Whether you use them as a hangover cure or want to protect your digestive health before your first-morning coffee, probiotic yoghurts are one of those well-being hacks that absolutely work.
While both companies have had trouble with being able to make medical claims about their products, it is a fact that probiotic yoghurts have been proven to have a dramatic impact on not only your digestive health and therefore, boost your immune system, improve your mood and keep your bowel movements healthy.
This is all down to the friendly bacteria Lacticaseibacillus casei (refered to as L.Casei by Actimel) and Shirota bacteria which are commonly found in the digestive tract of humans. It is proven that the presence of this kind of bacteria in the gut can reduce, and control, the presence of other bacteria which may be harmful to us.
It has been proven that a healthy gut culture has a dramatic impact on how we feel. Everything from our mood to energy levels and general health is impacted by our gut health. So it is easy to see why so many people enjoy a probiotic.
But, the biggest for all probiotic yoghurt users is which L.casei probiotic is best: Yaklut or Actimel. So, let's go into depth about both to see which we think is best.
Yakult Vs Actimel
History of Yakult: The story of Yakult starts in Japan, 1930. Scientist Minoru Shirota was researching the 'gut flora' and identified a lactic acid bacteria that seemed to reduce the presence of harmful pathogens. He cultivated a strengthened genus of the L.Casei strain and developed the drink we know today. While Yakult was being made in 1935, it was not until 1955 that the company was founded, and its global domination started. Yakult landed on our shores in 1994.
History of Actimel: Actimel first launched in the UK in 1994 and is owned and produced by Danone. Danone are a french multinational company which had been founded in Barcelona. They are behind the likes of Volvic water, Alpro, Activia (two similar products to Actimel) and even Cow & Gate. Actimel is known mostly in the UK for it's comical TV adverts and is on the shelves of pretty much every high-street supermarket.
An interesting thing we came across is the fact that Danone owned 21% shares in Yakult until recently when it reduced its shares to 7%. The fact that they owned part of their rival is very interesting indeed and the two companies have committed to joint ventures around the world. It is clear the companies are connected somehow.
Yakult is quite a simple product in terms of what it contains. It is produced by adding glucose to warm (90°C) skimmed milk. Once the sweet solution has cooled to 45°C, it is then mixed with the bacteria and cultured for up to a week. Once the fermentation is complete, the culture is added to water, sugar, gums and lactic acid before being bottled.
Actamel is based in a live yoghurt which naturally contains Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus, but also their added Lactobacillus Paracasei (which was renamed L. Caesi). The yoghurt undergoes a culture of up to 8 hours and apparently, the product contains up to 10 billion cultures after the process is finished.
While Yakult only has one flavour (vanilla and citrus) for its original and light versions, Actimel has a huge range of different flavours and variations on the original. Too many to mention, honestly.
The main difference between Yakult and Actamel here is the delivery system - one is a simple solution of milk and sugar, the other is a live-cultured yoghurt.
Other than being a great source of cultured bacteria, Yakult, does not seem to be much nutrition at all. Each bottle is 50 calories and provides a tiny, tiny bit of calcium. The main purpose of the product it seems is the bacteria itself which is why you buy the product in the first place.
Actemel original contains Yogurt (Milk), Skimmed Milk, Sugar, Liquid Sugar, Dextrose, Modified Tapioca Starch, Milk Mineral Concentrate, Flavouring, Lactobacillus Casei (L. Casei Danone®) and Vitamins B6 and D. So, there is more than a trace of calcium and Actimel contains many more baseline minerals and vitamins for a healthy varied diet.
The sheer number of variations of Actimel also gives the brand so much more versatility. So, if you'd like to tailor the functionality of your morning probiotic, Actimel is where to go.
Usually, you can buy Yakult in most high-street supermarkets or pick one up a pack of 7 on Amazon UK for £4 - that is 0.88p per 100mls and roughy £16 a month for one person. That is quite expensive!
Actimel is much cheaper and comes in a box of 12 for £4.55 which is 0.38p per 1000mls. That is more than half the price all things considered. And when you consider the fact that Actimel has significantly more functionality, then it seems like Actimel is the better value of the two.
The fact you are reading an article written by me, means that you get to read what I think. It is my indulgent right as the author of this post. Personally, I much prefer Yakult. I enjoy the flavour more, I feel the benefits from it and I like the little tub design.
We cannot, however, get away from the fact that Actimel contains more active ingredients, is much better value for money and offers significantly more options for flavours.
So, there is it. Which will you choose? Yakult or Actimel?