Yogurt as Part of Post-Op Weight Loss Surgery Diet

Medically Reviewed by Katelyn J. Mock, US-Registered Dietician (R.D.)

Our US-registered dietitian talks about taking yogurt after bariatric surgery:

Can you eat yogurt after weight loss surgery? It is a good source of protein but can you always have it as a source of protein? Here are a few brands you can get. Read on to know more.

Confused About What Yogurt To Get

Basic Yogurt for Post-WLS

So I am going to start with the foundation of my yogurt consumption and that is the Stonyfield organic. As you can see, it is a whole milk base.

There is some debate between dietitians, nutritionists and surgeons and the whole medical field in general as to whether you should have low-fat dairy products or no-fat dairy products or full-fat dairy products, and what I have determined from the research that I have seen and what I have just personally experienced, I tend to like the whole fat yogurt especially.

After Bariatric Surgery – Whole Milk or Fat-Free?


Video: More About Whole-milk Yogurt after WLS

Now milk… maybe 2% is a good choice but I really like the whole fat yogurt. I think it has a good taste, a good consistency and it leaves me feeling more satisfied. I am not craving things and wanting to snack later on.

I know most of our handouts say nonfat yogurt or low-fat yogurt and we just haven’t changed that yet because this is kind of the frustrating thing with nutrition is that it is constantly changing as more research is being done.

This is exciting but when it comes to making recommendations to patients, it can get difficult because there is not a concrete yes or no or right or wrong answer to things. So, this is how I personally feel.

Nutritionist’s Tip: As far as the pre-op liver shrink diet goes, you might want to go with the fat-free or low-fat version because our goal here is to shrink your liver and not your weight loss. So, just my two cents weighing in on that!

Reading Labels on Yogurt Boxes

Read the portions on the food labels. After surgery, you can tolerate about half a cup or 2 ounces, kind of depending.

As you can see the grams of fat, the saturated fat 5 grams but once again, most of you are not going to be eating much and as I said before, the research is kind of changing as far as may be fat free is not as good as everyone thought it was and then, our protein is 8 grams.

So that is not going to be as high as in Greek yogurt but it is probably going to be higher than a lot of flavored yogurts.

The other number I want you to pay close attention to is the sugars – 11 grams. If we go to our ingredients over here, it is cultured pasteurized organic whole milk, pectin and vitamins D3 has the cultures.

So, you can see that it has no added sugars. That 11 grams of sugar is coming from lactose, which is the natural milk sugar that is found in milk. So, you are not going to find a lot of yogurts that are going to take that lactose out.

Reading Yogurt Contents

Yogurt – With Lactose or Lactose-Free?

One of the yogurts that we will talk about here in a second… may remove or I am pretty sure they do remove the lactose. A lot of lactose-free yogurts obviously are going to have the lactose removed. So you are going to see the grams of sugar being much less.

I am not concerned about your grams of lactose. If you have lactose intolerance, then I am concerned. But I am not concerned with these 11 grams. You are not likely to get dumping from this. Not unless you are drinking a lot of water with this yogurt. So, it is the added sugar that you really want to pay attention to. There is that!

I am probably going to have to do this post in a couple of different settings because I think this is going to be long.

Greek Yogurt after Bariatric Surgery

You can have plain Greek yogurt. I could not find a plain version. But we will kind of go through this. So this serving is 5.3 ounces. Calories are 180, 11 grams of protein as you can see there.

A smaller serving but more grams of proteins and that is because it is Greek yogurt. They actually strain more of the liquid out. It is just a more concentrated product.

Tip: You could essentially take any of these yogurts and sift them through some cheesecloth for an hour or so and let the water strain out. You would essentially make your own Greek yogurt. So, there is a little trick of the trade.


If you look at our ingredients, again it is pasteurized organic whole milk, organic cane sugar… So, that is where you look at your sugar grams. They are 18. So, part of that 18 is going to be the lactose and part of this 18 is going to be the added cane sugar. It is not a ton. I am not overly concerned about it but it is there just so you know. So there is that!

Smari – Greek Yogurt Post WLS

Plain Yogurt: The other one I am going to go to next is Smari, I think. I am not sure how to pronounce this. So this is a 5 ounce yogurt and then, when we go to the back… it is 130 calories. So, less calories… same kind of fat, a significant portion of fat, only 3 grams of sugar… which makes me think if this one is non-lactose but it doesn’t say and I went to their website to try to do a little bit of a quick research but I couldn’t find anything that said they take out the lactose but my guess is that is what is going on here.

And then, a higher protein content! I am not sure in this situation and then as you can see here, no added sugar. In this one, they actually used pasteurized skim milk and then they add some whole milk as well. So that is the plain version and this one is flavored.

Flavored Yogurt: It is coconut and has 0% milk fat. I am not usually a fan of the 0% but this is the only flavored one that I could find. As you can see here, the organic cane sugar is the third ingredient, which is pretty common. It has 11 grams of sugar. So once again, some of those grams of sugar are going to be from the lactose and the remaining portion, in this case, would be from the added sugar.

Lactose-Free Greek Yogurt

I have another coconut yogurt as well. Just to show you if some of you have lactose intolerance, this can be a good option. The only problem with a lot of coconut yogurts or other products that are dairy-free is that they are very low in protein. So, it is less than 1 gram.

You might get some flavor… it might be something good to add to your smoothies with protein powder just to get that nice, smooth consistency. You might like how this yogurt tastes and for people who cannot do milk, this is a good option.

But, it is not going to give you the protein that you need, especially post-op initially. And as you can see, there are typically a lot more ingredients in these. It is just to kind of keep them stable.

Yogurt - With or Without Lactose

Greek Yogurt – Noosa

Another brand I really like the flavor of but can be pretty high in calorie in Noosa. It is 8 ounces, almost 300 calories. So, it is pretty significant.

This is 13 grams of protein, so it is a little bit higher but then if you look at that sugar, this one is 28 grams.

Most of these kind of range around the mid 20s to high 20s. And again, you can see that cane sugar is in there.

So, just to kind of give you guys education. I hope this helps. I know this is kind of a long post but just some things to look for when you are yogurt shopping.”

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