Yogurt is delicious. You also always hear about how it’s good for you nutritionally, since it’s packed with healthy fats and protein. And if you’re a yogurt lover specifically interested in weight loss, you might be thinking: Is yogurt a good food to fill up on if you have weight loss goals?
Yogurt generally gets a good rap due to the fact that it contains nutrients like calcium, protein, probiotics, and more, all of which are great for your body, especially your gut health, explains Erica Zellner, MS, LDN, a health coach at Parsley Health in California. That said, note this: “Many types of yogurt on the market are less ideal for health or for weight loss because of high sugar levels,” says Zellner. And while sugar in moderation is totally fine, overdoing it (like constantly eating foods that are high in added sugars) is associated with conditions like heart disease and type two diabetes, Zellner notes.
Keep reading for everything you need to know about yogurt, from which types of yogurt are best for weight loss to whether Greek yogurt is really better than regular yogurt.
Is yogurt good for weight loss—yes or no?
In summary, yes, yogurt can be a great food for weight loss. “Yogurt is a good source of protein that helps with satiety,” says Maggie Michalczyk, RDN. That means it’ll keep you full for a significant amount of time.
Yogurt also contains beneficial probiotics, which help keep your digestive system running smoothly, maintain your bodily immunity, and prevent bacterial infections like UTIs, Michalczyk adds.
Here’s a pro tip: Look for yogurts with a seal that says this yogurt contains “live and active cultures,” notes Michalczyk. Why? This guarantees that the yogurt will contain about 100 million probiotic cultures per gram, or lots of healthy bacteria for your gut.
Which types of yogurt are best for weight loss?
The trick is to pick a high-protein yogurt, which will keep you fuller for longer than one that has little to no protein and a lot of added sugar, Michalczyk says. “I like opting for low-sugar or no-sugar-added varieties and find it fun to add my own toppings like honey, berries, nuts and seeds.” Yum.
Need a sure-fire plan for when you’re shopping the yogurt aisles? Just make sure you’re looking at the box before you buy to make sure you’re getting a truly plain yogurt. “Check the back label: Some will have additives that you may want to avoid, including thickening agents like starches or gelatin, whey or milk protein concentrate, modified food starch or pectin,” Zellner says.
Is Greek yogurt *really* better than regular yogurt?
Greek yogurt might be better than regular yogurt if weight loss is your goal. Why? It helps you stay fuller for longer due to its high protein content.
“What makes Greek yogurt different from regular yogurt is that it’s thicker and creamier due to the extensive straining process,” Michalczyk says. “This is also what makes Greek yogurt richer in protein.” Noted!
These Are All The Best Yogurts You Can Buy Online
Wait, I heard yogurt can make you gain weight. What’s that about?
So while you’ve heard all these great things about yogurt, there’s also some aspects to note if you’re consuming yogurt with the goal of weight loss. The following are a few things to note about the ways yogurt and the way it can sometimes correlate to weight gain, according to Keri Gans, RDN.
- Adding too many sweeteners. “People will add honey to sweeten, cereal for some crunch, or maybe nuts and fruit,” says Gans. “All of these things can be great additions, but in modest amounts. It’s very easy to turn yogurt from a snack into a meal without realizing it.”
- Focusing too Much on calories. Calorie counting can be misleading when it comes to yogurt. “A lot of yogurts that are low in calories and don’t have enough protein,” says Gans. “A yogurt may be 100 calories but only has six grams of protein,” says Gans. “In that case, you would probably be better off choosing one that has more calories but 12 to 15 grams of protein so it’s easier to stay full until your next meal.”
- Only buying fat-free yogurt. “Fat-free yogurt might be overcompensating in another area like sugar,” says Gans. All yogurt will have naturally occurring sugars as a byproduct of coming from milk, but some have added sugars to boost the taste. If your fat-free yogurt has more sugar than it has protein, you might want to try nixing it, Gans says.
When is the best time of day to eat yogurt for weight loss?
“Yogurt can be eaten at any time of the day, there is no wrong time to eat yogurt,” Zellner says. So feel free to eat it whenever you’ve got the craving.
Not sure? Here’s a tip: “Having a high protein yogurt as part of your breakfast can be a really good option, as the protein will keep you fuller longer and it’s easily incorporated into smoothies, overnight oats, parfaits, or protein pancakes,” Zellner says. “You can also use a high protein yogurt as part of a blood sugar balanced snack between meals if you’re feeling hungry.”
The bottom line: TL;DR, whether you want it for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or a snack, yogurt is a viable (and delicious!) source to satisfy your hunger cues during the day.
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