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Is Probiotic Yogurt Healthy & Safe For Babies & Kids?

As parents, we want the very best for our children, especially when it comes to the foods they’re putting into their bodies. Nutrition is essential for providing growing bodies with everything they need to reach their full potential.

It’s common knowledge that one of the best ways to keep our kids healthy is by limiting sugar and processed foods, and making sure they eat a diet rich in fresh fruit and vegetables, lean protein, dairy and wholegrains. If you’ve got picky eaters, this is easier said than done.

Which is why many parents turn to probiotic enriched yogurt to sneak beneficial bacteria and nutrients into their diet without having to deal with a temper tantrum.

But is probiotic yogurt for kids what you think it is? Let’s dive into the myths and the facts… and get to the bottom of probiotic yogurt for kids. 

Is Probiotic Yogurt Safe For Babies & Kids?

Yogurt is often thought of as a very healthy food. Sure, it contains calcium, which is especially important for strengthening the growing bones of small children.

But there are also lots of other things in yogurt which can be a little less beneficial for kids' health. A lot of yogurts contain a staggering amount of sugar – which completely negates the point of including a probiotic. Most of us would never let our children sit and eat sugary treats all day (when was the last time you bought a box of poptarts?), but the sugar content of some yogurts is very well hidden, misleading parents into thinking that they are sneaking a healthy treat onto their kid’s plate.

A lot of yogurts also have lots of unnecessary ingredients like colourings, preservatives and other chemical nasties that parents may not be fully aware of. Plus, dairy isn’t always the gut’s best friend. This doesn't mean that probiotic yogurt should be avoided totally, but it does mean that a little research is necessary to avoid inadvertently feeding your children a processed chemical, sugar bomb. 

Which Is The Best & Healthiest Type Of Probiotic Yogurt For Kids? 

Probiotics are essential - they affect a growing child’s development, digestive and immune health. Probiotics also lower the risk of colic, eczema and obesity- all common childhood concerns. Probiotic yogurt and yogurt drinks can be an easy way to sneak the beneficial bacteria needed for gut health into your child’s diet.

When making a decision on
which yogurt to choose, you should take the time to find a brand that contains no added sugars or preservatives. This might be difficult, considering most probiotic yogurts for kids are meant to taste good (hence the sugar) and last on the shelf (hence the preservatives). Giving your child a probiotic yogurt that’s full of sugar and chemicals completely negates the point of giving them a probiotic in the first place – these additives will do more harm than good to the gut microbiome.

Is Yakult A Good Alternative Compared To Yogurt for Kids? 

If probiotic yogurt isn’t the ideal choice, what about probiotic drink supplements such as Yakult? When children are on a normal diet of solids – they can have a full serving of the drink. However, if children are younger, you should dilute the drink and give your child a smaller amount. It’s also worth noting that Yakult contains only one probiotic strain, which isn’t sufficient in diversifying the gut microbiome. A single bottle of yakult also contains 10 grams of sugar, which is nearly half of the recommended limit of sugar per day. 

How Does Yogurt Compare To Other Probiotic Foods And Supplements?

The evidence surrounding probiotics for kids is promising. Especially if a child has a health condition, was born prematurely, via c-section,  or is living with a compromised immune system through medical treatment. There is compelling evidence that suggests that probiotics for kids are effective in strengthening immunity and lowering disease risk. However, probiotic yogurt doesn’t meet our standards because of the unfortunate additives like food colorings, preservatives and sugars. 

Instead, we’d recommend turning to a flavorless probiotic supplement that can be easily mixed into a healthy treat your child already enjoys. Mixing a probiotic powder into their glass of milk, cereal or oatmeal is a great way to get them their probiotics without the totally unnecessary additives.