Low-carb diets, as the name implies, reduce the consumption of most carbohydrates, including sugar. Depending on the diet you may be instructed to choose healthy fats or maintain a moderate fat intake. Dairy products are usually included in a low-carbohydrate eating plan, but such products depend on the diet. Low-carbohydrate versions of favorite dairy foods, such as ice cream and yogurt, are an option in some diets.
Low and Very Low Carbohydrate Diet Plans
Very low carbohydrate diets vary from plans that limit all carbohydrates to those that reduce or eliminate only some of them. Some diets like Atkins allow fat to be unlimited, while others, including the Zone diet or the South Beach diet limit fat consumption. The dairy products included in your diet plan depend on the low or very low carbohydrate plan you follow. If you choose the Zone or South Beach diet, low-fat dairy products are acceptable, but whole-fat and low-carbohydrate products are not. The opposite is true in the Atkins diet.
Yogurt is an excellent source of calcium and protein, providing a simple solution for meals or snacks on a low carbohydrate diet. Avoid sugar-sweetened yogurts and eliminate more carbohydrates by opting for a simple non-sweetened yogurt in the Greek style. Low fat or free creamy yogurt contains as little as 9 grams of carbohydrates and 22 grams of protein. Use yogurt on salty saucers or add a low-carb fruit such as berries.
Dietary ice creams, ranging from low-fat and calorie-free ice cream desserts to those with full-fat, sugar-free fillers, fill store shelves. Low-fat desserts often have a high carbohydrate content, even if the calorie count is reasonable. Low-carbohydrate ice cream generally replaces sugar with sugar alcohols, such as maltitol, but can use artificial sweeteners. These are whole-fat and high-calorie ice creams, and are not appropriate for many low-carbohydrate diets such as South Beach or Zone.
Low-carbohydrate products, including yogurt and ice cream, are usually sweetened with artificial sweeteners or sugar alcohols. Some low carbohydrate food plans stick to these foods, while others recommend avoiding them and choosing whole foods without processing. Artificial sweeteners have no calories and are generally considered safe by the US Food and Drug Administration. Sugar alcohols contain calories, but they are free of carbohydrates, although they can also cause upset stomach.