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Is Greek Yogurt Good for Diabetes? Nutritional Value and Glycemic Index
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Is Greek Yogurt Good for Diabetes? Nutritional Value and Glycemic Index

Wendy Lord, RD
Written by Wendy Lord, RD | Medically reviewed by Medically reviewed by Rosmy Barrios, MD check
Published on November 11, 2022
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4 min

Plain Greek yogurt is a popular dairy food that can be eaten as part of any meal or between meals as a snack. In this article, we answer your questions about whether it can be included in a diabetes diet plan, how it affects your blood glucose levels, and the best options for you to try.

Is Greek yogurt good for diabetes
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Many yogurt varieties are encouraged as part of a diabetes diet plan. As one of the hottest foods on the market, you may be wondering if Greek yogurt is also on the list of foods that are good for diabetes. 

People with diabetes want to avoid blood sugar spikes and must carefully consider the effect all food will have on their glucose levels. This article answers your questions about the impact of Greek yogurt on your blood glucose, its nutritional value, the glycemic index, and the best options to include in your diet.

Is Greek Yogurt Good for Diabetes?

Yes, Greek yogurt is good for diabetes. Plain Greek yogurt with no added sugar is the best choice for people with diabetes because it has a lower carbohydrate and higher protein content than other yogurt varieties.

Because nonfat Greek yogurt contains higher levels of protein and fewer carbs than other yogurts, it does not cause large blood glucose spikes as some other foods do. Research suggests that daily yogurt consumption can improve glucose metabolism and insulin sensitivity. 

Greek yogurt can be added to your list of diabetes-friendly foods. It is a tasty alternative to high-fat sour cream or flavored yogurt, which often has high sugar content

Does Greek Yogurt Raise Blood Sugar?

Greek yogurt raises your blood sugar, but only moderately because it contains more protein and fewer carbs than traditional yogurt.

Some studies show that eating yogurt is associated with improved insulin sensitivity and glucose uptake by the cells, which may be because yogurt is a fermented food that contains probiotics.

People with diabetes can add low-fat Greek yogurt to other foods, such as baked potatoes, to help moderate the effect on their blood glucose levels. The additional protein helps reduce the glycemic response. 

Is Greek yogurt a low-carb food?

Yes, Greek yogurt is a low-carb food. Greek yogurt’s thick consistency results from the process manufacturers use to remove liquid whey from traditional yogurt. Some of the lactose is lost in the process, reducing the amount of carbohydrate present.

Many nonfat Greek yogurts are sweetened. When sugar or syrup is used as a sweetener, it will no longer be a low-carb food. Therefore, if you prefer sweetened yogurt, look for ones where artificial sweeteners have been used instead of sugar or just top it with berries or fruits for the natural sweetness.

Greek Yogurt Nutritional Value per 100g

When you compare the nutritional content of nonfat Greek-style yogurt to that of other yogurts, you will notice that it has a significantly higher protein and lower carbohydrate content. Its nutritional value is why it is one of the hottest foods on the market:

Net CarbsTotal CarbsFatsProtein
3.54g3.64g0.37g10.3g
CaloriesFiberSugarsGlycemic Index
590g3.27g11

Greek Yogurt Glycemic Index

Greek yogurt has a glycemic index (GI) of 11. Any carbohydrate-containing food with a GI under 55 is considered to be a low GI food. Therefore Greek-style yogurts have a very low GI, making them suitable for people with diabetes. 

If you are out of ideas on how to incorporate this healthy product into your diet, try the Klinio app. This app not only offers thousands of simple recipes but also creates a personalized meal and workout plan tailored to your needs.

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When you eat high-GI breakfast cereals with nonfat Greek-style yogurt, the low GI and high protein content reduce the overall GI of your breakfast meal, making it a suitable choice for someone with diabetes. 

How to Choose the Right Greek Yogurt

The answer is pretty simple: always check the label before buying the product. It is best to look for an unsweetened option as it is most beneficial to your health.

All Greek yogurt has a high protein content, but the sugar and fat content can vary from one brand or flavor to the next. Many nonfat Greek yogurts are sweetened and will have a relatively high sugar content unless artificially sweetened. 

Additionally, Greek yogurt has varying amounts of fat, ranging from nonfat to double fat. Bearing in mind that those with diabetes are at a greater risk of cardiovascular disease, you should opt for the lowest fat content possible.

How to Eat Greek Yogurt for Those With Diabetes

If you’re not a fan of the slightly tart flavor of nonfat Greek yogurt, you can top it with your favorite chopped fresh fruit, such as guavas or apples. You can also add a little honey and chopped walnuts, almonds, or cashews to make a high-protein snack. 

Greek yogurt’s thick consistency makes it a suitable lower-fat alternative to sour cream on baked potatoes or to add creaminess to soups and stews. 

Although you don’t want to add too much sugar to the yogurt, creamy Greek-style yogurt is used in numerous recipes for creating a decadent-tasting dessert. 

Greek Yogurt Benefits for Diabetes

Yogurt is a good source of calcium, most commonly associated with healthy bones and teeth. However, it is also involved in insulin secretion and preventing insulin resistance in fat and muscle cells. 

Whey protein, magnesium, and vitamin D (found in fortified Greek yogurts) have also been shown to increase insulin sensitivity, helping those with diabetes manage their blood glucose levels. 

Furthermore, because Greek-style yogurt contains more protein, it has a greater satiety value, making it easier to make healthy food choices and avoid overeating. 

A Word From Our MD

Greek yogurt results from a process used to remove liquid whey from traditional yogurt, giving it a thicker, creamier consistency, a higher protein content, and a lower carbohydrate content.

As a result, it is the ideal yogurt choice for people with diabetes. Because it contains less sugar and more protein, it has a low GI and causes only a moderate rise in blood glucose levels.

It also means that it can be enjoyed with foods that might otherwise cause a spike in blood glucose levels, such as breakfast cereals, potatoes, and butternut soup. You can make it even tastier by adding your favorite chopped fresh fruit, berries, and chopped walnuts to it.

If you regularly eat yogurt, you should swap out your regular flavored yogurt with plain nonfat or low-fat Greek yogurt. It can help improve your glycemic control by increasing the release of insulin from the pancreas and improving insulin sensitivity in the cells.

Conclusion

The thick, creamy texture and slightly tart flavor make Greek yogurt a suitable addition to breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack, and dessert recipes. Its high protein and low sugar content mean it has a low GI, so when it is eaten plain or as part of a dish, it results in only a modest rise in blood glucose. 

Adding Greek-style yogurt to your diabetes meal plan can make your meals more enjoyable and improve your diabetes management, especially if you choose nonfat and unsweetened varieties.

Klinio
  • Personalized and diabetes-safe meal plan
  • An integrated shopping list that matches the meal plan
  • No-equipment home workouts
  • All-in-one health and progress tracker
  • Detailed activity log
Our rating:
4.4
Learn More
Wendy Lord, RD
Written by
Wendy is a Registered Dietitian with a passion for writing about nutrition, health, and medicine. Her aim is to translate the medical jargon to make information accessible to everyone so that they can make informed decisions about their health.
Medically reviewed by Rosmy Barrios, MD
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