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    Archive for the ‘yogurt’ Category

    Do It Yourself: Almond-Based Yogurt!

    While there are a plethora of almond-based products on the market (butters, ice creams, milks, whipped creams, etc), almond yogurt has yet to make it onto supermarket shelves in most places.  Until you see it in a store near you, here is how you can make your own almond yogurt at home!

    The recipe below is for an almond-pecan yogurt.  It is actually very easy to prepare, but requires time and patience for two important processes — the soaking of the nuts and the fermenting of the yogurt.  Although the “bad news” is that you can’t enjoy your yogurt right away, the “good news” is that the hands-on time you need to devote to this recipe is fifteen minutes, tops.

    Continue Reading »

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    You Ask, I Answer: “Greek-Style” Yogurt

    JF08_IO5aI’m a little afraid to ask you this, but here it goes.

    I have noticed that some Greek yogurts actually say “Greek style” on their packaging (with the word “style” in tiny letters).  I’ve been reading your blog for a while, so I have a feeling this is significant.

    Are these different from (or less healthy than) a “real” Greek yogurt like Fage?

    — Melissa Heaney
    Albany, NY

    Ah, the drawbacks of being a sharp-eyed nutrition sleuth at the grocery store.

    I recall several years ago, when I first started reading ingredient lists for common brands I used to buy, walking around supermarket aisles in a heavy-hearted daze.  It was almost as if I had just been told that my significant other had been cheating on me on a daily basis.  Except that, rather than stumbling across a hurriedly-scribbled name and number on a piece of paper, I was alerted to the presence of artificial dyes, partially hydrogenated oils, and high fructose corn syrup.  Heartbreak on aisle five!

    Onto your question — there is a difference between Greek-style yogurts and actual Greek yogurts.  If you’re curious about what makes Greek yogurt special, please read this post.

    Here is the ingredient list for Fage non-fat Greek yogurt:

    Grade A Pasteurized Skimmed Milk, Live Active Yogurt Cultures (L. Bulgaricus, S. Thermophilus)

    Now, let’s take a peek at the ingredient list for a Greek-style yogurt.  For this example, I am using The Greek Gods brand:

    Pasteurized Grade A Nonfat Milk, Inulin, Pectin, Active Cultures (S. Thermophilius, L. Bulgaricus, L. Acidophilus, Bifidobacterium, L. Casei)

    Whereas “true” Greek yogurt’s thick consistency is the result of straining out the watery whey, Greek-style yogurts add thickeners (ie: gum blends like pectin and inulin, milk solids, stabilizers).

    Each yogurt’s respective Nutrition Facts label also tells the tale.  Here is what 6 ounces of real Greek yogurt offer:

    • 90 calories
    • 0 grams fiber
    • 15 grams protein
    • 19% of the Adequate Intake of calcium

    That same amount of Greek-style yogurt contains:

    • 60 calories
    • 2 grams fiber
    • 6 grams protein
    • 25% of the Adequate Intake of calcium

    Let’s make sense of that.

    • The decrease in calories is due to the reduction in protein.  Remember, Greek yogurt’s higher protein levels are due to the absence of watery whey.  Greek-style yogurt retains the whey and adds on thickeners.
    • As you know, all dairy products are fiberless.  The 2 grams of fiber in Greek-style yogurt are due to the presence of thickening gums.  Depending on what other brands of Greek-style yogurt use, the fiber value may be zero.
    • The higher percentage of calcium is also attributed to the presence of whey.

    There is nothing troubling, disturbing, or unhealthy about pectin and inulin.  We aren’t talking about blue dyes or trans fats here.  Two FYIs, though:

    1. For optimal health benefits, fiber should come from foods that naturally contain it, rather than add-ons.
    2. If you’re looking for the higher protein benefits of Greek yogurt (mainly the ability to feel satiated for a little longer), reach for the authentic product.
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    Celebrity Diet Secrets: But You DO Eat Carbs, Drew Carey!

    drew-carey-240Comedian and Price is Right host Drew Carey has shed 80 pounds over the past six months, and the folks at People are on the case.

    In an article titled “How I Lost 80 Lbs.”, Mr. Carey shares his tip for success:

    “No carbs,” Carey says. “I have cheated a couple times, but basically no carbs, not even a cracker. No bread at all. No pizza, nothing. No corn, no beans, no starches of any kind. Egg whites in the morning or like, Greek yogurt, cut some fruit.”

    Alas, Mr. Carey has fallen prey to the same type of erroneous thinking that many other dieters do — the idea that “carbs” and “starch” are the same thing.  They are not.

    Remember, carbohydrates are in every food (except for oils, solid fats, and animal protein).  Yes, everything else — from almonds to yogurt to fruit to sweet potatoes to broccoli — contains carbohydrates.

    The notion that Drew Carey lost weight while “shunning carbohydrates” is wrong since he then states that he would sometimes start his mornings with yogurt and fruit.

    Besides, it is absolutely possible to lose weight while eating carbohydrate-rich foods like oatmeal, quinoa, lentils, and chickpeas.

    I also have no doubt that a quick comparison of Mr. Carey’s caloric consumption before and during this diet would also show a decrease in total calories.  Of course, the key to successful weight loss is to cut calories without sacrificing satiety and nutrient intake.

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    Health Hype on Aisle 5!

    gogurtAh, that ubiquitous marketing tactic known as the “health halo” appears to be multiplying.

    You know the drill.  Take minimally nutritious food, sprinkle one fiftieth of a pinch of “something healthy”, and market the living *bleep* out of said ingredient on the product’s packaging.

    Consider these recently-spotted offenders:

    • Cinnamon Chex.  “With a touch of real cinnamon,” no less.  Cinnamon offers fiber, manganese, and heart-healthy phytonutrients and antioxidants.  Alas, this cereal contains more sugar, oil, and salt than it does the sweet spice.
    • Betty Crocker Quick Banana Bread Mix.  “With real bananas,” the box touts.  The bananas are in there, alright.  As dried flakes.  Right after white flour, sugar, and partially hydrogenated oils.  PS: Each of the finished product’s twelve servings offers up an entire gram of trans fat.
    • Yoplait Go-Gurt Strawberry Splash & Berry Blue Blast portable yogurt flavor-combination packs. There isn’t a single strawberry or blueberry in either yogurt, not even in dehydrated or powdered form.  Instead, we get artificial dyes (the same ones banned by the European Union) and flavors.
    • Oscar Mayer Lunchables Sub Sandwich, Turkey and Cheddar.  This is described as “more wholesome” than previous varieties.  Does this ingredient list scream “wholesome” to you?

    Thank you to Small Bites intern Laura Smith for valuable assistance with this post.

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    You Ask, I Answer: Probiotics, Sugar in Plain Yogurt

    Case-of-Fage-781488When it comes to grams of Sugar in plain yogurt, isn’t most of the lactose fermented at time of consumption, resulting in a significant reduction in actual sugar?

    Can we utilize lactic acid for energy, or are the grams of sugar on the label taken from the milk without consideration for fermentation?

    Related to that, is it feasible to create a probiotic yogurt that is sugar free?

    When probotics are added after fermentation do they need additional sugar to be added to keep the probiotics alive?

    Of all the varieties of yogurt available, there doesn’t seem to be any probiotic yogurt sweetened with artificial sweeteners.

    Just wondering if that was a coincidence?

    — Nicole Journault
    (Location unknown)

    Yogurt labeling is actually slightly inaccurate.

    Since, as you point out, bacteria convert some of the naturally-occurring lactose (a type of sugar) to lactic acid (part of what gives yogurt its sour taste), the carbohydrate content is slightly lower than what the label says.

    Depending on how long the fermentation process lasted, the sugar content can be anywhere from 3 to 7 grams lower than what is listed on the label!

    As for a probiotic yogurt that is sugar-free — it can definitely be done.

    After all, you can buy probiotic supplements in lactose-free pill or powder form  (FYI: the key for their survivial is constant refrigeration!).

    Even low-carbohydrate yogurts, which tack on artificial sweeteners, contain some lactose, so I can’t identify a barrier.

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    Fruit! And Yogurt! Well, More Like Sugar and Partially Hydrogenated Oils…

    231363Regular readers of this blog know how much I love to call out healthy-sounding food products that are anything but.

    On the hot seat today?  Kellogg’s Yogos Bits.

    The front of the packaging describes them as “yogurty covered fruit flavored bits.”

    Did you catch those two red flag terms?

    First there’s “yogurty covered”.  Not quite the same as “yogurt covered” (we’ll get to that in a minute).

    Then there’s my personal favorite: “fruit flavored“.  That’s basically marketing speak for “sugar that tastes like [insert name of fruit here]”.

    Let’s have a look at the not-surprisingly-lengthy ingredient list:

    Sugar, coating (sugar, partially hydrogenated palm kernel and palm oil, calcium carbonate, nonfat yogurt powder [cultured whey protein concentrate, cultured skim milk, yogurt cultures [heat-treated after culturing], nonfat milk, reduced mineral whey, color added, soy lecithin, natural and artificial flavor, salt), corn syrup, modified corn starch, apple puree concentrate, contains two percent or less of: water, pectin, citric acid, cornstarch, malic acid, ascorbic acid (vitamin C), natural and artificial cherry flavor, sodium citrate, color added: carnauba wax, carmine color, Yellow #5 Lake, Red #40, Red #40, Blue #1 Lake

    Wow.  Time for some analysis:

    1. The first ingredient (meaning, the most prominent one) in this product is sugar.

    2. The “yogurty coating” contains more sugar and partially hydrogenated oils (trans fats) than actual yogurt!

    3. Even worse, the yogurt cultures have been heat-treated after culturing, rendering their probiotic qualities ineffective.  Remember, you always want to look for live and active cultures!

    4. Carmine color is made by crushing the shells of cochineal beetles.  While there is nothing inherently unhealthy about this, I always like to inform vegetarians and vegans about that factoid.

    5. There isn’t a shred of fruit in this product.  Simply fruit sugars and fruit flavors.

    6. Each pouch of these “bits” weighs 20 grams.  Thirteen of those grams (that’s 65% of the product) come from sugar.

    This product can legally advertise itself as a good source of calcium because it delivers ten percent of the mineral’s daily adequate intake value.  Note, though, that some of it is fortified (sprinkled on during processing) in the yogurt coating!

    For what it’s worth, that same amount of calcium can be intrinsically found in these healthier and less processed foods:

    • A third of a cup of milk (dairy or fortified non-dairy varieties)
    • Half an ounce of Swiss cheese
    • Three quarters of a mozzarella stick
    • A quarter cup of tofu
    • A third of a cup of coked collard greens
    • A third of a cup of almonds

    I would be a lot less displeased if these were described more realistically.  Perhaps something along the lines of “sugar & yogurt covered sugar puffs”?

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    You Ask, I Answer: Live, Active Cultures in Yogurt

    YogurtWhen I’m buying yogurt, should I only look for brands that contain Acidophilus?

    Or am I better off buying brands that have probiotics or live cultures?

    — Marisa (last name withheld)
    Brooklyn, NY

    As if the wide array of brands and flavors wasn’t enough to confuse the yogurt shopper, now there’s all these health claims to sort through!

    First of all, the absolute best yogurt you can buy is plain, unsweetened yogurt.  Most flavoreds yogurt have six or seven teaspoons of added sugar (that “fruit on the bottom” is pure sugar, not real fruit with fiber and phytonutrients.)

    If plain yogurt is too sour for your tastes, you can always sweeten it at home (with fruit, vanilla or coconut extracts, or even just one or two teaspoons of your sweetener of choice.)

    As for probiotics and cultures, let’s clarify that tangled web:

    • Probiotics is the name given to microorganisms that closely resemble the “friendly”/healthy bacteria that live in our colon (prebiotics, meanwhile, are components in certain foods that feed these “critters”) and have beneficial health effects.
    • In other words — and this is important — while all probiotics are bacteria, not all bacteria are probiotics
    • Lactobacillus acidophilus is a “hot” probiotic mainly because it has been the focus of the most studies; its efficacy is well documented
    • Many probiotics have not undergone sufficient testing.  One concern is that some are rendered useless when they come in contact with stomach acids
    • Additionally, most probiotics need refrigeration to survive.  Probiotics in shelf-stable foods have a minimal chance of surviving by the time they make it to your pantry

    When it comes to buying yogurts, there are four things to keep in mind to ensure you are getting as much probiotic bang for your buck as possible:

    1. Buy yogurts that contain “live and active cultures.”  This usually means the cultures are added AFTER the milk has been pasteurized.  If they are added before pasteurization, they are killed by the heat.  Yogurts that only claim to “be made with live cultures” may fall into the latter category
    2. Look for the National Yogurt Association (NYA)’s Live & Active Cultures seal.  FYI: The NYA is “a national non-profit trade organization whose… Live & Active Culture seal, which appears on refrigerated and frozen yogurt containers, helps you recognize those products containing significant amounts of live and active cultures.”  The seal is voluntary, so its absence does not necessarily imply a lack of live and active cultures
    3. Although there are many strains of probiotics, acidophilus is considered the “golden” one because it has been well researched.  We know, for instance, that unlike other probiotics, acidophilus is not destroyed by stomach acids
    4. Lactobacillus Bifidobacteria has also been well-researched, and is also believed to survive the digestive process

    Aren’t you glad you asked?

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    You Ask, I Answer: Red Mango

    When you blogged about Red Mango frozen yogurt, you endorsed it as a healthy treat.

    I also saw that in your recent ConAgra children’s frozen meal post, you commented negatively on the 18 grams of sugar it contained.

    A small, original (plain) Red Mango yogurt also has 18 grams of sugar.

    So now I’m slightly confused — is Red Mango good or bad? How can 18 grams be good in one thing, bad in another?

    — Lexi (last name withheld)
    New York, NY


    One of my biggest grips about food labels is that they do not differentiate between naturally-occurring sugars and added sugars.

    Naturally-occurring sugars are found in fruits and vegetables (in the form of fructose) as well as dairy (as lactose).

    Added sugars (mostly in the form of sucrose) are added on to foods during processing.

    Although naturally-occurring and added sugars offer the same number of calories (4 per gram), naturally-occurring sugars are different in the sense they “come with the package.”

    When you bite into an apple, you are getting sugars along with vitamins, minerals, and a wide variety of health-promoting phytonutrients (some of which we have yet to discover!).

    If you eat the same amount of sugar naturally found in an apple in the form of table sugar, you are getting empty calories (they are void of vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients.)

    In the case of Red Mango, the 18 grams of sugar refer to naturally-occurring AND added sugars. Approximately 10 to 12 of those grams are naturally-occurring, so you’re only getting 6 to 8 grams (1.5 to 2 teaspoons) of added sugar.

    By the way, I have a slight problem with Red Mango referring to their original flavor as “plain”, since plain flavors of regular (non-frozen) yogurt do not have any added sugar.

    In any case, this is very different from that frozen meal I posted about, which got its 18 grams of sugar from the chewy candies it offered as dessert.

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    You Ask, I Answer: Sugar in Yogurt

    My 3 year old daughter doesn’t like milk, so yogurt is one of her sources of calcium.

    When I buy yogurt for her, though, I don’t know how to determine which brands have too much sugar.

    One brand has 24 grams of sugar for 6 ounces. Is that too much?

    — Terri Korolev
    San Francisco, CA

    Dairy products’ food labels take some extra skill to analyze since manufacturers are not asked to differentiate between naturally-occurring sugars and added sugars.

    In this case, “naturally-occurring” sugars refers to lactose, the inherent sugar found in all dairy products.

    Unlike added sugars’ empty calories, naturally-occurring varieties co-exist with nutrients (the same can be said for fructose, which is present in fresh fruits.)

    When shopping for yogurts, keep in mind that 6 ounces of yogurt contain 12 grams of naturally-occurring sugars.

    This means that the yogurt you refer to contains an additional 12 grams (1 tablespoon) of added sugar.

    I am of the school of thought that children and adults should get no more than 10 percent of their total daily calories from added sugars.

    In the case of a 3-year old, that means no more than approximately 10 grams of added sugar a day.

    As a healthier alternative, see how she likes eating plain yogurt along with sweet fruits like bananas and pineapples.

    You can even make it fun for her by storing fresh banana slices in a Ziploc bag, freezing them, and mixing them in with her yogurt.

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    You Ask, I Aswer: Kefir

    [For whatever reason,] it seems that the only dairy I can somehow tolerate is kefir.

    Is it simply liquefied yogurt?

    — Dennise O’Grady
    Bay Head, NJ

    There’s a rather simple explanation as to why kefir is the only dairy you can somehow tolerate — it contains a significant number of probiotic bacteria that help break down lactose!

    Probiotic bacteria is the same reason why people who can not tolerate milk can often enjoy yogurt with active cultures.

    That said, kefir and yogurt are two different foods.

    Unlike yogurt, kefir contains kefir grains (which house all that healthy bacteria), which are then left to ferment in milk.

    Although plain kefir is a healthy addition to a diet thanks to its share of calcium and potassium, beware of “kefir-based” ready-to-drink smoothies which contain teaspoon upon teaspoon of added sugars (AKA extra calories).

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    You Ask, I Answer: BRAT Diet

    How legitimate is the BRAT (banana, rice, applesauce, toast) diet for relieving diarrhea?

    — Celia (last name withheld)
    New York, NY

    The reasoning behind the BRAT “diet” is legitimate.

    The idea is that, when consumed for approximately four consecutive days, these foods help thicken stools, thereby assuring a speedy recovery.

    Apples, for example, are part of the diet because they are high in pectin, a soluble fiber that helps solidify the stool.

    That said, carrots, peas, and peaches contain higher levels of pectin.

    Although thousands of pediatricians still recommend it to parents whose children are going through gastrointestinal distress, I don’t find adherence to BRAT to be of such critical importance.

    When someone is sick, nutrition plays a very important role in terms of consuming all the nutrients we need.

    The BRAT diet, however, falls short for me because it is very low in protein, zinc, calcium, and other vitamins and minerals.

    Besides, other foods can be just as effective at treating diarrhea — particularly oat-based products.

    Remember, oat bran contains soluble fiber (the type that, apart from helping lower cholesterol levels, thickens stools).  Other great sources of soluble fiber include nuts, legumes, beans, fruits, and vegetables.

    Insoluble fiber — found in high amounts in whole wheat products — keeps things moving through our digestive system.  Definitely a plus, but not when you’re dealing with these symptoms.

    Plain yogurt — particularly if it contains live and active cultures — is another great food for battling these symptoms, since the live and active cultures help boost healthy bacteria in our gut.

    I don’t think anyone should be restricted to the four foods suggested by the BRAT diet when looking to get their digestive system back on track.

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    Twisted Logic

    For many people, “yogurt” equals “health food.”

    Although there are cases where this is far from true (i.e.: flavored yogurts that, despite already being sweetened with two tablespoons of added sugar, provide crushed Oreos or tiny M&M’s to be added as toppings), plain yogurt is a wonderful source of calcium, protein, and — in most cases — probiotic bacteria.

    It is no surprise that food companies are always eager to add a pinch of a healthy (or at least healthy sounding) ingredient to their own proucts in hopes of attracting the eyes — and wallets — of health-conscious consumers.

    Case in point: yogurt pretzels.

    Let’s begin by keeping in mind that an ounce of regular pretzels adds up to:

    110 calories
    0 grams of saturated fat

    0.5 grams of sugar

    Now, consider the nutrition values — and ingredients — offered by the yogurt-covered variety.

    A 1-ounce serving of Flipz (a prototypical brand of yogurt pretzels) contains:

    130 calories
    4.5 grams of saturated fat

    13 grams of sugar

    Although the caloric difference is minimal, we are talking about 20% of a day’s worth of saturated fat and a tablespoon of added sugar.

    And if you think the yogurt provides calcium, think again.

    A serving of Flipz only offers two percent of the calcium daily value — only as much as one and a half tablespoons of actual yogurt.

    It all makes sense when you look at the ingredient list and see that the first ingredient in these pretzels is “yogurt coating,” which is mainly made up of sugar and palm kernel oil — a saturated fat.

    Alas, yogurt pretzels undoubtedly fall into the “sweet treat” category.

    Consider this: eight Nabisco Nilla Wafers (that’s considered one serving) contain only 10 more calories than a serving of yogurt pretzels, as well as a third of the saturated fat and a few less grams of sugar.

    Some more food for thought?

    Four Nilla Wafers accompanied by a cup of skim milk provide just 40 more calories than a serving of yogurt pretzels, but also half the added sugar, one tenth of the saturated fat, and a third of the calcium daily value.

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    Twisted Logic

    For many people, “yogurt” equals “health food.”

    Although there are cases where this is far from true (i.e.: flavored yogurts that, despite already being sweetened with two tablespoons of added sugar, provide crushed Oreos or tiny M&M’s to be added as toppings), plain yogurt is a wonderful source of calcium, protein, and — in most cases — probiotic bacteria.

    It is no surprise that food companies are always eager to add a pinch of a healthy (or at least healthy sounding) ingredient to their own proucts in hopes of attracting the eyes — and wallets — of health-conscious consumers.

    Case in point: yogurt pretzels.

    Let’s begin by keeping in mind that an ounce of regular pretzels adds up to:

    110 calories
    0 grams of saturated fat

    0.5 grams of sugar

    Now, consider the nutrition values — and ingredients — offered by the yogurt-covered variety.

    A 1-ounce serving of Flipz (a prototypical brand of yogurt pretzels) contains:

    130 calories
    4.5 grams of saturated fat

    13 grams of sugar

    Although the caloric difference is minimal, we are talking about 20% of a day’s worth of saturated fat and a tablespoon of added sugar.

    And if you think the yogurt provides calcium, think again.

    A serving of Flipz only offers two percent of the calcium daily value — only as much as one and a half tablespoons of actual yogurt.

    It all makes sense when you look at the ingredient list and see that the first ingredient in these pretzels is “yogurt coating,” which is mainly made up of sugar and palm kernel oil — a saturated fat.

    Alas, yogurt pretzels undoubtedly fall into the “sweet treat” category.

    Consider this: eight Nabisco Nilla Wafers (that’s considered one serving) contain only 10 more calories than a serving of yogurt pretzels, as well as a third of the saturated fat and a few less grams of sugar.

    Some more food for thought?

    Four Nilla Wafers accompanied by a cup of skim milk provide just 40 more calories than a serving of yogurt pretzels, but also half the added sugar, one tenth of the saturated fat, and a third of the calcium daily value.

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    You Ask, I Answer: Probiotic Cereal

    I loved your video about deceptive food advertising!

    So what do you think of Kashi’s “Vive” cereal?

    There is a banner on the box claiming it’s probiotic and helps with “digestive wellness.”

    Is that true? If it is, how does it make it better than other cereals?

    — Joanne Castro
    Santa Fe, NM

    Let’s first begin by talking about probiotics.

    That’s the name given to beneficial bacteria living in our colons that help keep harmful bacteria from multiplying and starting problems (FYI: prebiotics are compounds in food that help feed probiotics.)

    We harbor anywhere from 370 – 450 different stands of probiotic bacteria in our colon.

    Although we produce and house them, it is believed poor nutrition can significantly reduce their numbers.

    Antibiotics, meanwhile, kill all bacteria — including probiotics.

    The most famous probiotic, of course, is Lactobacillus acidophilus, the probiotic contained in many yogurts.

    Allow me to digress a little and say the following: heat treatment can destroy Lactobacillus Acidophilus.

    So, the closest way to ensure you are getting beneficial bacteria is via a “Live and Active Cultures” statement (although this does not guarantee said cultures are starter bacteria.)

    What many people don’t realize is that all fermented foods — not just yogurt — contain probiotics, including tempeh (fermented soy), blue cheese, sauerkraut, and wine.

    The largest body of research on probiotics has focused on the therapeutic effect they have on diarrhea developed as a result of taking antibiotics.

    Other than that, a lot of the health-promoting properties attributed to probiotics in food are yet to be discovered, or at least confirmed by science.

    Although I can understand the link between probiotics and immune health (mainly since beneficial bacteria are a good defense against harmful varieties,) claims by some supplement companies of helping lower cancer risk are, as of now, completely baseless.

    One main problem with probiotic food research is that many strands are destroyed by stomach acids before they even reach the large intestine.

    So, how they perform in a laboratory setting does not necessarily reflect what takes place in our bodies.

    Additionally, only a handful of probiotic strands have been closely studied.

    It is also worth pointing out that in order for probiotics to have any sort of impact — assuming the strand in Vive does — they need to be consumed on a daily basis. So, a bowl of Vive three times a week isn’t really going to do much for you.

    In any case, the particular probiotic present in Vive is strain LA14 of Lacto acidophilus.

    Kashi’s official statement is that this cereal contains 109 colony forming units of said probiotic per serving of Vive.

    Sounds great. But, although this strand survives the digestive process, there have not been any studies examining specific health benefits.

    While it certainly won’t do you any harm, no one really knows what exactly you are supposed to gain from eating Vive regularly (“aids with digestive wellness” is too broad a statement for me.)

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    You Ask, I Answer: Pinkberry/Red Mango

    I really like the new batch of frozen yogurt stores that are popping up, like Pinkberry and Red Mango.

    What do you think of them?

    — Alicia M.
    Bellevue, WA

    Frozen yogurt is back in a big way.

    The newer chains you mention specifically pride themselves on serving frozen plain yogurt containing live, active bacteria (both Pinkberry and Red Mango have seals of approval from the National Yogurt Association asserting their live bacteria count qualifies their product as true yogurt, although Pinkberry had to change their original formula to receive this distinction.)

    My opinion? They are a legitimately healthy and tasty treat.

    I have yet to try Pinkberry, but have been very happy with all my Red Mango experiences.

    As with everything else, keep portions in check and you’ll do just fine.

    A small order of either chain’s yogurt provides 80 – 90 calories, about 1 teaspoon of added sugar, and 10% of the calcium daily value.

    Make smart choices with toppings (i.e.: fresh fruit and sliced almonds rather than sugary cereals and Oreo cookies) to add vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats.

    I love that the fruit toppings are fresh, rather than canned and drowning in heavy syrup.

    That said, there is nothing magical about these places. Plain yogurt with strawberries from your refrigerator is just as nutritious.

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