Top Probiotic Yogurts at Sainsbury’s: Best Picks for Gut Health and What to Avoid

probiotic yogurt for gut health
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I went to Sainsbury’s and selected the best yogurts to buy to support your health.

Probiotic foods are important for our overall health due to their rich content of beneficial bacteria. These “good” bacteria help balance the gut microbiome, which is vital for efficient digestion, nutrient absorption, and immune system support. 

Why Incorporate Probiotic Foods into Your Daily Diet?

Daily consumption of probiotic foods ensures a steady influx of beneficial bacteria that can help maintain a healthy balance in your gut microbiota. This balance is essential for digestive health and enhancing the body’s defense mechanisms against harmful pathogens. Regular intake of probiotics can improve skin health, reduce allergy symptoms, and help us to manage stress and anxiety.

The most popular choices we can include into our diet on daily bases are yogurt, kefir, kimchi, sauerkraut, tempeh, miso, kombucha or pickles. 

Let’s review the biggest category today – yogurts. Sainsbury’s is stocking many yogurt options, however, most are loaded with sugar, starches, gums, and preservatives. Refined sugars imbalance the gut microbiota, favoring harmful bacteria and yeasts over beneficial probiotic strains you want in your yogurt in the first place.

5 Probiotic Yogurts: What Ingredients to Look For and Which to Avoid

Here are my top picks to reach out when you go shopping for fermented foods:

  1. Arla’s natural plain yogurt is strained from water and fat which gives it its thick consistency and higher protein content. It has no added sugar, which is great. Please don’t worry about the 4g of sugars on the label (found under total carbohydrate count). Sugar is essential for fermentation. When it comes to probiotic-rich foods like yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, and kimchi, the bacteria often require sugars to initiate the fermentation process. The probiotic bacteria consume the sugar and convert it into other substances, such as lactic acid, alcohol, and carbon dioxide, depending on the type of organism and the fermentation process.

    Well done Arla for adding a note on the packaging about the expiration date. As with most fermented products, skyr is safe to eat after the best-before date. Some live probiotic cultures continue to grow under the lid, which can increase the yogurt’s health benefits. More yummy food, less waste!

    • Ingredients: Skyr Yogurt from Skimmed Milk
    • Result: Give it a go!
    • Please avoid flavored versions like coconut as it has added sugar, maize starch, and natural flavoring – all things your body doesn’t need. 
  2. Woodlands Sheep’s Milk Yogurt (450g) is a great choice if you want to avoid cow’s milk. It’s easier to digest due to the structure of its lactose, fat molecules, and A2 type of beta-casein protein (cow’s milk usually contains A1 type of protein). Sheep milk contains more protein than cow’s milk, which supports muscle repair. It has more vitamins like B12, vitamin D, magnesium, and zinc. Don’t worry about higher fat content. Sheep milk contains MCT (medium chain triglycerides), which support digestion and easier energy conversion. MCT helps you lose weight! (More on that topic in another blog.)
    • Ingredients: 100% Pure Sheep Milk, Live Cultures (Lactobacillus Acidophilus and Bulgaricus, Streptococcus Thermophilus) and nothing else
    • Result: Your best dairy choice
  3. I also love St Helen’s Farm Goats Milk Yogurt (450g). It doesn’t have any probiotic strains added to it, however, it still contains friendly bacteria due to the natural fermentation process. Similarly, as sheep’s milk, goat’s milk contains MCTs. It has the lowest sugar content and a wonderful creamy texture. 
    • Ingredients: Whole Goat’s Milk.
    • Result: Amazing dairy choice
  4. Many people want to reach out to non-dairy alternatives. While some coconut yogurts are great options for you, the Coconut Collab has some disappointing ingredients. Modified corn flour is a processed ingredient that has little to no nutritional benefit. The process of modifying corn starch can involve chemical treatments and the addition of substances like acids or emulsifiers. Additionally, corn flour can have a high glycemic index, meaning it can cause a rapid spike in blood sugar levels. This is particularly important for people with diabetes or those trying to manage their blood sugar levels. Having it as a third ingredient on the list is certainly not a great sign. 
    • Ingredients: Coconut Milk (40%), Coconut Water (40%), Water, Modified Corn Flour, Modified Tapioca Starch, Potato Starch, Guar Gum, Pectin, Natural Flavourings, Rice Flour, Vitamin D2, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, Tricalcium Phosphate (Calcium), Natural Flavouring, Cultures (S. Thermophilus + L. Bulgaricus, Lactobacillus Acidophilus, Bifidobacterium Lactis, Bifidobacterium Spp.)
    • Result: Please avoid, there are better options.
  5. Bio & Me Kefir Live Yoghurt Original (350g) is another good option. While it contains live cultures, it also has added chicory root fiber. Chicory root is a type of prebiotic. Prebiotics are non-digestible food components that promote the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut. This can help improve digestive health by enhancing the balance of the gut microbiome. However, people sensitive to fiber will experience digestive discomforts, such as gas and bloating, or in some cases diarrhea if eaten in large quantities. 
    • Ingredients: Yoghurt (Milk), Fermented with 18 Different Live and Active Cultures, Chicory Root Fibre
    • Result: Fine to eat, but I prefer to choose options without the chicory root 

Takeaways

  1. Reach for yogurts with no added sugar, thickeners, and gums.
  2. The natural sugars in milk are needed to start the fermentation process and don’t spike blood glucose as table sugar.
  3. Goats and sheep yogurts contain beneficial MCTs.

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