The Short Answer
No. Generally speaking, yogurt is not considered paleo.
Why Is Yogurt Not Paleo?
The main reason that yogurt is not paleo is that it is a form of dairy. Almost all dairy is off limits for the following reasons:
- It is not natural for humans to be consuming dairy, which comes from cows, sheep, and goats. Humans are only supposed to consume milk from other humans (their mothers) when they are infants and are being nursed.
- Dairy consumption has been linked to the development of many diseases in humans, including some very serious and chronic such as diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.
- It’s believed that the majority of people (somewhere around 65% and 70%) are somewhat allergic to dairy products (mainly from cows) due to not being able to digest the type of sugar present in milk (lactose) properly.
- Dairy has to undergo a lot of processing in order to be edible. Therefore it’s not something that could have been produced and consumed during caveman times. Animas, including cows, were also not domesticated, so it would have been impossible to milk them.
- The quality of dairy that is widely available today is usually very poor. It is filled with added sugar and comes from sick cows that have been mistreated and given hormones and antibiotics.
- All nutrients available in yogurt and dairy foods can be obtained from other foods. For example, calcium is available in certain vegetables and protein can be obtained from meat, eggs, and seafood.
Why There Is Confusion
Some people think yogurt is paleo. There are basically two camps of paleo followers when it comes to yogurt.
One camp agrees with the points just covered, while the other group feels that very good quality dairy (raw, free from processing, unpasteurized, full-fat, close to nature, and unsweetened) is OK and even beneficial for humans.
This camp therefore believes that yogurt can be good for you because it contains a good amount of nutrients like protein, probiotics, and calcium. They say studies have shown that yogurt has not been shown to be harmful to populations that have eaten it for a long time (for example, certain populations in India and Africa).
They also point out that many people have less of an allergic reaction to goat and sheep’s milk, so these types of yogurt could potentially solve the allergy issue.
It’s important to state that these benefits are only thought to apply when the diary in question comes from cows, sheep, and goats that have been grass-fed and pastured.
Yogurt Is Not Paleo
Overall, yogurt is not paleo for the same reasons that other forms of dairy are not paleo but it is up to you whether or not you consume it.
How To Know What Is And Isn’t Paleo
Check out is Paleo.io, the mobile app that answers the question, “is __ paleo?”. Paleo.io comes with the most comprehensive paleo diet food list out there, so no matter which food you’re confused about, you’ll always be able to find out whether or not it’s paleo.
Further Resources And Reading
If you want to learn more about why yogurt and almost all dairy is not generally considered to be paleo, check out these additional resources.
- This post really sums up the argument for not consuming any dairy.
- This post explains why dairy is harmful.
- This post discusses some of the controversy surrounding the categorization of dairy.
Photo credit: Randal Whitmore