Kefir vs. Yogurt: Differences & Which is Better?

Kefir and Yoghurt are both fermented products of dairy milk, with the exception of kefir which can additionally be made without the use of dairy products. However, both have beneficial degrees of beneficial microbes. You are probably wondering, “aren’t they all the same?” Well the short answer would be yes, but actually no.

Quite absurd don’t you think? You must be wondering why you’re even reading this piece. Stay with us for a little while longer and understand why these equally beneficial probiotic drinks are different to a certain extent.

So, what are the differences?

Kefir and yogurt sure share some similarities in general aspects but for a conscious consumer like you, knowing the difference is paramount. Let us categorically look at the differences, shall we?

  • Mode of Preparation

Kefir is made from “kefir grains” which is essentially a yeast and/or bacteria fermentation starter. In making kefir, one combines bacteria and yeast together then incubates them and milk is added, then left to ferment. The drink is then filtered and consumed with the starter kefir grains being reused.

Yogurt is basically made from milk fermented by bacteria, in what is termed as “yogurt culture”. The yogurt culture is just fermented milk and new milk is added to induce fresh fermentation. Now I know that this seems similar in one way or another but take note that yogurt requires fermented milk to produce the culture while “kefir grains” do not need an initial volume of fermented milk.

  • Bacteria and Secondary Ingredients

One of the major nutritional components of these two drinks are healthy bacteria strains. These are “good” bacteria which keep your intestines healthy and boost your immune system. The bacteria in yogurt is termed as transient, in that, it doesn’t stick around for long. While kefir bacteria take up residence in your gut and multiply there and play a major role in controlling the growth of other intestinal bacteria! Moreover, the bacteria in kefir are wide in range as opposed to only two species in yogurt.

The kefir drink are further made up of good yeast, and some beneficial lipids. Yogurt on the other hand, has bacteria alone, no yeast strains which is very vital for gut health.

  • Nutritional Aspect

Both probiotic drinks boast diversity in nutrition and confer such benefits fully. 

  • Kefir provides vitamins which include; Vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, D, K2, Folic Acid and Nicotinic Acid.
  • Vitamins in yogurt include; Vitamins B6, B12 and Riboflavin.

However, it should be mentioned that they provide different forms of vitamins.

  • Mode of Incubation

The incubation process or these nutritious drinks is necessary to ensure bacterial growth and multiplication into stable cultures. There are two types of incubation; Mesophilic incubation, which is essentially incubation at room temperature, commonly employed in making kefir. Thermophilic incubation, another mode, requires the introduction of heat and is used in making yogurt.

  • Consistency or Texture and Taste

Kefir drinks made from dairy products tend to have a runnier texture and smooth due to yeast content, and the one not made from dairy is much less viscous. Yogurt on the other hand, has a thick consistency or like set curd.

Kefir tastes bit tart (sour) than Yoghurt, since it is more potent with wide range of bacteria strains, please note sourness can be controlled with fermentation timings. Kefir has a punch of yeast flavor since it contains varieties of beneficial yeast, whereas Yoghurt will not have yeast taste.

  • What about the Calories and Fat?

Kefir contains the least calories, 100/cup and a fat composition of 2.0 grams/cup. Yogurt contains a slightly higher calorie and fat composition, 130/cup and 2.5 grams/cup respectively. Therefore, if you’re on a strict low-fat, low-calorie diet then kefir is ideal for you.

Are there Alternatives?

Both yogurt and kefir can be consumed in a variety of ways, but unlike yogurt, kefir can be incubated with water instead of milk. A feature that can be welcomed by individuals with dairy sensitivity of any kind.

Well, there you have it folks, I trust this feature will help you make informed choices about your health and wellness.

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