Does all Yogurt have Probiotics in it?

February 4, 2019   18 Comments

Does all yogurt have probiotics in it? The short answer is no. Manufacturers can label a product “yogurt” and have killed all the live cultures in it.

Does all Yogurt have Probiotics in it?

Why would manufacturers kill off the good stuff of Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus? They are looking to extend the shelf life of their yogurt.

To be called “yogurt” the milk must be cultured with Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus BUT manufacturers can then heat treat the yogurt thereby killing off these healthy, living organisms that can help our gut. The heat treatment means that the yogurt will prolong its shelf life (even though it is refrigerated).

I must say that it is a bit crazy that yogurt can say “made with live active cultures” and then not have any still alive in the container. How frustrating is that?

Why would you want live active cultures?

I used to tell my students in biology lab that we are all walking bags of bacteria. There are more bacterial cells in our gut than are own cells! If you don’t want to end up like that guy up there - you have to take care of your gut bacteria.

You can do that by eating fruits, vegetables, beans and not too much processed foods. Plenty of raw foods have bacteria in them that are healthy for our gut.

Yogurt actually has living, gut healthy bacteria in it so it seems like an obvious choice when you are looking to support you microbiome.

Activia seems to have cornered the market on the probiotic health claim though all yogurts are made with Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus (both probiotics).

Activia has a an exclusive probiotic culture that has been shown to help with minor digestive discomfort including bloating, gas, abdominal discomfort, and rumbling. You must eat 2 Activia yogurts per day for two weeks to see the effects of the yogurt.

My problem with Activia? 13 grams of sugar per serving!!! Sure, I would like a special probiotic stew for my gut but not with 23 grams of added sugar per day.

What about my favorite yogurts? Do they have live active cultures? The good news is that the yogurts in my non fat plain Greek yogurt review (Chobani and Fage) and Siggi’s yogurt all have live active cultures in them.

If I ate 2 Fage non-fat Greek yogurts, I would be consuming 10 grams of sugar and plenty of good bacteria for my gut. In addition, I would be eating 36 grams of protein!

My advice is to look for live active cultures AND for the amount of sugar per serving. You can have your probiotics and eat a healthy product!!

Which yogurt do you eat? Does it have living cultures? Thanks for sharing!!

Other posts you might like:

Non Fat Plain Greek Yogurt

Non Fat Plain Greek Yogurt Review

This non fat plain Greek yogurt review is in response to readers who want someone else to go try all the options.....

Siggis Yogurt

Siggi’s Yogurt Goes Without Added Sugar

Siggi’s yogurt has done what I only dreamed could happen....

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I love Siggi's. Have one every night Triple Cream) My BS are perfect in AM. Great taste

There is a way to be sure; make your own yogurt.

It might sound like a pain, but it’s really not. It’s one of the joys of my Instant Pot. It takes time, but it’s all hands-off. I use 2% milk.

Pour the milk into the pot, set to boil, make sure it gets to 180°, cool to 110-115°, add in a little yogurt with active cultures, set to yogurt and wait 8 hours, drain through cheesecloth for 6-9 more hours and place in jars. Very yummy!

When looking at the Yoplait yogurt label, you'll notice that it contains live active cultures such as L. acidophilus. These cultures are a type of bacteria that also live in your gut and sometimes go by the names of friendly bacteria or probiotics.

What about the nondairy yogurt. Are there any of those you can recommend?

I make my own yogurt, using a spoon Dannon or some other big brand as a culture, when mine fizzles out. I used to send for culture. But often we don't eat yogurt anymore. We drink little containers of probiotic called, Bio Salud or Yocult. What I hate to see are recipes with greek yogurt in them. When we bake anything like that, we waste the yogurt IMO.

Hi Lisa! Just a patient ask me this question. Timing is great! Can you clarify though? Will the product say No Active Live Strains if they’ve killed them? With lovely labeling I can see companies saying “made with” but forgetting the “but we killed them all” part. Uber thanks dear scientist!!

Hi, I was going to ask the same question, how do we know the live active culture (probiotics) are not killed off? Also I researched in school back in the days, all yogurts do put the same amount of strains either. So how do we determine there is enough strains in the yogurt? Do we call the company? Some companies will not disclose that info. Also can you make your own yogurt without an instant pot? I’ve always wanted to make my own yogurt, but I didn’t want to get sick or worse have family members sick if I didn’t make it properly. Any tips? Thank you!

Since I got my instant pot I've been making my own. As I'm dairy free, it's much cheaper.

@Kim - the yogurt will say "made with active strains" but will not say "live, active strains". I think this is ridiculous as it will not say NO ACTIVE STRAINS.

The best bet is to go with the most wholesome yogurt - in other words stay away from the strawberry cheesecake whipped stuff and go with plain yogurt. Thanks for your question!!

There are lots of ways to make yogurt without an Instant Pot. You have to culture it and hold it at a certain temperature until it thickens. I'm sorry to say I forget the right temp, but it's likely close to body temp. I got a cheap yogurt maker at Big Lots that works well. But you can find ways to do this in an oven you heat and then turn off, or in an electric frying pan with towel.If you don't find info online, you can find it in old books, by authors like Adele Davis. Making your own yogurt can yield a better tasting product with no bitter taste.

Ok my fav greek nf yogurt is by far FAGE. Here's a good treat. Chop and cook an apple in skillet with some cinnamon. Cool completely. Buy yourself Alyssa's oatmeal raisin cookies. One is 1 pt. So worth it. Mix apple, sweetner of choice, 1 Alyssa's cookie with yogurt and you got yourself a real treat for 1 pt. You're welcome!

I have read that they all use thermophilus for a particular reason. I'd have to go look up why.

I wish I remembered where I read it, because it also said that some people are sensitive to thermophilus.

Thanks for this article. I have been wondering about this question for quite awhile.

Question— what is an Instant Pot?

Is there a brand you can recommend without any probiotics?

Icelandic provisions. 1000 year old live cultures. Also make Siggis. IBD & IBS now under control. Love the extra creamy vanilla bean, not extra sugar in it, so thick the spoon stands up in it👍

You say the short answer is no, but then show that the short answer is yes. It's mental.

Well, I had looked up non living yogurt. And it sent me to your web page. Dont know why, no info on my request. I recently had a kidney transplant and can't have yogurt with living cultures so there lies my question. But thanks for the info I already knew! 😘

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