For people that shift from a regular diet to a vegan diet, there are many unanswered questions, and some of the most specific ones are related to certain products, like vegan yogurt.
Vegan yogurt, unlike dairy yogurt, is made with plant sources like almonds, soy, coconuts, peas, or cashews, but akin to yogurt, it follows the same process.
Because many people don’t know how vegan yogurt is made, they wonder whether it contains the same properties that make dairy yogurt a “healthy” food.
In this article, we will answer 11 questions you need to know about vegan yogurt.
Is Vegan Yogurt Fermented?
Fermented foods are those in which microorganisms have converted relatively complex substances into less complex ones.
The fermentation process is one that changes the characteristics of food, and it’s essentially what allows us to convert grape juice into wine, or milk into yogurt.
Like dairy yogurt, vegan yogurt also relies on the fermentation process to acquire its consistency but does so using different mediums such as coconut, soy, pea, or cashew milk.
To kickstart the fermentation process – some recipe authors may rely on yogurt starters, probiotic powder, or a different medium of live cultures that enrich the end product with probiotics.
Does Vegan Yogurt Have Probiotics?
Fortunately, vegan yogurt is also among the foods that contain probiotics.
The probiotics in vegan yogurts are, like dairy yogurts, formed through fermentation, which is a metabolic process used by bacteria under anaerobic conditions.
Dairy yogurt forms when bacteria ferment lactose into lactic acid.
The bacteria in a yogurt comes from a yogurt starter, which contains a blend of bacteria that consume lactose, and optimally convert it into lactic acid. A yogurt starter can be a store-bought yogurt, or a previous batch of yogurt, or a freeze-dried bacterial culture grown in dairy milk over time.
To make vegan yogurt, a similar process is required.
The vegan yogurt forms from bacteria fermenting the sugars in plant-based milk, but a vegan yogurt starter is also added to include bacteria that prey upon the sugars. Vegan yogurt starters can be anything from store-bought soy yogurts to bacterial cultures grown in non-dairy mediums.
Keep in mind that different vegan yogurts will have distinct live cultures.
Does Vegan Yogurt Have Protein?
Yes, vegan yogurts typically have protein, but it differs from yogurt to yogurt as you can see in this article by the Foods Guy.
Some yogurts will have more protein than others, as they might be made with ingredients that contain more protein on the whole.
For instance, Ripple Yogurt Alternative, a vegan greek yogurt, contains 12g of protein which is basically due to the fact it contains a pea protein blend.
Therefore, yes, vegan yogurts contain protein, but in varying amounts, like most foods.
Does Vegan Yogurt Have Calcium?
Most dairy products, including yogurt, naturally contain calcium, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re the best source of calcium, according to an article on Harvard’s School of Public Health.
Getting calcium is important to help build bones and slow the loss of bone as we age, but it’s not clear that we need as much calcium as is generally recommended.
While calcium and dairy can lower the risk of osteoporosis and colon cancer, high intake can increase the risk of prostate cancer and possibly ovarian cancer. Also, some dairy products can be high in saturated fat and retinol, which may actually weaken the bones.
Therefore, vegan yogurt is generally a good alternative, as it contains fortified calcium and vitamin D (which is always a better choice than taking calcium alone).
Is Vegan Yogurt Healthy?
Yes, vegan yogurt can be a healthy addition to your diet, however, many vegan yogurts contain unhealthy quantities of added sugar.
Our suggestion would be for you to stick to unsweetened vegan yogurt, as that usually does not contain added sugars or only a very small amount.
If you find that unsweetened vegan yogurt is simply too plain and you need something tastier, you can always mix in other seeds or nuts to confer it with more flavor and crunchiness.
Is Vegan Yogurt Keto-Friendly?
There is a wide variety of vegan yogurts – so whether or not a particular one is keto-friendly will depend on its carbohydrate and fat content.
In order for a product to be keto-friendly, it needs to be low in carbs and high in fat.
For example, Forager Project’s Dairy-Free Cashewmilk Yogurt seems to be a decent keto-friendly alternative, as it contains some fat, but it’s also relatively low in carbohydrates.
A 150-gram container of this brand’s unsweetened plain yogurt contains:
While it’s not extremely high in fat, it also contains a low carbohydrate content, which could perhaps make way into your keto diet as a quick snack. You can also increase its fat content by adding a couple of seeds like chia seeds, sunflower seeds, or flax seeds.
Is Vegan Yogurt Gluten-Free?
Yes, vegan yogurt can be gluten-free, but you must avoid oat-based yogurts, as oats contain avenin, which is a protein similar to gluten.
Additionally, oats are sometimes (if not often) produced in the same place as wheat, barley, and rye, and then become contaminated with these other grains.
Therefore, if you have a gluten allergy and want to eat some vegan yogurt, choose one that is made with soy, cashew, coconut, or any other source that isn’t oat.
Are Alpro Yogurts Vegan?
Yes, Alpro Yogurts are definitely suitable for vegans as they do not contain any ingredients of animal origin.
They’re made with a soy base (a mixture of soybeans and water) and then include other ingredients like sugar, acidity regulators, sea salt, yogurt cultures, as well as added vitamins and minerals.
According to Alpro’s official website, all their yogurts are 100% plant-based.
Are Oreo Yogurts Vegan?
While Oreo cookies do not contain animal ingredients, the Oreo yogurts are made with animal ingredients such as milk, which makes them unsuitable for vegans.
Additionally, they contain vitamin D3, which is, in many cases, derived from lanolin, an animal byproduct.
What Are Some Vegan Yogurts?
There are several vegan yogurts you can choose from – with the growth of veganism and vegetarianism in recent years, many brands (including non-vegan ones) have launched vegan yogurts.
Some of the brands we know include:
- So Delicious Dairy-Free Coconut Yogurts
- Silk Almond Dairy-Free Yogurts
- Forager Project’s Dairy-Free Yogurts
- Kite Hill Greek-Style Dairy-Free Yogurts
- Alpro Soya Yogurts
- Nancy’s Dairy-Free Yogurts
- Siggi’s Plant-Based Yogurts
- Yoplait Oui Dairy-Free Yogurts
There are so many alternatives available, and I’m sure you’re able to find even more if you go to different supermarkets or grocery stores.
Does Vegan Yogurt Need To Be Refrigerated?
Yes, like dairy yogurt, vegan yogurt also needs to be stored in the refrigerator at a temperature below 40 degrees F, otherwise, it might spoil if left at room temperature for a couple of hours.
Fortunately, vegan yogurts (also referred to as dairy-free or plant-based yogurts) are widely available as brands continue to join the growing trend of vegetarianism and veganism.
However, some people still wonder whether plant-based yogurts are as good an option as dairy yogurts.
Therefore, in this article, we have taken the liberty to answer some of the questions that may have left some individuals (vegan or not) hesitant about consuming plant-based yogurts.
I hope we have managed to answer some of the questions that you’ve been wondering about.