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AICR’s resources can help you navigate questions about nutrition and lifestyle, and empower you to advocate for your health.

May 20, 2013 | 2 minute read

What’s the difference between kefir and yogurt?

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.

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