Jar of yogurt.

Do sugars in yogurt and bacon count?

bacon faq salami sugars yogurt Jun 13, 2021


For some ketogenic dieters, full-fat yogurt is acceptable on a ketogenic diet. However, as with many other things, there are differences of opinions. Here is why many consider it okay to not count the sugar in yogurt, as long as it is FULL-FAT PLAIN UNFLAVORED (and preferably Greek) yogurt: The bacteria in yogurt eat the lactose for energy. What is on the label is what goes into the product before it is processed.

Carbs that are left behind after this process are a fraction of what is on the label. Some "Ketonians" will say count all the carbs on the label. Some will say don't count any. The way I count it is to split the difference. If I get a yogurt that states six grams of carbohydrates for the cup, I will count three. However, this is for PLAIN UNFLAVORED FULL-FAT yogurt ONLY. We are not talking about flavored or light yogurts. No exceptions.

Add your own flavorings to the plain unflavored yogurt. Here are some suggestions:

  • Diced cucumber and mint (or dill)
  • Fresh berries with chopped walnuts or pecans
  • A touch of fruit-flavored extracts such as banana or orange
  • Keto granola or chopped nuts and seeds
  • Keto-approved sweeteners 


Sugar and carb counts in bacon follow a similar path. Sugar is often used in the curing process and is burned off in the cooking. However, as with yogurt, manufacturers have to state the grams of sugar going into the process. Many "Ketonians" stand by the belief that the sugar is burned off in the cooking and used up in the processing and don't concern themselves with the word "sugar" on the label. Again, as with the yogurt, the manufacturer must state all the ingredients in the raw product, but things change with the curing and cooking.

When buying bacon – do not buy bacon that is advertised as "Honey," "Maple," "Sugar," etc. This often indicates that meat has been coated with sugar and has nothing to do with the curing process.

Salami and Ham

A similar question comes up with salami, because you will almost always see sugar as an ingredient. Any lactose (milk sugar) or dextrose (corn sugar) used in the manufacturing and curing process is eaten by beneficial bacteria that dry out the meat raising the acid levels, which, in turn, prevents the spoiling of the meat. That is why in bacon and salami you will often see 0 carbs even though there is sugar in the product.

This is the same for ham. Ham is considered a safe keto food, but we are talking plain boiled, roasted or baked ham. Again, sugar may be used in the curing process, but make sure you are not buying hams that are coated with sugar. You know what I’m talking about: the Honey hams or Sugar Maple hams.

The Legal Definition of "Zero Carbs"

Keep in mind that manufacturers can legally say 0 carbs per serving if there is only a fraction of one carb per serving (and often they try to fool you by making a serving size fit the equation). In this case remember, "The poison is in the dose." This means that ONE serving of the food may be 0 carbs but that does not give you carte blanche to eat 10 servings and call it 0 carbs! 


Learn more about this with my book and course:

Book Breaking Free From Diet Prison: Common Sense Keto and Low Carb 

Course Breaking Free From Diet Prison: The Roadmap to Low Carb and Keto Success

Tips for Keeping a Food Journal - Part 1

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