Diabetes Diet

Straining Yogurt

You can make the best yogurt even better. Best of all, it takes very little effort.

The good yogurt is Greek-style. One big reason why is is better than the typical yogurt in supermarkets is that it’s lower in carbohydrates. They remove most of the high-carb whey from it.

Most, but not all. You might be able to remove more and make it even better by straining your yogurt. However, much of what you can remove from the yogurt by straining it is probably water.

In either case, the extra-thick strained yogurt that results is not only a nutritious food for people with diabetes — including those of us who follow a very low-carb diet — but is extra-tasty as well.

Any simple strainer will do. Traditionally, most people have used cheesecloth. But that’s messy.

My friend Barry, the low-carb vegetarian whom I wrote about here, at first used a basket-style paper coffee filter set in a plastic bowl of matching size in which he cut out drainage holes.  But that can be messy too.

Even simpler, albeit more expensive, is to use a Swissgold coffee filter, as I did at first. Again, the basket style is probably easier to use.

Then, Barry discovered something even better, the Donvier Yogurt Cheese Maker by Cuisipro, available on the Web or by mail order. This strainer has much more straining surface area and produces extra-thick yogurt in as little as two hours.

Barry makes his own yogurt and uses one of these strainers to strain his homemade yogurt. I use mine to strain the organic Oikos yogurt that I prefer. Not only does it reduce the whey but it also increases the flavor so much that the resulting yogurt is almost as thick as cream cheese and approaches — if it isn’t the same thing as — the ultra-thick yogurt of the Middle East generally known as lebneh or lebni. Some people just call it yogurt cheese.

Whatever you call it, you can use it it as a low-fat substitute for cream cheese, sour cream, or mayonnaise. It makes a great dip or a spread, and you can use it in your salad dressing.

One wonderful recipe using yogurt cheese comes with the the Donvier Yogurt Cheese Maker that both Barry and I now use. It’s called “Tzatziki.” It is a well-known Greek appetizer, according to Wikipedia. This recipe had lots of variations, but it’s basically 1 cucumber and 1 1/2 cups yogurt cheese. Grate or dice the cucumber, sprinkle it with salt and drain and squeeze to remove the excess liquid. A couple of cloves of minced garlic and a little hot sauce make it incredibly tasty.

I like the yogurt cheese so well, however, that I usually just eat it plain. Sometimes I add a sprinkling of chia seeds or slivered almonds or a little vanilla. However we eat this creamy yogurt, we know we are getting something that tastes great and is also great for us.

This article is based on an earlier version of my article published by HealthCentral.

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  • David Mendosa at

    Dear Tyra,

    Yogurt IS listed at http://www.mendosa.com/gilists.htm but you may have missed it because it’s spelled the British way — yoghurt. Plain yogurt is very low glycemic.

    The carb content on the label doesn’t give a true idea of the carb effect. So wrote a chemist and a doctor (with my friend Gretchen Becker) in “The Four Corners Diet” book. They wrote there that the good bacteria in yogurt (and other probiotic foods) break down the lactose sugar into lactic acid, which doesn’t raise our BG.

    “You can subtract 1 gram of carbohydrate for each ounce of these probiotic foods you eat,” they wrote on page 55. “Thus, for a standard 8-ounce container of plain yogurt, which usually says it has about 12 grams of carbohydrates, you need to count only 4. This is not just speculation. Dr. Goldberg has actually measured the carbohydrate content of yogurt in his own laboratory.”

    Yes, plain yogurt — particularly Greek-style (strained) is good for us!

    Best regards,


  • Tyra Somers at

    That’s really interesting. How many carbs in a half cup of the stuff? What would be the GI value?

    Also, why isn’t plain or low fat yogurt listed on the GI charts? Has it not been tested? I’d love to find out it’s good for us because I really like yogurt.