Kefir and yogurt are both fermented milk products. Due to probiotics being found in kefir and yogurt, both can provide health advantages.
Depending on your individual needs, kefir may be a better dietary probiotic option than yogurt. This article will discuss the differences between kefir and yogurt, the advantages and disadvantages, and which dietary option might be right for you.
Kefir Versus Yogurt
Although both are prepared from milk, kefir and yogurt have many differences. When it comes to texture, kefir is typically more of a liquid that you can drink. Yogurt is creamier, thicker, and best eaten with a spoon.
Kefir and yogurt are both cultured — fermented foods. Bacteria or yeast are added and then break down the carbohydrates present to produce lactic acid. This process is known as lactic acid fermentation.
This process produces the tart or tangy flavor associated with fermented food while also introducing a number of beneficial gut bacteria. The main difference between them is the number of live and active cultures, protein, and lactose content.
Yogurt is typically made with 1-5 strains, such as Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus. These bacteria start the lactic acid fermentation process, which curdles the milk proteins and gives yogurt its thick, creamy texture.
Kefir, on the other hand, is created utilizing kefir grains blended with milk. Kefir grains are a combination of bacteria and yeast. The grains multiply and ferment the sugar, aka lactose, in milk.
You’d be surprised to find out how many probiotics are actually in kefir and yogurt. Kefir has three times the amount of probiotics as yogurt. It has 12 active probiotic strains and 15 to 20 billion colony-forming units (CFUs). Yogurt contains one to five active probiotic strains and only six billion CFUs.
Kefir grains are active bacteria and yeasts that multiply and ferment lactose in milk. These grains look similar to cottage cheese or curdled milk.
Kefir can be used in smoothies, as a salad dressing, or even in making ice cream.
It is a source of protein, calcium, magnesium, riboflavin, and vitamin B12. If you are looking to purchase, choose a low-fat kefir product.
It’s a no-brainer at this point that kefir is high in minerals and probiotics, making it excellent for digestion and gut health. It is also 99% lactose-free and can be suitable for those who are lactose intolerant looking for a calcium source.
The following are some of the health benefits of kefir that have been proven through scientific research:
- More powerful probiotics than yogurt
- Can help with bone health
- Can reduce the risk of osteoporosis
- May be protective against cancer
- Has strong antibacterial properties
- May help with various stomach problems
- May improve allergy and asthma symptoms
- Can be easy to make at home
Kefir Disadvantages And Side Effects
Although kefir is 99% lactose-free it does contain casein which is a milk derivative. This product would be suitable for lactose intolerant individuals, but those allergic to milk itself would not be able to consume it.
Another disadvantage of flavored kefir is that it typically contains high sugar. Some of the sugar in kefir milk comes from natural sugar, but some companies add sugar and other artificial flavors to make the drink sweeter. Always look at nutrition labels before purchasing a product.
The good news is that there are ways you can create your own kefir at home and regulate the amount of sugar and additional additives, but fermented foods are time-consuming.
You can even make yogurt using probiotic capsules to introduce those all-important cultures.
The side effects of kefir include:
Other potential side effects include digestive issues, constipation, and stomach pain. It’s unknown whether other forms of kefir, such as those produced with water or fruit juice, cause fewer symptoms.
Yogurt is high in calcium, a mineral required for strong bones. It also contains B-vitamins and phosphorus. However, yogurt doesn’t normally contain vitamin D3.
Below we take a look at the benefits and side effects of yogurt:
Health Benefits Of Yogurt
Yogurt's health advantages range from helping to prevent osteoporosis to improving digestion. The live cultures may even help to alleviate irritable bowel syndrome symptoms. However, this will vary depending on the type of yogurt consumed.
You’d have to eat a huge amount of yogurt to get enough probiotics, so if you are looking for increased benefits, it's important to supplement with other sources of beneficial bacteria. Try out PRO-15 Advanced Strength tablets for your daily dose of probiotics.
Some yogurt products can be unhealthy because of the added sugar and manufacturing processes that add preservatives. There are different amounts of probiotics depending on whether you’re eating Greek yogurt or regular yogurt.
It begins with fresh milk or cream and is pasteurized before being fermented with live bacterial cultures and kept at a warm temperature to enhance bacterial development.
Lactose, a natural sugar found in milk, is fermented by these cultures. This results in the formation of lactic acid, which gives yogurt its characteristic tart flavor.
Giving probiotic yogurt to babies when they are able to eat solid foods at 4-6 months is a great way to introduce some healthy bacteria to their gut and help overcome spells of diarrhea or vomiting. Surprisingly, yogurt can be used to combat yeast infections and other conditions as well.
Listed below are a few science-based health benefits of yogurt:
- Greek yogurt is rich in protein and calcium
- May promote weight loss
- May benefit heart health
- May help prevent osteoporosis
- May benefit gut health
- May boost your immune system
Yogurt Disadvantages And Side Effects
When ingested daily, yogurt doesn’t have many side effects. Though most people don’t encounter side effects, among the most common is a short-term increase in bloating and gas due to excessive consumption.
Health specialists are unsure why some people develop adverse effects, but they usually go away after a few weeks of consistent use.
To limit the possibility of adverse effects, begin with a little amount and gradually increase intake over a few weeks.
If bloating, gas, or other adverse effects persist for more than a few weeks, discontinue the use of probiotic yogurt and speak to a qualified healthcare professional.
Benefits Of Probiotics
Bifidobacteria and Lactobacillus acidophilus are common probiotics found in yogurt. Probiotics are active and good bacteria that can improve health and quality of life. Like yogurt, there are a number of other dietary sources that include probiotics in them, such as Kefir. This dietary source actually contains active probiotics and yeast.
If you do not feel you consume enough probiotic strains from dietary sources, you can take a probiotic supplement. Hyperbiotics PRO-15 are probiotic tablets for men and women that contain 15 specific probiotic strains, as well as a prebiotic to assist your gastrointestinal, digestive, and immune health. The unique time-release capsules have a 15X higher survival rate than veggie capsules.
On average, kefir has higher nutritional benefits and significantly higher probiotic benefits. Nonetheless, yogurt and kefir are both nutritious items to include in your diet. If you want to change it up, you could even look for probiotics in coconut milk.
Regardless of which dietary product you choose at the grocery store, be sure to keep the sugar content in mind. Look to purchase a plain version and add your own fruit to sweeten.
Choose kefir if you’re looking for a high protein and probiotic-rich breakfast or snack that you can eat on the go. Yogurt is a better option if you're wanting something adaptable that you can bake with or combine with muesli or oats.
Kefir and yogurt are both excellent food sources for gut health. Whichever you choose, you’ll be doing your stomach a service, which means you’ll be benefiting your entire body.
Did you find our blog helpful? Then consider checking out:
- Probiotic Foods
- Prebiotic Foods
- Difference Between Prebiotic And Probiotic
- Best Probiotics For Weight Loss
- Which Probiotic Should I Take?
- Probiotics With Antibiotics
- Probiotics Side Effects
- Probiotics for Kids
- Best Probiotic for Men
- Can You Take Too Many Probiotics?
**This blog is for information and education purposes only. This information is not intended to substitute professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Please consult with your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions in regards to a medical condition. A qualified healthcare professional can best assist you in deciding whether a dietary supplement is suitable based on your individual needs.