People have been consuming live cultures for centuries, mostly through fermented foods such as probiotic yoghurt. Nowadays, we've come to understand that the friendly bacteria that yoghurt contains is good for our health, and this first led scientists to investigate the fascinating world of probiotics.

How we consume live cultures these days is much more varied, and we have many choices available to us in the form of supplements, yoghurts, and yoghurt drinks - but which is the best for our health?

Probiotic Yoghurt & Yoghurt Drinks - All You Need To Know

Natural Bio-Yoghurt
Natural bio-yoghurt has long been used around the world as a health food, and is a natural source of live cultures as well as providing protein, calcium and some B vitamins. Natural bio-yoghurts are a fantastic way to get live cultures into your diet, so we're big fans of these. On the other hand, where supplements may have the edge, is in providing some specifically researched strains of bacteria.

Yoghurts with added live cultures
Yoghurts which add specific strains of friendly bacteria to their products are becoming ever more popular. You can find these on most supermarket shelves these days, and the choice is vast. These yoghurts can be a great way to take a specific probiotic strain, in a yummy yoghurt. It's worth paying attention to other ingredients such as sugar or sweeteners, which may also be added to these foods.

Yoghurt Drinks
Yoghurt drinks are probably the most popular way of consuming probiotics, and the choice available to shoppers is diverse. Many of the market leading brands contain some very well-researched strains of bacteria, but below we take a look at the whole picture and evaluate some points you should consider when choosing between the well-known yoghurt drink brands, and a quality probiotic supplement.


Many of the market leading yoghurt drinks contain high levels of sugar to give them that distinctive sweet flavour. Some of the best-sellers have sugar levels so high that they have proportionally more sugar than soft drinks.

Specific probiotics:
What sets quality probiotic supplements apart from yoghurt drinks, is that they contain specific strains of bacteria which have been researched for particular health conditions. This means that shoppers can often find a probiotic supplement to suit their own particular needs.

Currently, yoghurt drinks are sold as individual plastic bottles, that are designed to be consumed once-a-day and then discarded. Not all of these plastics are recyclable, and there are no plastics that are 100% recyclable, so there is always an element of pollution from consuming these yoghurt drinks. Many supplements however, come in monthly courses, so the use of plastic is much reduced.

Yoghurt drinks often require refrigeration, and this obviously uses a lot of energy to produce, transport, and store. Supplements are often lighter than liquid products too, so the carbon footprint for transporting the products is a lot less due to the reduced weight. All in all, supplements have much less of an impact on the environment than yoghurt drinks.

Value for money:
If you want to take a probiotic for a prolonged period of time, it can work out quite expensive to take yoghurt drinks over the course of a month, or longer. In comparison, it is a lot more cost effective to consume probiotic supplements.

So all in all, you may want to consider taking a well-researched live cultures supplement, over sugary yoghurt drinks.

Read more:

What are probiotics?
Gut Health Checklist