Choosing the right foods when trying to lose weight can be confusing. What about kefir, is it good for weight loss or fattening?
Kefir is a type of fermented milk drink that is comparable to very thin yogurt. Most commonly kefir is made with dairy but can be made with options like rice milk, goat milk, coconut milk, and coconut water.
Some kefir brands add sugar and sweeteners to their products. You generally want to avoid these when trying to lose weight.
The exact nutritional values of kefir will also vary from brand to brand but by looking at an example you get a better view of how good kefir is for weight loss.
While there are more helpful foods and drinks, many people will benefit in terms of weight loss by drinking more kefir. This is due to the relatively weight loss friendly nutrition composition of kefir and fermented foods having the ability to increase weight loss.
Micronutrients in kefir
The first thing to look at is the amount of micronutrients in kefir.
Micronutrients are a group of nutrients your body absolutely needs to survive and thrive. Micronutrients include vitamins and minerals. These are involved in basically every aspect of your health, including weight loss.
100 grams of this example of kefir provides you with approximately (1):
- Calcium: 12% of the DV (Daily Value)
- Riboflavin: 10% of the DV
- Phosphorus: 10% of the DV
- Folate: 5% of the DV
- Vitamin B12: 5% of the DV
- Potassium: 5% of the DV
- Selenium: 5% of the DV
And a few other vitamins and minerals in less significant amounts. That’s a decent amount of vitamins and minerals per 100 grams compared to a lot of other foods.
The thing is that 100 grams of a fluid is more easily consumed than 100 grams of solid food. One glass of kefir would already be around 200 grams.
If you have trouble reaching your daily vitamin and mineral goals kefir can help you a nice amount with many vitamins and minerals.
Fermented foods and weight loss
For now, the claims about the potential of probiotics for weight loss are not waterproof (7, 8). More studies are required to make statements with more confidence. In any case probiotics will likely not be bad for weight loss and good for health so you might as well include them.
Keep in mind that heating up kefir too much destroys a lot of the bacteria. This is something you preferably want to avoid.
Protein in kefir for weight loss
Another thing in food that can help you on your weight loss journey is the amount of protein in it.
Kefir contains about 3.6 grams of protein per 100 grams. To compare, there are about 25.4 grams per 100 grams in salmon (9).
Compared to whole foods this is not a very big amount. For a liquid kefir contains a decent amount of protein.
Protein is considered to be the most filling of the 3 macronutrients. Hunger and cravings can be a big pitfall for people trying to lose weight, so avoiding this is a big plus.
Eating enough protein will also help you prevent muscle loss. Muscle helps you burn extra calories throughout the day which is very good for weight loss. Protein calories also take your body more calories to process than calories from carbs and fats.
The amount of protein in kefir is more like a nice bonus. You will also need protein from other foods. In any case, some kefir can get you started towards your daily goals.
Do keep in mind that overdoing it with protein isn’t good either.
Is kefir good for losing weight?
To know whether or not you can drink kefir while trying to lose weight you still need a final piece of the puzzle. The number of calories in kefir.
This example of kefir contains around 52 calories per 100 grams. 30 of these calories come from the carbohydrates (7.5 g per 100 grams).
You may be able to fit some in but kefir is generally not suited for low carb diets like the keto diet. It is very easy to go over your daily carbohydrate limit with this drink.
Besides that, this example of kefir is on the low side in calories per 100 grams compared to many whole foods. The problem is that kefir is a liquid.
Solid food will leave you feeling full a lot longer. Partly because liquid is easier to process, partly because solid whole foods often contain more fiber. Try eating 100 grams of potatoes vs drinking half a glass of kefir or any other liquid.
This makes kefir not very filling compared to the number of calories it contains. The extra vitamins, minerals, probiotics, and protein are nice but they are likely not enough to make drinking all those calories a good thing for your weight loss.
The particular example of kefir used may still be a good weight loss option depending on what other foods you compare it with. For example kefir would be a more weight loss friendly choice than soda.
Like with most foods, you can have some kefir and still lose weight. There are however more helpful additions to your diet if you are trying to lose weight.
How to consume kefir for weight loss
You can implement kefir in different ways into your diet. Some are better than others for weight loss. First of all you can just drink kefir on its own, similar to how you would drink milk. You can also add some berries or other fruits to your kefir.
You can also use kefir as an ingredient in other healthy dishes. Some examples include smoothies, oatmeal, and a healthy salad dressing.
Kefir can also be used for making soup. If this is something you want to do remember that heating kefir up can destroy bacteria that are helpful for weight loss and health.
Kefir vs other foods and drinks for weight loss
You now know how good kefir is for weight loss but how does it compare to certain other foods and drinks? Find out how good kefir is for weight loss vs kombucha, buttermilk, greek yogurt, and milk.
Some of these foods and drinks contain probiotics but different ones and different quantities. It’s currently not possible to quantify these differences in function of weight loss. For this reason the comparisons will only focus on other factors for weight loss.
Another important thing is that the nutritional values of these foods will vary between preparation methods and brands. By looking at examples you get a better view of how these foods and drinks compare but know that in reality, a case by case comparison will be more relevant.
Kefir vs kombucha
Kombucha is a type of fermented tea, often made from green tea and black tea. If you look at the calorie amounts you can see that kombucha contains fewer calories. Kefir contains around 52 calories per 100 grams vs the 19 calories per 100 grams in kombucha (10).
Kombucha does not contain significant amounts of nutrients like protein, vitamins, and minerals. Kefir on the other hand does. Kombucha does offer some of the same weight loss benefits of drinking green tea.
Unless you are seriously deficient in some of the nutrients kefir can offer, kombucha is likely better for weight loss.
Kefir vs buttermilk
Next, the comparison between kefir and buttermilk, another type of fermented dairy drink. Buttermilk is lower in calories, about 40 calories per 100 grams (11).
These two foods contain very similar amounts of protein. Kefir contains about 3.6 grams of protein per 100 grams vs buttermilk with about 3.3 grams of protein per 100 grams Kefir and buttermilk contain similar amounts of vitamins and minerals.
The difference will be very small but looking at these nutrients it looks like buttermilk is slightly better for weight loss than kefir.
Kefir vs Greek yogurt
Kefir contains about 3.6 grams of protein per 100 grams vs Greek yogurt with about 10.2 grams per 100 grams. Greek yogurt also contains slightly bigger amounts of vitamins and minerals.
Due to the extra protein and only small difference in calories, Greek yogurt is likely slightly better for weight loss than kefir.
Kefir vs milk
On top of that, kefir is slightly higher in protein, 3.6 grams of protein per 100 grams vs whole milk with 3.2 grams of protein per 100 grams. These two drinks are similar when it comes to the amounts of vitamins and minerals.
All in all, kefir is likely better for weight loss than whole milk.
Chart of kefir vs other foods and drinks
The differences between these foods and drinks can make a difference when it comes to losing weight. Again, keep in mind that these nutritional values can vary a lot from brand to brand.
The amount of vitamins and minerals in the foods does matter for weight loss and health but you can’t simplify that in one number. You can check out the numbers for kefir (1), kombucha (10), buttermilk (11), Greek yogurt (12), and milk (13) to compare.
|Values Per 100g||Kefir||Kombucha||Buttermilk||Greek yogurt||Whole Milk|
|Calories||52 calories||19 calories||40 calories||59 calories||60 calories|
|Protein||3.6 g||0 g||3.3 g||10.2 g||3.2 g|