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Probiotic Counts: Kefir vs. Greek Yogurt?

by (3280)
Updated September 16, 2014 at 7:42 PM
Created April 09, 2012 at 7:36 PM

I just tried Kefir fir the first time. The bottle says 15 billion per serving.

I normally use chobani greek yogurt. (I don't have a tub in front of me, but I don't remember if it ever mentioned counts).

So, what has more probiotic power? (Kefir vs. Greek Yogurt)???

Thanks, Mike

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3280 · April 15, 2013 at 1:00 AM

excellent! thanks!

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1213 · April 11, 2013 at 2:28 AM

Would you be willing to share Yiayia's recipe here? Unfortunately my own Yiayia has had Alzheimer's for a long time, and my mother rejected the Greek cooking gene! I know yogurt is pretty much made the same way, but it's nice to hear a "real" way from a fellow Greek.

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3280 · April 09, 2013 at 10:34 PM

+1 for having it assayed! Very cool!

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30 · May 03, 2012 at 9:49 PM

50 Billion is a good amount to shoot for when looking at probiotics. CP-1 has 50 billion per pill which if you are taking 15 billion and not getting the results you are looking for 50 billion may be the way to go. CP-1 http://www.customprobiotics.com/custom-probiotics-adult-formula-cp-1.htm

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496 · April 10, 2012 at 8:45 PM

It is a hassle,as you have to take care of it and not let it sit on the counter for days.I've thrown out a lot of milk because of that.As for harmful bacteria,don't worry,the smell is a pretty good indicator.Use raw milk to be sure.

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3280 · April 10, 2012 at 5:35 PM

sounds like a chia-pet! About the fridge thing: does that put it in a state of suspended animation, so to speak? If that's true, maybe I will give it a try. (I am scared, however, about culturing the wrong (or harmful) bacteria and getting sick.

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870 · April 10, 2012 at 1:23 PM

It's not bad as it only takes a few minutes a day. Plus you can always stick it in the fridge if you don't want to worry about it.

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3280 · April 10, 2012 at 10:50 AM

As a Kefir at home maker, how much of a hassle is it if you don't want to make a committement to care for it every single day?

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1688 · April 09, 2012 at 9:32 PM

And homemade beats store-bought kefir, as far as I can tell

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3043 · April 09, 2012 at 8:02 PM

Also, the bacteria in kefir is more likely to colonize the gut bacteria, vs yogurt, while helpful, doesn't change the gut as much.

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5043 · April 09, 2012 at 7:49 PM

Yay Nance for the win! The bacterial/yeast species are much more abundant in kefir.

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13 Answers

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96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247
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37177 · April 09, 2012 at 7:44 PM

In general, kefir--either dairy or water--has many more species of beneficial flora than yogurt. The marketing of "16 million" doesn't touch on how many species. I've read that good yogurt will have 2-5 species (with large total counts) while kefir may have dozens.

Kefir and kombucha are more powerful--so much so that it's advisable to start with very small daily doses while such caution is frequently not necessary with yogurt.

21b36b3de8ff31b0d41e7f0f4b5c1e03
1688 · April 09, 2012 at 9:32 PM

And homemade beats store-bought kefir, as far as I can tell

4b5be253ac1981c690689cab7e4bf06d
3043 · April 09, 2012 at 8:02 PM

Also, the bacteria in kefir is more likely to colonize the gut bacteria, vs yogurt, while helpful, doesn't change the gut as much.

Bf57bcbdc19d4f1728599053acd020ab
5043 · April 09, 2012 at 7:49 PM

Yay Nance for the win! The bacterial/yeast species are much more abundant in kefir.

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11682 · April 09, 2012 at 10:08 PM

Real kefir (not store-bought, which doesn't contain yeasts) is a super-food, with up to 40 different strains of yeasts & bacteria. Consider that I'm Greek, but I root for Kefir.

I read somewhere that a cup of yogurt contains up to 1 trillion bacteria, and kefir up to 5 trillion, I don't know if these numbers are correct though.

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9812 · April 09, 2012 at 8:06 PM

Greek yogurt has most of the whey strained off, and I believe that's where a lot of the bacteria reside (I'm not 100% on this, but fairly certain). Kefir FTW!

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533 · April 09, 2012 at 7:39 PM

I don't think it truly matters - I think you're reading into the marketing hype. 14 megapixels! 18 megapixels! It's a good idea to diversify your probioitc sources, so the best move would be to enjoy some of each, and also try some kombucha, sauerkraut, kimchi, etc..

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40 · April 09, 2013 at 5:17 PM

I'm Greek too, and make my Home-made Greek yogurt (Yiayia's recipe), kefir (milk and water), sauerkraut, and many cheeses. Recently (5-Mar-2013) I had Warren Analytical Labratories of Greeley, Colorado, USA assay some of my ferments for "Lactic Acid Bacteria MB 075 (Spiral)", here are the results:

1) Milk Kefir -- 2.6 Billion Colony Forming Units per milliliter (CFU/ml); 2) Water Kefir -- 1.2 Billion CFU/ml; 3) Greek Yogurt -- 60 Million CFU/gram (note for water, 1 milliliter = 1 gram); 4) Cabbage Sauerkraut -- 5.3 Million CFU/gram; and, 5) Health-Food-Store-bought Greek yogurt -- 1.1 Million CFU/gram.

I make my ferments for less than $8 per gallon, and believe highly-processed store-bought probiotic ferments and pills are outragelessly expensive. Learn to ferment real delicious food and live healthy like Mediterranean people often do.

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1213 · April 11, 2013 at 2:28 AM

Would you be willing to share Yiayia's recipe here? Unfortunately my own Yiayia has had Alzheimer's for a long time, and my mother rejected the Greek cooking gene! I know yogurt is pretty much made the same way, but it's nice to hear a "real" way from a fellow Greek.

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3280 · April 09, 2013 at 10:34 PM

+1 for having it assayed! Very cool!

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20 · April 15, 2013 at 12:02 AM

Kefir grains grow into a cauliflower like glob. I bought mine on eBay: http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_trksid=p3984.m570.l1311.R11.TR11.TRC1&_nkw=kefir+culture&_sacat=0&_from=R40

These folks have a useful screen container to grow it in: http://www.culturesforhealth.com/milk-kefir-starter-kit.html

You can use milk or water, though I prefer raw goat milk. Let the milk reach room temperature (unless you're getting it straight from the goat), add the grains or clump. It should ferment at room temperature for about 30 hrs to be most beneficial. (See Restoring Your Digestive Health by Jordan S. Rubin, NMD and Joseph Brasco, MD).

After that time (actually I taste test mine), I remove the clump, freeze with a little goat milk in a plastic container for next time and refrigerate the kefir.

Just yesterday I took the store bought stuff (which just tastes like runny yogurt) and put some clumps in it for about 48 hrs. It improved the flavor and now tastes like actual kefir.

It does continue to grow in the refrigerator, but at a much slower rate.

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3280 · April 15, 2013 at 1:00 AM

excellent! thanks!

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496 · April 10, 2012 at 5:21 AM

Depending on how long the product has been sitting on the shelf also reflects the probiotic strength,so if you have fresher yogurt and not so fresh kefir,I'd go with the yogurt.But in general kefir has more strains.I make both at home and from experience know that some organic yogurts are dead,because the don't work as a starter.So,I guess it depends on the brand

Fd1c5e35538fbe2ea5eccb8acd7ae546
496 · April 10, 2012 at 8:45 PM

It is a hassle,as you have to take care of it and not let it sit on the counter for days.I've thrown out a lot of milk because of that.As for harmful bacteria,don't worry,the smell is a pretty good indicator.Use raw milk to be sure.

7fc82eebafd44badc73c520f44660150
3280 · April 10, 2012 at 5:35 PM

sounds like a chia-pet! About the fridge thing: does that put it in a state of suspended animation, so to speak? If that's true, maybe I will give it a try. (I am scared, however, about culturing the wrong (or harmful) bacteria and getting sick.

1ab7ccb9520dddd0777db88e74ca0bed
870 · April 10, 2012 at 1:23 PM

It's not bad as it only takes a few minutes a day. Plus you can always stick it in the fridge if you don't want to worry about it.

7fc82eebafd44badc73c520f44660150
3280 · April 10, 2012 at 10:50 AM

As a Kefir at home maker, how much of a hassle is it if you don't want to make a committement to care for it every single day?

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60 · April 09, 2012 at 7:46 PM

I take a supplement once a day with 50BILLION.. I don't remember the exact types but I could look it up.

1a36544c34d554b5e8cfd2ff1beea5ac
30 · May 03, 2012 at 9:49 PM

50 Billion is a good amount to shoot for when looking at probiotics. CP-1 has 50 billion per pill which if you are taking 15 billion and not getting the results you are looking for 50 billion may be the way to go. CP-1 http://www.customprobiotics.com/custom-probiotics-adult-formula-cp-1.htm

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0 · July 09, 2014 at 10:51 AM

Kefir grown from kefir grains has between 30 and 50 different strains and approximately 5 billion cfu per gram. Kefir from the store is a probiotic drink made from a mix of 4-10 strains of bacteria and yeast and is approximately 2-3 billion cfu per gram, it usually isn't true kefir grown from grains. Greek Yogurt is a single strain and is approximately 1-2 billion cfu per gram. BUT...please don't think this is a competition where you can only have one or the other, you can eat and enjoy them all, and benefit your gut in the process. :-)

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0 · September 04, 2013 at 6:26 PM

I make Kefir at home. I use two one quart mason jars. I keep the kefir grains in a muslin spice bag. I keep both in the reefer when not fermenting. When the strained one is empty, I take both jars out. Pull the muslin bag out of the full one and put it in the empty one. I add milk to the empty. shake both and put the full one back in the reefer. I leave the newly filled one on the counter for about a day depending on temps. When it separates like I like, I move it to the reefer. Time spent, about two minutes every third day. Simple stuff works best.

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0 · April 15, 2013 at 4:37 AM

Yes, kefir will have more types of bacteria and yeast over yogurt type ferments. Plus making fresh kefir seems to be more active and very easy to make.

You can get fresh kefir starter here: store.organic-cultures.com or dried kefir starter at www.cultures for health.com

The dried starter will take a few rounds to become active over the fresh grains

Happy culturing,

Nirinjan

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8057 · October 29, 2012 at 4:08 AM

I recently heard a lecture by Sandor Katz who has written two books on fermentation. ALL of the yogurt cultures commonly available In the US are primarily from two major strains. Kefir has many more.

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0 · October 28, 2012 at 6:20 PM

its all marketing anyway. . however the kefir yogurt tastes better to me than greek yogurt.

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