SCD Yogurt Starter

What Is SCD Yogurt Starter?

24 hour scd style yogurt

All Specific Carbohydrate Diet (or SCD) yogurt contains the two strains: Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus.  Additional strains such as (but not limited to) Lactobacillus acidophilus are also allowed.  However, anything with ‘bifid’ in its name such as Lactobacillus Bifidus, Bifidobacterium longum, ect are Bifidus bacteria and should be avoided.

In addition, ingredients such a soy, gluten, ect that are not allowed on the diet should be avoided.  When these two conditions are met (avoiding additives and having proper strains) this is known as an SCD legal yogurt starter.  The term legal in the SCD diet indicates that the food is approved for consumption.

A list of good yogurt starters can be found on the SCD website here.  The Yogourmet yogurt starter

on this list is a good choice because of its proven track record on Amazon.

So Why Does SCD Avoid Bifidus Bacteria?

In the Specific Carbohydrate Diet homemade yogurt plays a crucial role in restoring proper gut health.  The thinking is that Bifidus bacteria can be sort of an aggressive neighbor and crowd out other beneficial strains.  So when repopulating your intestinal tract with probiotics, say after a long course of antibiotics, it may be best to avoid these strains.  Then, when you’ve reestablished a good population of healthy bacteria, reintroduce Bifidus strains.


The SCD diet does not allow a sugar called lactose which is found in animal milk.  To make the yogurt lactose-free, it is fermented at 100 – 110 degrees F for a full 24 hours.  As a comparison, most store bought yogurt is only cultured for 4 to 5 hours.

So How Is It Lactose-Free?

The longer your yogurt starter sits in with milk, the more lactose these little guys break down.  These prodiotic bacteria split the lactose molecule into its components: glucose and galactose.  So the yogurt bacteria have basically done the digestion of lactose for you, making this yogurt lactose-free.

Other benefits of long-culture yogurt

This long-culture process also helps brake down some of the milk proteins resulting in overall ease of digestion for this yogurt.  Another added benefit is that longer fermentation time allows more time for the bacteria to multiply which means very high probiotic content as the following quote illustrates.

there isn’t a probiotic source available that will give you what 1 or 2 cups of homemade SCD legal yogurt will in terms of a bacteria payload. For each 1 ml of yogurt you eat, you ingest about 3 Billion CFU’s of probiotic goodness. CFUs are colony-forming units or a way to measure how many bacteria are in a substance. According to Elaine, SCD legal yogurt contains at least 700 Billion CFUs per cup. Now, go look at your probiotic pills. I bet at most you’re getting about 50 billion CFUs a day. That’s the equivalent of shooting a machine gun at a fortified bunker. Except this bunker is your digestive tract and it currently has on average of about 100 TRILLION bacteria in it”

SCD Lifestyle


Using this method will result in more of a tart yogurt similar to Bulgarian style.  Yogurt bacteria consume the milk sugar lactose and convert it to lactic acid.  Because your SCD yogurt starter sits in milk for a full 24 hours it produces more lactic acid and thus more tartness.  Some folks have found that using whole milk or straining the yogurt helps to subdue tartness.  Or it can be eaten with honey and pureed fruit which is allowed on the SCD diet.

PS, check out our Bulgarian page for another option for an SCD yogurt starter!

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