ProBiotic Yogurt and Such

From the Who-Knew? File:

Here I’ve been scoffing at these yogurt companies for pitching me on reviewing their products that are supposedly oh-so-good for people with diabetes (sneer). But now I discover that there really is such thing as a “super-yogurt culture” used to treat everything from diabetes to diarrhea — that’s starting to show up in lots of products on ordinary supermarket shelves.

Michelle_probiotic_1
Yes,
these “probiotic
products
” (mostly dairy foods and dietary supplements) contain a
“good bacteria” that doctors have apparently been long recommending
to counter the effects of antibiotics, which kill your good bacteria along with
the bad.

I know that my doctor, for
one, has long been harping on the fact that everyone can benefit from consuming
live yogurt cultures, which supplement the microbes found in your
gastrointestinal system (i.e. give you healthy intestines).

What I didn’t know was that
clinical studies
have actually confirmed that probiotics can also help reduce the incidence of
certain cancers and heart disease, and help prevent
vaginal diseases and preterm labor.

Check this
out
: ” Probiotics was first conceptualized by the Russian Nobel Prize
winner and father of modern immunology, Elie Metchnikoff, at the beginning of the
20th century. He believed that the fermenting bacteria in milk products
consumed by Bulgarian peasants were responsible for their longevity and good
health.”

I love how the article
notes that the History of Medicine has come full circle: We started around 2000 BC with “here, eat this root.” And moved on to
“drink this snake oil,” “swallow this pill,” and finally,
“take this penicillin/tetracycline.” Now we’re essentially back
to “eat this root.” Or natural live microorganisms, in this
case. He, he!

A few years ago, experts were predicting that we’d soon see probiotics “included in everything from cheese to ice cream and even some preserved meats, like salami” (The Scientist, 7/02). I don’t know about that, but I am giving DanActive another look. Usually, I just eat whatever lowfat yogurt tastes good and appeals to me. Silly.

I really should pay more
attention to diet. Don’t you think?

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6 Responses

  1. Eric Jensen
    Eric Jensen May 1, 2006 at 6:50 am | | Reply

    > Usually, I just eat whatever lowfat yogurt
    >tastes good and appeals to me. Silly.

    I’m not sure if you’re being sarcastic or not, but that’s not silly. Most yogurts have these micro-organisms in them – just look for the words “active culture” in the ingredients or on the label. The micro-organisms are what make milk into yogurt in the first place. I note that the DanActive info doesn’t give any indication that their particular strain of this bacterium is any more beneficial than other strains (or has even been tested separately). They are just marketing the benefits of yogurt in general, without (perhaps understandably) being clear about whether there is any substantive difference here.

    So buy any active culture yogurt you like – especially if you can find some from a local farmer. See http://www.foodroutes.org/localfood/ for farmers near you!

  2. Nick
    Nick May 1, 2006 at 7:15 am | | Reply

    I think you’re right that active culture yogurt will aid your digestion. I eat a tablespoon of unsweetened active culture yogurt every day as a digestive aid.

  3. AmyT
    AmyT May 1, 2006 at 8:56 pm | | Reply

    Thanks, guys. And Eric: um, sarcasm…

  4. Andrea H.
    Andrea H. May 2, 2006 at 1:53 pm | | Reply

    Since getting diabetes, I’ve had to learn to appreciate different kinds of food to replace those I no longer eat. FAGE 0% Greek yogurt has become one of my daily “must-haves.” It puts regular no-fat yogurt to shame. The other great thing about yogurt is that supposedly you can subtract 1 carb for every ounce (I think I have that right). The process of turning milk into yogurt consumes some of the carbs, or something like that. I’m sure someone can verify this.

  5. Rose Lynn Scott
    Rose Lynn Scott October 20, 2007 at 8:34 am | | Reply

    And, if you like to eat yogurt daily, make your own! It is so easy. Heat milk to 180 degrees, cool to 104 degrees, than add live culture yogurt at the rate of 1/2 cup per gallon of milk used. Do not stir. Then, cover the milk with plastic wrap and place pan in a warm environment, such as an ice chest filled with warm towels or inside an oven with a pilot light burning. In about 12 hours, your milk will have a custard consistancy. At this point, you may eat it as is, or drain it through a cheesecloth to acquire a thicker, Greek style yogurt. This will keep in the refrigerator for a week.

  6. Rachel Moon
    Rachel Moon July 9, 2009 at 10:17 pm | | Reply

    Is there studies that show eating live culture yogurt, benefits those who already have type 1 diabetes? Everything I have found simply says eating healthy helps but there are no proven theories behind probiotics?

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