Live Chat 8am - 8pm
FREE Next Day Delivery on orders over £25
FREE lifetime support

What’s the deal with supermarket kefir?

You know, it’s funny – when we started making kefir ten years ago, no one had ever heard the word! These days, you can’t move in a supermarket without tripping over kefir bottles.

So let’s talk about the different types of kefir.

I learned to make kefir from Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, who came from Russia where they make the proper stuff. Dr Natasha wrote the seminal work on the gut-brain connection Gut and Psychology Syndrome: Natural Treatment for Autism, Dyspraxia, A.D.D., Dyslexia, A.D.H.D., Depression, Schizophrenia, (2018) and she used kefir to help her patients with astonishing results.

Here’s what Dr. Natasha taught me:

Real kefir is completely pure. Supermarket probiotics are processed, with added fruits, flavourings and stabilisers. When you mix a lot of stuff in, you have to put in stabilisers to keep that stuff from going off. And when you add things to make it taste good, those things tend not to be good for your gut. PURE IS PURE. Processed is processed. You can’t be a little bit pure – it’s like being a little bit pregnant.

Real kefir is tart. Beware of the easy win – if it tastes super sweet off the shelf, it’s unlikely to work well! I have this conversation with clients a lot. People complain about the tart, tangy flavour of CG Kefir because it’s not sweet. It’s not sweet for a reason – because once you sweeten it, you lessen the therapeutic effect. Kefir is not a recreational milkshake. It is a functional food, designed to do a job. If you can’t drink it straight, blend it up with a banana and just get it down you. Good medicine doesn’t always taste good. The real question to ask is: how potent is it?

Real kefir is made with live kefir grains, not powdered sachets. Real kefir grains are living organisms that ferment milk and produce a unique biomatrix of 27 powerful strains of probiotics, all thriving in their own environment and increasing over time. There should be multiple strains of Lactobacillus, including Lactobacillus kefiri, which gives kefir its identifiable bacterial biosignature. Supermarket kefirs are just milk with a powdered sachet mix stirred in. Powdered sachets are a lot easier to use, because the living kefir grains have to be lovingly tended and looked after, just like animals. Just ask our Head of Dairy Iestyn Crompton – he plays music to our living kefir grains and can even tell you what radio station they prefer!

Real kefir is made with goats milk. That’s because cows milk contains the A1 casein, a subtype of beta-casein which has been shown to cause many of the symptoms associated with dairy intolerance, including abdominal discomfort. Goats milk is considered a functional food by scientists because it contains the A2 casein and so is easily digestible by humans. (Goats milk is even given to babies who cannot tolerate their own mothers breast milk).

Real kefir is fermented in the traditional style. Dr Michael Moseley did research for his BBC2 show Trust Me I’m a Doctor which showed that while the homemade foods and products made by traditional methods contained a wide array of bacteria, some of the commercial products contained barely any, due to the fact that they were pasteurised after preparation. His report finished with this advice: “If you want to try fermented foods to improve your gut health it’s best to look for products that have been made using traditional preparation and processing.” (You can read Dr. Moseley’s findings on real kefir here:

All of which is to say that kefir is a lot like life – you get out what you put in. Sometimes the right way isn’t the easiest way – but the struggle to keep it real, authentic and pure is always worthwhile!


Shann Jones MBE

Founder and Director

Chuckling Goat

Any questions? Contact one of our Nutritional Therapists via live chat, weekdays from 8 am to 8 pm.

Questions? Talk to a Nutritional Therapist on live chat!

More from The Gut Health Express