Hate the break it to you, but not all yogurts are healthy. Their ‘health halo’, like granola or bread, is slowly crumbling.
Why? Because so many varieties are now low quality and pumped full of sugar/thickeners (it helps to reduce the cost).
For shoppers at large, this has not gone unnoticed. Shoppers are savvier than ever before, so much so that they’re asking more from their yogurts. Namely – is my yogurt gut-friendly?
It sounds like a big question, but the answer is simple: check the ingredients.
After all, yogurt is typically made from two strains of bacteria (L. bulgaricus and S. thermophilus) and sometimes Lactobacillus acidophilus. Other cultures can be added in later.
Lactobactilli is very good for gut health. It creates lactic acid which feeds the millions of bacteria in the stomach lining, balances gut microbiome, and protects the intestines from harmful bacteria.
It is what is known as a ‘good bacteria’, of which is critical for a healthy digestive system. So when you see that in an ingredients list, you know it has some gut-friendly properties.
Related: Best foods to reduce bloating
Of course, there is a lot more to knowing your probiotic goodies from your non-biotic baddies than just lactobactilli.
Read below for the best five gut-friendly yogurts on the market right now.
Fage Total Yogurt
Fage is a stalwart in the yogurt sector. Yes, they’re more expensive than other yogurts, but for the extra cost you get extra goodness.
Just a quick look at the ingredients shows all the different probiotics available in the yogurt. In fact, there is simply skimmed milk, and five active yogurt cultures in every Total pot (L. Bulgaricus, S. Thermophilus, L. Acidophilus, Bifidus, L. Casei, respectively).
The Collective Dairy Straight Up Yogurt
The Collective Dairy has a colourful range of yogurts each with significant strains of bacteria in them. However, many have loads of sugar in them, too, which kind of defeats the purpose if you’re trying to be kind to your gut.
Their Straight Up yogurts are super gut-friendly, though. Again, there are five biocultures in these ones (S. thermophilus, L. acidophilus, Bifidobacterium, L. bulgaricus, L. casei) – and they’re tasty as f**k.
Onken Natural Set Yogurt
A supermarket favorite, Onken Natural Set yogurts are a little thinner than Skyr-type yogurts (my preference), but they’re still packed with gut-friendly bacteria (Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacterium longum and Streptococcus thermophilus).
With them being thinner, though, they’re far less luxurious-tasting. But then again, this makes them a better pouring yogurt.
Yeo Valley Kefir
Yeo Valley used to be ‘No Valley’ for me; I just didn’t think their yogurts were very healthy, quite sugary, and lacking in essential probiotics.
And while this remains true with their Original yogurt, their kefir varieties are the absolute bomb.
If you’re on the hunt for a gut-friendly yogurt and haven’t yet given kefir a go, try it. Not only is it delicious (creamy and tangy at the same time) there are also a whopping 14 live cultures in the Yeo Valley kefir yogurts. A *very* gut-friendly snack to have on hand.
Related: What is kefir?
Activia Probiotic Greek Yogurt
Like Yeo Valley, I’ve long associated Activia yogurts with tonnes of sugar. That’s still true, no doubt about that, although their ‘low fat’ selling point has often caught willful buyers out.
But if you’ve got a sweet tooth, already adore Activia yogurts, or want a saccharine snack that’s not a bar of chocolate, then opt for the Greek yogurt varieties in the Activia range.
Yes, they contain sugar, but the milk is also cultured with four different bacterium. Enough to keep your microbiome balanced.
Now you know which gut-friendly yogurt to go for, why don’t you do some more digging into what gut health really means to you? Just type ‘gut health’ or ‘probiotics’ in the search bar on the right for all you need to know.