Kefir Fever

May 5, 2016 ,

When strolling down the dairy aisle have you noticed kefir, a cousin of yogurt? Kefir (pronounced “kuh-FEER”) is a dairy beverage made by adding kefir “grains”, which are pellets of yeast bacteria, to milk and heating it to produce a drink. It is like a “drinkable yogurt” with a similar taste, but with a much higher probiotic content! In fact, it contains 10 to 20 different probiotic strains whereas yogurt has only a few.

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Today, we will learn more about this product and do a general comparison between yogurt and kefir. To begin, it is important to note that probiotics are the “good bacteria” that when consumed in the right amounts may lead to health benefits. However, probiotic research is still in it’s infancy and there appears to be dose and strain specific criteria reap specific benefits. Stay tuned as the research continues to evolve!

Health benefits associated with probiotics include:

  • Improves symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease and colitis.
  • Improves diarrhea associated with antibiotic use
  • Supports healthy immune functioning
  • Improves lactose digestion
  • Potentially plays a role in weight management
  • Positively impacts mental health

Kefir vs. Yogurt

Kefir Yogurt
Fermented Milk product Yes Yes
Consistency Thinner, sold as a beverage Thicker, more like pudding
Protein (per ½ cup) 5 grams 6 grams
Taste Tart & slightly sour, effervescent Tart & slightly sour,
Flavours Available Variety Variety
Probiotics 3X probiotic content of yogurt . Estimated 40 billion probiotic organisms per half cup Probiotic yogurts contain roughly one billion per serving. Content varies depending on type of yogurt

Where Can I Buy Kefir?

It is readily available in grocery stores and in health food stores.

How can I use Kefir?

With a consistency slightly thinner than yogurt, there are many ways to eat/drink kefir:

  • Drink it! Plain.
  • Add it to a smoothie
  • Enjoy with cereal instead of milk
  • Combine with nuts, granola or high fibre cereal to make a parfait
  • Add chia seeds and keep in fridge overnight to thicken to pudding
  • Use as a substitute for yogurt or buttermilk in baking

Bottom Line:

Next time you are in the dairy aisle, take a second look at kefir, a fermented milk product that contains more probiotics than yogurt. Probiotic research continues to evolve to become more specific on amounts we need to consume, types of strains and the health benefits. When buying kefir or yogurt, check the nutrition label for the sugar amounts. Find out how to interpret the sugar on food labels here.

Try some recipes featuring Kefir

Mango Lassi

Mango Lassi kefir

See the recipe >>

Strawberry Smoothie Bowl

Strawberry Smoothie Bowl kefir

See the recipe >>

Green Tea Smoothie

Green Tea Smoothie kefir

See the recipe >>


Andrea D'Ambrosio
Andrea is a Registered Dietitian and owner of Dietetic Directions, a nutritional counselling and education company. Andrea's mission is to inspire clients through motivation and guidance to achieve life-long health behaviour changes. She has taken continuing education in the areas of Food Allergy and Food Hypersensitivity, Health Research Literacy, Motivational Interviewing & Coaching for Behaviour Change.

2 comments to “Kefir Fever”

June 3, 2021 Jennifer Pellatt said:

I was interested to read of the benefits of kefir but would like to know whether it is a low medium, or high FODMAP food. Thank you.

Cinzia Cuneo
June 3, 2021 Cinzia Cuneo said:

Hi Jennifer,
Unfortunately kefir is low-FODMAP only for 23 g. (less than 2 tablespoons)

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