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Can Diabetics Eat Yogurt?

by
author image Sharon Perkins
A registered nurse with more than 25 years of experience in oncology, labor/delivery, neonatal intensive care, infertility and ophthalmology, Sharon Perkins has also coauthored and edited numerous health books for the Wiley "Dummies" series. Perkins also has extensive experience working in home health with medically fragile pediatric patients.
Can Diabetics Eat Yogurt?
A bowl of yogurt and fresh fruit. Photo Credit Barbara DudziÅska/iStock/Getty Images

Diabetes, a metabolic disorder that disrupts insulin production, affected 23.6 million Americans in 2007, according to the American Diabetes Association. Diabetes requires dietary adjustments to keep blood sugar levels within an acceptable range. High blood sugar levels can damage blood vessels, including those in the eyes and kidneys. Diabetics can eat any food, as long as they incorporate it into their daily carbohydrate allowance.

Diabetic Food Plan

Every diabetic should follow a food plan designed specifically for them. Overweight diabetics will follow a reduced-calorie eating plan which also limits daily carbohydrates. Diabetic diets generally restrict carbohydrate intake to a certain number of carbohydrates per meal or per day. Although complex carbohydrates such as whole grains add more nutritional value than simple sugars found in sweets, you can eat sweets in moderation, as long as your carbohydrate count remains within limits. People on a 1,600- to 2,000-per-day calorie level, for example, can eat eight starches per day, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disorders.

Nutritional Value

The nutritional value of yogurt depends on the type you eat. Full-fat Fage plain Greek yogurt contains 20 grams of fat, 31 percent of your daily fat intake, and 16 g of saturated fat, 80 percent of your daily intake, while its 2 percent contains 4 g of fat, 3 g from saturated fats. Fage fat-free brand has no fat at all. Fage plain 2 percent yogurt has 8 g of carbohydrate compared to 19 g, all from sugar, for the strawberry flavor. Dannon’s Fruit on the Bottom strawberry contains even more sugar, 28 g. A serving also contains approximately 6 to 17 g of protein, depending on the type of yogurt and container size.

Benefits

Yogurt supplies an excellent source of calcium as well as protein. One serving can supply between 8 and 25 percent of your daily calcium intake, depending on the brand and serving size. You need around 60 g of protein per day, so a serving of Fage 2 percent plain Greek yogurt, with 17 g, supplies nearly 33 percent of your daily intake. Choosing a plain yogurt rather than a fruit yogurt reduces your simple sugar intake. Some yogurts also contain live cultures that reduce yeast infections and boost the immune system.

Drawbacks

Whole-fat yogurt contains saturated fat, which can increase your chance of developing atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis, a buildup of plaque in the arteries, can cause heart disease or stroke; diabetics have an increased risk of both. Choosing reduced-fat plain yogurt, without added fruit, eliminates both added sugar and some or all of the saturated fat.

Considerations

If you have diabetes, you can eat yogurt as long as you incorporate it into your daily food plan. Since a diabetic diet limits carbohydrates, choosing yogurt with no added fruit and then adding your own fresh fruit gives you more food and a higher nutritional value than eating yogurt with added ingredients such as high-fructose corn syrup, author and pediatrician Dr. William Sears recommends. Read labels carefully, since nutritional value varies considerably from brand to brand.

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