducing blood pressure and improving bone health (because of high calcium content). 

Q: Is yoghurt good for prediabetes?

A: Yes, yoghurt is good for prediabetes. A recent study investigated whether or not yoghurt can lower risk factors in prediabetes patients, and the results indicated that it was beneficial. So eating yoghurt is a great way to prevent prediabetes from progressing. In addition, yoghurt has a mild calorie-burning effect. It also has a slightly higher protein content than other low-fat foods. You should eat for good, healthy nutrition.

Q: Which yoghurt for gestational diabetes

A: During pregnancy, gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes-specific to pregnant women. Apple yoghurt is rich in potassium, and blueberry yoghurt contains five times the amount of magnesium. However, raspberry yoghurt has the best concentration of manganese, a mineral that helps counter the effects of cold weather. Yoghurt that offers a broad range of vitamins, minerals, and proteins will be your best option for your gestational diabetes diet.

Q: Is yoghurt good for diabetes and high cholesterol?

A: Experts advise eating yoghurt often to prevent diabetes. However, it is essential to consider the overall nutrition of the yoghurt before considering the impact of these claims.

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