Karen Collins, MS, RD, CDN
American Institute for Cancer Research
Q: What’s the difference between kefir and yogurt?
A: You can drink kefir as a beverage, but both kefir and yogurt make a great base for smoothies and cold fruit soups, or use them as a topping for cereal or fruit. Both are cultured dairy products that are often tolerated by people who can’t consume milk due to lactose intolerance. Kefir and yogurt provide probiotic cultures that are under study for a variety of potential health benefits. Yogurt’s cultures are all bacteria, whereas kefir (pronounced kee-fur or ke-FEAR) is produced with a variety of bacterial cultures plus yeast, and it may provide larger amounts of these probiotic cultures. Both kefir and yogurt are good sources of protein and calcium. Yogurt tends to be somewhat higher in calories and natural sugar than the same size serving of kefir. However, the biggest difference in calorie content is not between these two products, but between products made from milk differing in fat content and with different amounts of added sugar. Both yogurt and kefir take significant calorie jumps when plain versions become “fruit” versions, which usually involve added sugar, too. Choose whichever has the taste and texture you like, keeping a watch on fat, sugar and calorie content.
The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) is the cancer charity that fosters research on the relationship of nutrition, physical activity and weight management to cancer risk, interprets the scientific literature and educates the public about the results. It has contributed more than $96 million for innovative research conducted at universities, hospitals and research centers across the country. AICR has published two landmark reports that interpret the accumulated research in the field, and is committed to a process of continuous review. AICR also provides a wide range of educational programs to help millions of Americans learn to make dietary changes for lower cancer risk. Its award-winning New American Plate program is presented in brochures, seminars and on its website, www.aicr.org. AICR is a member of the World Cancer Research Fund International..