This article has been Fact-Checked by Kendall Kennedy MS, RD, RYT
Putting together your weight loss diet can get a little confusing. One of the possible foods is yogurt. Is it good for weight loss?
Yogurt is a a food made by fermenting milk. The milk used is mostly cow milk but milk from other animals can be used too.
When talking about yogurt it’s important to be specific about what kind of yogurt. There are a lot of different versions and not all of them have the same impact on your weight and health.
Difference between regular and Greek yogurt
There are differences between yogurts you need to pay attention to.
First of all, there is a difference between regular yogurt and Greek yogurt.
The fermented milk from before gets strained. During this process the amount of liquid whey lowers. Regular yogurt gets strained less than Greek yogurt. This results in a few differences in nutritional differences.
Which one is the “best” depends on you personally and what the rest of your diet looks like.
Compared to Greek yogurt, regular yogurt is usually:
- Higher in sodium
- Lower in protein
- Higher in carbs
- Higher in calcium
Protein can help you feel fuller which is great if you’re trying to lose weight.
If you’re alreay consuming a lot of sodium, Greek yogurt might be the better choice. The same goes if you’re trying out a low-carb diet.
You might not get a lot of calcium from other sources. In that case regular yogurt might be the better option.
Even within these 2 big categories there are big differences. Often other ingredients get added.
Things like sugar and artificial sweeteners can make yogurt a lot worse for your weight loss and health.
With all the different kinds out there it can be helpful to take a look at the nutrition labels and ingredients of a few yogurts and find out which one has the least, preferably no, additives. These ones are the best for weight loss and health.
For now you don’t yet need to worry about taste. You can find some healthy ways to improve taste of your yogurt at the end of this article.
Calories in yogurt
What sources the calories come from matters too but the total amount of calories in yogurt offers some information about helpful it will be for weight loss.
The example yogurt contains around 61 calories per 100 grams (1).
Certain food categories like vegetables and fruits tend to contain even smaller amounts but it is fair to say that yogurt is relatively low in calories. This is typically good for weight loss.
Total amounts aside, 17.6 of the calories above come from carbohydrates (4.7 g per 100 grams). This makes yogurt decent for low-carb diets like the ketogenic diet.
Micronutrients in regular yogurt
An important thing to look at is the amount of micronutrients in yogurt.
Micronutrients are a group of nutrients your body absolutely needs to survive and thrive. Micronutrients include vitamins and minerals. These are involved in basically every aspect of your health, including weight loss.
Even regular plain yogurt can have different nutritional contents but 100 grams of yogurt provides you with approximately (1):
- Calcium: 12% of the DV (Daily Value)
- Phosporus: 9%
- Riboflavin: 8%
- Vitamin B12: 6%
And a few other micronutrients in smaller amounts. The amount of micronutrients in yogurt is on the low side compared to most whole foods. It’s not enough for your daily portion of vitamins and minerals but it can be a nice addition to your diet.
Yogurt also contain something called probiotics, which are live bacteria that are mostly beneficial for your health.
Protein in yogurt for weight loss
Another aspect of food that can help you on your weight loss journey is the amount of protein in it.
The yogurt used as example (1) contains about 3.5 grams of protein per 100 grams. To compare, 100 grams of salmon contains around 25.4 grams (2). It’s not as great as salmon or even peanut butter as source of protein.
It’s the same as with the micronutrients of yogurt. It can be a nice addition to your diet but you can’t rely on it completely.
Protein is considered to be the most filling of the 3 macronutrients. With the little extra, yogurt can help you feel fuller.
Eating enough protein will also help you prevent muscle loss. Since, muscle helps you burn extra calories throughout the day it’s great that yogurt helps you get your daily intake.
Do keep in mind that overdoing it with protein isn’t good either.
Can yogurt help you lose belly fat?
To know if and when yogurt can help you lose belly fat, you need to know two main things.
First of all, you generally can’t target fat loss in significant amounts by doing certain exercises or eating specific foods.
To lose belly fat, you have to lose enough weight overall until your body really starts using the body fat from that specific area.
Secondly, yogurt is generally good for weight loss because it is low in calories, is relatively filling, and contains some protein, vitamins, and minerals.
Eating more of it will likely help you consume less of foods that are less helpful for losing weight.
So you can say that yogurt can eventually help you lose belly fat. At the same time, eating yogurt is definitely no guarantee for losing belly fat either.
If you just add this food on top of your regular diet without changing anything else, you could even gain some weight.
Lastly, you want to keep in mind that some individuals have intolerance issues with yogurt. These people likely want to choose other foods instead.
How much yogurt should you eat a day to lose weight?
It’s impossible to give one right quantity for everyone. However, yogurt is a rather healthy food option.
That means most people can eat up to 100-200 grams a day. The exact amount depends on what the rest of your diet looks like. If you already consume a lot of protein you might not want to add yogurt on top of that.
Adding more taste to your yogurt
Some people find regular yogurt too bland. Luckily there are a few options to improve its taste while still keeping your healthy snack healthy.
Some examples of good additions are berries, fruit, oats,…