Is Yogurt Good For Diabetics?

Last updated on September 29th, 2023

As cases of diabetes continue to rise, individuals diagnosed with this chronic condition are faced with the challenge of managing their diet to maintain stable blood sugar levels. Among the various dietary options available, yogurt for diabetics has gained attention for its potential health benefits. With its creamy texture and tangy flavour, yogurt is not only a popular snack but also touted as a source of essential nutrients. However, for individuals with diabetes, navigating the complex world of food choices can be overwhelming. This article aims to explore the question, Is yogurt good for diabetics? We delve into the nutritional aspects, potential yogurt and diabetes connection, its benefits and considerations that diabetes patients should keep in mind and much more. Here is the content table:

What is Yogurt?

There is much confusion in the market, and what is yogurt? And it’s often considered synonymous with curd. But in reality, curd and yogurt are two different products. Yogurt is a type of dairy product made through the fermentation of milk by specific bacterial cultures different from curd. The primary bacteria used in this fermentation process are Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus. Yogurt contains bacteria that convert the lactose in the milk into lactic acid. The conversion thickens the milk and gives yogurt its characteristic tangy flavour and creamy texture.

The origins of yogurt can be traced back thousands of years to various cultures around the world. It is believed that the process of fermenting milk to create yogurt was discovered independently by different societies.

One of the earliest records of yogurt consumption comes from ancient Mesopotamia (present-day Iraq), where historical accounts suggest that fermented milk products were consumed by early civilisations. Similarly, yogurt-making practices were documented in ancient India, where curd (a form of yogurt) has been a staple in traditional cuisine for centuries.

In Central Asia and the Middle East, nomadic communities are thought to have accidentally discovered yogurt-making through the natural fermentation of milk carried in animal skins. Over time, yogurt-making techniques spread to other parts of the world, including Europe and the Mediterranean. Different cultures adopted their variations of yogurt, resulting in a wide range of flavours and consistencies.

Yogurt is a flavourful food that can be enjoyed on its own. Yogurt comes in different varieties like full fat yogurt, non fat yogurt, Greek yogurt, lactose-free yogurt, etc. It can be mixed with fruits and nuts, used in smoothies, or as an ingredient in various dishes and recipes. Yogurt for diabetes patients can be beneficial as it’s known for its probiotic content. The nutrient profile provides potential health benefits for digestion and gut health. Additionally, yogurt contains a good source of calcium, protein, and other essential nutrients.

Read More: Is Jamun Good For Diabetes?

Nutritional Value of Yogurt

Yogurt contains a load of essential nutrients like proteins like casein and whey, calcium, vitamin B6, etc. Here is the nutritional chart of yogurt:

Nutritional Value of Yogurt
Nutrients per 100 grams  Amount
Calories 59 calories
Total Fat 0.4 g
Saturated Fat 0.1 g
Cholesterol 5 mg
Protein 10 g
Sodium 36 mg
Potassium 141 mg
Carbohydrates 3.6 g
Fiber 0 g
Sugar 3.2 g
Calcium 11%
Cobalamin 13%
Magnesium 2%
Vitamin B6 5%

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

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Yogurt Glycemic Index

The glycemic index of yogurt ranges between 15 to 35. The unsweetened low or non fat yogurt has lower GI value. And full fat yogurt with flavours have higher GI value. The glycemic load of yogurt too is low classifying it as a low GI and GL food.

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Yogurt and Diabetes

To answer the question, is yogurt good for diabetics? doesn’t have a straight answer. Yes, yogurt for diabetics can be a good food source. Plain, unsweetened yogurt can be a source of protein and probiotics without causing rapid spikes in blood sugar levels. Yogurt contains important nutrients like casein and whey proteins, ruminant trans fat, calcium, phosphorus, etc.

Along with this, several studies suggest that yogurt for diabetics contains beneficial effects. For example, a 2012 study by “The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition” found that regular intake of yogurt resulted in a reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The probiotics in yogurt may help improve gut health and potentially impact insulin sensitivity. Therefore, yogurt for diabetes type 2 patients helps them in this regard.

Another study published in the “European Journal of Nutrition” in 2017 showed that eating yogurt for diabetics was linked to a lower impact of type 2 diabetes. And better glycemic control in individuals who already had diabetes. The researchers theorised that the fermentation process of yogurt might lead to improved glucose metabolism.

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The Problem with Yogurt

However, keeping aside these benefits of consuming dairy products like milk, buttermilk, yogurt for diabetes type 2 patients poses another problem. Milk and dairy products, including most types of yogurt for diabetics, have IGF molecules (Insulin-like growth factors). The IGF molecules, when they go inside our body, start behaving like insulin molecules which hampers insulin secretion.

But the IGF molecules don’t work like insulin thereby increasing your blood glucose. So diabetics with uncontrolled sugar levels and HbA1c levels should avoid yogurt. Also, yogurt for diabetics looking to control their condition or reverse diabetes is a big no.

However, diabetes patients who have cleared the glucose tolerance test (GTT) or have controlled sugar levels can include yogurt in their diet. The quantity of yogurt will be decided by the dietician or doctor. And remember to choose low-fat or non fat yogurt, dairy-free yogurt varieties.

Flavoured yogurts often contain added sugars, which can negate the potential benefits. As always, individual dietary needs can vary, so make these changes only after consulting with your healthcare professional.

Read More: Indian Diet for Diabetes Reversal.

Benefits of Yogurt for Diabetics

Yogurt for diabetics offers several benefits. Some of them are mentioned below:

Protein Source

Yogurt for diabetics is a good source of protein. Protein-rich foods help promote a feeling of fullness, regulate blood sugar levels, and support body metabolism.


The live cultures in yogurt contains probiotics that may positively impact gut health. Emerging studies indicate that a healthy gut microbiome can positively affect insulin sensitivity and glucose metabolism.

 Read More: Is Ash Gourd Good For Diabetes?

Low Glycemic Index

Plain, unsweetened yogurt typically has a low glycemic index. This means yogurt for diabetics causes a slower rise in blood sugar levels compared to high-carbohydrate foods.

Calcium and Vitamin D

Yogurt for diabetes type 2 patients are rich in calcium and, if fortified, can provide vitamin D. The nutrients present in yogurt promote good bone health, which can be very helpful to aging diabetes patients.

Read More: Is Bottle Gourd Good For Diabetes?


The fermentation process used to make yogurt breaks down some of the lactose. This makes yogurt for diabetics who are lactose intolerant vouch for it, making it easier to digest for them.

Nutrient Density

Yogurt for diabetics contains various vitamins and minerals, such as potassium, magnesium, and B vitamins, contributing to overall nutrition.

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Weight Management

Foods like yogurt contains rich protein content like casein and whey, which can help with weight management. Weight loss is particularly important for diabetes management.

Reduced Risk of Type 2 Diabetes

Studies suggest that regular consumption of yogurt for diabetics or pre diabetics with normal sugar levels can decrease the risk of its development on a full scale.

Disclaimer: The benefits of yogurt for diabetics mentioned above are only applicable to diabetics with normal and controlled sugar and HbA1c levels. Or the ones who have cleared GTT (Glucose tolerance test). Remember consuming yogurt and other dairy products for diabetics is only to be done after consulting a doctor.

Read More: Chart For Normal Blood Sugar Levels for Adults with Diabetes

Ways to Consume Yogurt for Diabetics

Here are some ways to consume yogurt for diabetes type 2 patients:

Plain Yogurt Parfait

Layer plain yogurt with fresh berries and a sprinkle of nuts or seeds for added flavour and crunch.


Blend yogurt for diabetics with low-sugar fruits like berries, spinach and a splash of almond milk for a nutritious and tasty smoothie.

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Yogurt Bowl

Top a bowl of yogurt for diabetics with chopped fruits, a drizzle of honey or stevia with a sprinkle of cinnamon for added sweetness.

Salad Dressing

Use plain yogurt for diabetics as a base for a creamy salad dressing with herbs and a touch of lemon juice.

Frozen Yogurt Pops

This recipe of yogurt for diabetics can be another tasty snack option. Mix yogurt with pureed fruits and pour into popsicle moulds for a refreshing treat.

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Yogurt Dip

Create a savoury dip by mixing yogurt with herbs and spices. Enjoy it with cut-up vegetables.


Use yogurt as a marinade for lean proteins like chicken or tofu before grilling or baking.

Substitute for Sour Cream

Use plain yogurt for diabetes type 2 patients as a healthier alternative to sour cream.

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Overnight Oats

Combine yogurt for diabetics with oats, chia seeds, and fruits. This recipe can be a convenient breakfast that’s easy to prepare in advance.


Replace some of the fat in baking recipes with yogurt for diabetics. Yogurt will add moisture and nutrition.

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Side Effects of Eating Yogurt for Diabetics

Side Effects of Eating Yogurt

Side effects from eating yogurt for diabetics are rather rare. But one should be aware of all possible effects that might occur. Here are some yogurt side effects for diabetes patients:


There are carbs in yogurt, even in low-fat variants. Yogurt contains natural sugars, namely lactose therefore, it’s essential to monitor your carbohydrate intake. Go for plain, unsweetened yogurt options to avoid added sugars.

Portion Control

The impact of yogurt for diabetics depends upon portion sizes. Overeating can lead to increased carbs intake, affecting blood sugar. The fat percentage in Greek yogurt, flavoured yogurts, full fat yogurt, etc., is comparatively high, so avoid them.

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IGF molecules

Yogurt for diabetics, like other dairy products, contains IGF (Insulin-like growth factors). IGF molecules appear like insulin in your body, thereby hampering insulin secretion. But IGF molecules don’t control blood sugar like insulin does, thus, increasing your blood sugar. So yogurt for diabetics with high sugar or HbA1c is not at all recommended.

Type of Yogurt

Opt for plain, low-fat, or non fat yogurt to minimise saturated fat intake. Avoid flavoured yogurts for diabetics with added sugars.

Blood Sugar Management

While yogurt itself may have a relatively low glycemic index, individual responses can vary. It’s recommended to monitor blood sugar levels after consuming yogurt to understand its impact on your body.

Lactose Intolerance

Some diabetes can be lactose intolerant, which can lead to gastrointestinal discomfort after consuming yogurt. Such people should avoid yogurt. You can opt for lactose-free or dairy-free yogurt for diabetics with lactose intolerance.

Weight Gain

Overconsumption of yogurt for diabetics (especially sweetened varieties) can contribute to weight gain, which may negatively affect diabetes management.

It’s important to note that individual responses to yogurt can vary, and it’s advisable for diabetes patients to work with their doctor to formulate a tailored nutrition plan that aligns with their health goals and diabetes management needs.

Read More: Is Bitter Gourd Good for Diabetes Patients?


In conclusion, yogurt can be a valuable addition to the diet of diabetes patients, offering numerous potential benefits. But is yogurt good for diabetics? With its low glycemic profile, high protein content, and probiotic properties, curd has the potential to help stabilise blood sugar levels, aid in digestion, and support overall gut health. However, dairy products like yogurt contains IGF molecules which can increase blood sugar. So yogurt for diabetics with high sugar levels should avoid it. Diabetics with normal sugar and HbA1c can consume yogurt but with portion control. Also, the type of curd consumed (plain flavoured bored) and potential interactions with medications should be taken into account. We would say it’s mandatory for diabetes patients to consult their doctor before adding yogurt or making any significant dietary changes. By incorporating yogurt mindfully and within the context of a balanced diet, diabetes patients can potentially enjoy its positive effects on their health and well-being.

Read More: 16 Best Fruits Juice For Diabetes.


Can diabetics eat yogurt at night?

Yes, yogurt for diabetics can be a good late-night snack due to its good nutritional profile. Yogurt has low GI, and probiotics which enhances your gut metabolism at night. But remember to choose plain non-fat yogurt or a dairy-free variant.

Does yogurt raise blood sugar?

Yogurt for diabetes type 2 patients like any other dairy product has IGF molecules which mimic insulin stopping the release of insulin molecules in the bloodstream. Therefore yes yogurt will raise sugar levels. However, choosing non fat yogurt, or dairy-free yogurt will minimise this effect.


What kind of yogurt is good for diabetics?

Diabetics should always go for non fat yogurt or low-fat Greek yogurt. They can also go for lactose-free yogurt and dairy-free yogurt. Always choose plain and unsweetened yogurts.


What is the best time to eat yogurt for diabetics?

Yogurt for diabetics is best when consumed in the morning on an empty stomach. The probiotic bacteria present in the yogurt directly go to the intestines and improves your gut health.


How much yogurt per day for diabetics?

Generally, doctors and medical associations like Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) suggest diabetes patients can consume about 2 cups of yogurt. However, if a diabetic is having high sugar levels then the quantity is definitely to be curtailed.



Last Updated on by Dr. Damanjit Duggal 


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