Which yogurt has the most probiotics? A guide to probiotics in yogurt
In the world of social media and health influencers, it’s hard to keep up with the new trends and sort out the facts. One of the healthier trends is probiotics, and although the first probiotic was discovered in 1905, they’re really beginning to gain attention and traction now. Probiotics can be incredibly beneficial to you, but like many things related to diet and nutrition, it can be difficult to know where to begin in your probiotic journey. Yogurt is a great entry to learning about this new world! That said, not all yogurts are made equal—or all that healthy. And while lots of yogurts today contain probiotics, which yogurt has the most probiotics and which ones have the right type? In this guide to probiotics in yogurt, we’ll help you discover which offers the most health benefits.
What are probiotics?
Many people have heard the phrase “probiotics,” but don’t have a good idea of exactly what probiotics is. Simply put, a probiotic is a live microorganism that provides health benefits to its host(in this case, we’re talking about you)¹. So, what does this mean? Your body has a diverse community of organisms called your microbiome. This includes bacteria, fungi, and viruses¹.
Most people think of bacteria as a bad germ, like the ones we see on posters telling us to wash our hands. There are both good and bad bacteria constantly living in our gut. Sometimes the bad bacteria overpower the good, which can cause some major health problems. Taking a supplement with active probiotics helps squash this imbalance by putting more good bacteria into your gut and impacting your microbiome’s environment so it’s harder for the bad bacteria to thrive¹. The helpful bacteria, on the other hand, help keep you healthy by regulating your digestion, breaking down your food and transforming nutrients, supporting your immune function and controlling inflammation, as well as helping to fight off bad bacteria².
Benefits of probiotics
You’ll often hear of the incredible health impacts probiotics have. But what exactly are those benefits?
We already mentioned how it aids in balancing your digestive tract. Having a healthy digestive system can lead to benefits such as weight loss and improved immune function. Symptoms of certain digestive disorders such as IBS or mild ulcerative colitis can also be lessened through the intake of certain probiotic strains². Pretty incredible right?
Some studies have even found that eating probiotic yogurt can reduce total cholesterol by 4%, which aids in keeping your heart healthy². Probiotics can also aid in reducing the severity of certain allergies, while also promoting the production of natural antibodies in the body². This is only the beginning of the wide range of benefits probiotics provide us!
Best types of probiotic strains
There are hundreds of different probiotic strains, which all do various jobs in the digestive tract. Remembering which one’s work for specific health issues can be challenging, especially when probiotic companies often don’t even list the strains.
Ok, now that’s confusing, let us explain!
Probiotics are identified in three different levels: genus, species, and strain. There are two genera that are the most beneficial: Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. Lactobacillus is commonly found in the small intestine and its main use is to help control bad bacteria in the gut3. Bifidobacterium is instead found in the large intestine and supports the immune system by limiting growth of bad bacteria³. Within these two genera, they all have different species, which help do certain things.
Types of Lactobacillus:
Lactobacillus casei: Mainly used to aid in relief for diarrhea and other bowel issues⁵
Lactobacillus rhamnosus: Helps to give a boost to your digestive and immune system⁵
Lactobacillus reuteri: Acts as an acid and bile resistant in your small intestine⁵
Types of Bifidobacterium
Bifidobacterium longum: This supports your digestion and immune system, as well as relieving constipation and stress⁴
Bifidobacterium infantis: Helps to minimize gastrointestinal distress and is used to increase good bacteria in an infant’s digestive system⁴
Within these species are even more specific strains, but only species are usually shown on a bottle. Any probiotic yogurt that includes more than one of these species is best!
Why not all probiotic containing yogurt is best
Like most foods, some brands of probiotic yogurt just aren’t the best. There are three main things to keep in mind. The first is looking for whether the probiotics are specified to have “live active cultures.” Active culture refers to if the good bacteria is alive or not. If the yogurt says it has no active culture, put it back!
Second is you want to look at how much sugar is included in one serving; you don’t want a food that has more sugar than a lollipop! For example, Activia probiotic yogurt may have great probiotic strands and be really tasty, but that’s because it has 13 grams of sugar. That’s as much sugar as a slice of angel’s food cake! Look for yogurts with 6 grams of sugar or less and keep an eye on how much protein the yogurt offers!
You also want to select the yogurt with the greatest number of healthy strains. Probiotic yogurt with 1-2 strains is good for you, but why buy a yogurt with way less probiotics than you need? Yogurt containing 3-4 strains will make sure you get the most out of the food.
Recommended yogurt brands and supplements
Here are some of our favorite yogurt brands that check off each of our boxes.! While some of them may have higher amounts of sugar, they make up for it with the high amounts of protein!
It has 4 grams of sugar
Includes these active cultures: Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus casei, Lactobacillus rhamnosus, and Bifidobacterium
FAGE Total 2% Milkfat Plain Greek Yogurt:
It has 6 grams of sugar, but has 20 grams of protein
Includes these active cultures: Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus bulgaricus, Lactobacillus casei, Streptococcus thermophilus, and Bifidobacterium
Wallaby Organic Aussie Greek Whole Milk Peach:
It has 6 grams of sugar, but 11 grams of protein
Includes these active cultures: Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus bulgaricus, Streptococcus thermophilus, and Bifidobacterium
While yogurt is an excellent starter food for probiotics, it also shouldn’t be your only source of probiotics. Yogurt won’t deliver all the nutrients and fiber you need in your diet, plus the consensus of wide scientific research shows us that for a healthy microbiome (and overall whole-body health), it’s best to consume both a wide variety of fiber-rich foods as well as different types of probiotics.
It’s based on this evidence that we strongly urge you to take a daily supplement as well as incorporating other probiotic-rich foods into your diet. Our SCD Essential Probiotics, is a bioavailable liquid supplement that includes 8 strains from the recommended species above.