Switching to a gestational diabetes diet can initially be stressful, but thankfully, with the right food swaps and ingredients, it can be relatively simple. Thankfully, there are a ton of great food options on the market. Yogurt, when selecting the right one, can be an incredibly nutritious and blood sugar-friendly choice. In this blog, we’re diving into the five best yogurts for diabetics, specifically gestational diabetes.
Types of High-Protein Yogurt
Most people don’t realize it, but there are two types of popular high-protein yogurts on the market. These include Greek yogurt and Skyr yogurt. Greek yogurt is from Greece, while Skyer yogurt is from Iceland and is also known as Icelandic yogurt. The most popular brand to date of Skyr yogurt is Siggi’s, which you may have seen at your local Starbucks or Whole Foods.
Why Greek Yogurt is a High-Protein
Greek yogurt is one of the best yogurts for diabetics because it contains more protein than regular yogurt. Greek yogurt is made by straining regular yogurt one additional time. By straining the liquid from the yogurt, it creates a thicker and creamer texture. It also loses much of the milk sugars found in regular yogurt through the straining process. This process results in a lower carbohydrate and high protein yogurt.
Why Skyr is High Protein
Skyr isn’t a yogurt but an Icelandic dairy product with a similar nutrition profile and taste to yogurt. Skyr contains a unique live bacteria culture and rennet. These cultures turn the milk used to make Skyr into a creamy texture, and then it is strained, making it even creamier. Sky is thicker than Greek yogurt and often contains more protein and less carb than Greek yogurt due to its thickness. (1)
What to Look for When Choosing the Best Yogurt for Diabetics?
The best technique to find the right yogurt for your blood sugar is to choose a yogurt that contains more protein or fat than carbs. We know that when you eat a food that contains primarily carbs, it’s likely that your blood sugar will rise too quickly and possibly too high. Fat and protein slow down digestion and keep blood sugar from spiking when you eat a meal or snack that contains more protein or fat than carbs.
For the full breakdown of how gestational diabetes affects your blood sugars and how you can holistically manage it through diet and lifestyle, check out my mastering gestational diabetes course.
Five Best Yogurt for Gestational Diabetes
Siggi’s Skyr Plain
I love Siggi’s; it is one of my favorite yogurts, and Sky’s. This brand pays very close attention to the quality of its products and employs dietitians as part of its company family. Siggi’s plain 4% fat yogurt contains 18g of protein, 7g of fat, and 5g of carb, making it one of the best yogurts for diabetics, especially gestational diabetes.
If you’re not a huge fan of plain yogurt, I recommend adding in cinnamon and vanilla or melting a few berries and adding it to the yogurt. These add-ins will hide the sour taste you may not like. You can always add your favorite mixes, like nuts and seeds.
Chobani Zero is a very popular choice among my patients. It’s easy to find and has a reasonable price point in many stores. Plus, you can find it in many Costco stores. Chobani Zero contains 11g of protein, 5g of carbs, and 0 g of fat. You can find it in many flavors like milk and cookies, peach, vanilla, and blueberry.
Oikos Triple Zero
Oikos is another easy brand to find at most national food chains like Target. This one is another great protein source containing 15g of protein, 7g of carb, and 0g of fat. Oikos yogurt comes in over sixteen flavors! YOu can find everything from mixed berry to salted caramel and lemon tart.
Two Good is a high-protein yogurt loved by many who don’t like the thicker texture of Skyr or Greek yogurt. Even though Two Good isn’t as thick as Greek or Skyr, it still contains a good amount of protein at 12g, only 4g of carbs, and 0g of fat. YOu can find Two Good at most national retailers, and it comes in over ten flavors. The company also donates 1 cent per yogurt purchase to fight global hunger.
Fage is well known for its quality Greek yogurt. Fage plain comes in everything from 0% to 5% fat. There are conflicting opinions and research on whether to do low-fat or high-fat dairy in pregnancy. Consult with your doctor to find out, based on your pregnancy, what is the best choice. Fage 0% plain Greek yogurt contains 15g of protein, 5g of carbs, and zero fat.
If you don’t like the tart taste of plain yogurt, simply mix in pure vanilla extract, cinnamon, or fruit into the yogurt. It’s amazing what a few add-ins will do to the flavor.
Choosing the best yogurt for diabetics and your taste buds doesn’t have to be complicated. Remember to look for yogurt with more protein and fat than carbs. As a prenatal dietitian, I prefer plain yogurts over flavored ones due to the simple ingredients and high protein content. Choose what works best for you and your prenatal and gestational diabetes needs.
Ginger Cochran is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, functional medicine practitioner, Certified Diabetes Educator & Care Specialist, Certified Wellness Coach, Certified Exercise Physiologist, and owner of Nutritious Ginger, an integrative and functional nutrition practice focusing on full body self-care and nourishment. Ginger’s primary specialty is women’s health, with a special emphasis on gestational diabetes, weight management, infertility, digestive wellness, and overall health + happiness.
Ginger serves on the board of director for the Nutrition Care Manual by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.