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Biotech

Something in Your Food is Moving 378

Posted by timothy
from the go-ahead-ingest-a-colony dept.
Dekortage writes "The New York Times has a report on probiotic food: food that has live bacteria in it. From the article: "[for Dannon's] Activia, a line of yogurt with special live bacteria that are marketed as aiding regularity, sales in United States stores have soared well past the $100 million mark.... Probiotics in food are part of a larger trend toward 'functional foods,' which stress their ability to deliver benefits that have traditionally been the realm of medicine or dietary supplements.""
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Something in Your Food is Moving

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  • by Average_Joe_Sixpack (534373) on Monday January 22, 2007 @10:45AM (#17710138)
    Activia, a line of yogurt with special live bacteria that are marketed as aiding regularity

    Taco Bell should sue them for patent infringement.
    • by EmagGeek (574360) <gterich AT aol DOT com> on Monday January 22, 2007 @10:50AM (#17710208) Journal
      They said "aiding regularity," not "forcibly exploding your colon out through your asshole."
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by creimer (824291)
        What's the difference? Everything ends up in the toliet bowl of life...
      • by JanneM (7445) on Monday January 22, 2007 @10:56AM (#17710286) Homepage
        They said "aiding regularity," not "forcibly exploding your colon out through your asshole."

        Well, if it bursts out on the hour, every hour...
        • by theshowmecanuck (703852) on Monday January 22, 2007 @12:01PM (#17711032) Journal
          You call it 'Old Faithful' [wikipedia.org] and tourists come to watch.
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Walt Dismal (534799)
            I loved this paragraph in the article:

            As for Activia, the company does not claim that it reduces the risk of specific medical conditions like constipation. Rather, Dannon says, it "can help regulate your digestive system by helping reduce long intestinal transit time."

            I believe we used to refer to that as diarrhea. Activia should have a warning label: "Do not consume before long staff meetings! (Unless you're into that sort of thing.) And please, for the love of god, do not eat and fly. Thank You, The Ot

            • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

              by daeg (828071)

              "Do not consume before long staff meetings!

              I see you've never been in a staff meeting that you need a strategic escape from. Once others catch on to you that you're having your mother call you precisely 30 minutes into every single meeting, you need to find another escape plan. It's easy to hide yogurt; it's not easy to hide Taco Bell, particularly if you work with any stoners.

              I see a very large market that Activia can tap into. The trapped business professional!

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by springbox (853816)
      No, it's more like - If Dannon tries to file a patent, Taco Bell already has prior art.
  • Wheres the Gagh? [/wendys wheres the beef lady]
  • Activia (Score:5, Funny)

    by ShaunC (203807) * on Monday January 22, 2007 @10:45AM (#17710148)
    I've been eating Activia for breakfast every morning for probably 6 months, and haven't really noticed that it's doing any good in the gastro department. Maybe if I quit having vodka for dinner...
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by SNR monkey (1021747)
      Actually, I think it's the vodka + Activia for breakfast that is keeping me from seeing any real benefits.
    • Re:Activia (Score:5, Interesting)

      by araemo (603185) on Monday January 22, 2007 @11:44AM (#17710860)
      Perhaps someone here can tell me, what is the real difference between this fancy 'Activia' brand, and normal live culture yogurt (such as the Yoplait custard style I've been eating for 20 years when I want yogurt)?

      Good yogurt has always had live bacteria in it, and the health effects of eating that live bacteria are not news.
      • Re:Activia (Score:5, Insightful)

        by linzeal (197905) on Monday January 22, 2007 @12:07PM (#17711104) Homepage Journal
        They patented it and called it a healthy sounding name.
      • Re:Activia (Score:5, Informative)

        by value_added (719364) on Monday January 22, 2007 @12:16PM (#17711222)
        Perhaps someone here can tell me, what is the real difference between this fancy 'Activia' brand, and normal live culture yogurt (such as the Yoplait custard style I've been eating for 20 years when I want yogurt)?

        Check the ingredients, lately?

        Yoplait, etc. are marketed as yoghurts in the same way colourful beverages are sold as juice: there might be some juice in there somewhere, and it may look like juice, but all in all, it's mostly something else.

        Don't recall off-hand, but Yoplait, etc. are predominantly milk and milk solids with a healthy (pun intended) dose of various gums and emulsifiers added to give it the texture of real yoghurt.

        To take this a step further, what's the difference between real cheese, and the waxy pasteurised stuff sold as cheese in the typical supermarket? Easy -- one is cheese; the other is something else. Anyone that has even once tasted either will agree this.

        Real yoghurt (and real cheese) are available in the U.S., but typically only at high-priced cheese shops, specialty stores, or similar venues that escape notice from regulators. IIRC, it's illegal (as much so as Cuban cigars), but the market for the stuff is alive and well (again, pun intended), and the customers are loyal and happy to pay. Not too many people make real yoghurt locally, but it's not uncommon to find raw cheeses available at better farmers markets.
        • Cheese (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Mark_MF-WN (678030) on Monday January 22, 2007 @12:46PM (#17711666)
          It's funny that you would mention cheese, since the cheese that most Americans and Canadians are familiar with is Cheddar -- the one and only cheese (to my knowledge) that is NOT pasteurized here. Probably why it's so popular.

          Frankly, I'm surprised European cheese producers have never launched a WTO grievance over our bizarre pasteurization laws, which mostly just keep European cheeses out of our markets. Research has shown that pasteurizing cheese increases the chances of a pathogenic strain of bacteria taking hold, since there will be no competing bacteria to inhibit the pathogen's development should one take hold.

          I'd comment on the cigars too, but I'm not American so it wouldn't really mean anything. At the job I do to pay for school, I sell several cuban cigarillos a day (and usually at least one pack of American cigars). Ironically the cubans that we have are of very low quality, so the Americans sell rather better -- entire packs at a time rather than singles. Funny how these things work out.

          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by altek (119814)
            And not a single one of them gets smoked without first emptying the contents and refilling it with a different substance ;)
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by DragonWriter (970822)
            It's funny that you would mention cheese, since the cheese that most Americans and Canadians are familiar with is Cheddar -- the one and only cheese (to my knowledge) that is NOT pasteurized here.


            I would bet that the "cheese" most Americans are familiar with is American cheese (or the even viler Velveeta-style 'Pasteurized Processed American Cheese Food'.

            But Cheddar is certainly not the only kind of nonpasteurized cheese available in America.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward
          I don't know about Yoplait. But Dannon (standard Dannon yogurt, not just the Activa stuff) still announces "contains active yogurt cultures including L. acidophilus." I don't know where you get the idea that it's illegal. Ingrediant-wise. There's some geletin and your standard acids and phosphates but the top ingrediant is still "Cultured grade A low fat milk"
        • You are right that most yogurt packaged in a small cup with fruit flavors are diluted. However, supermarkets also carry "plain" yogurt in a pint sized container. It's mostly solid, have strong odor, and is very sour.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by g1zmo (315166)
        I tried the Activa last year and had to quit eating it before I even got through the first 8-pack. It made me itch, particularly on the back of my neck and ears. I liked the flavor and texture (very creamy), but I guess I was just allergic to something in it.
      • Re:Activia (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Otto (17870) on Monday January 22, 2007 @12:22PM (#17711308) Homepage Journal

        Perhaps someone here can tell me, what is the real difference between this fancy 'Activia' brand, and normal live culture yogurt (such as the Yoplait custard style I've been eating for 20 years when I want yogurt)?
         
        Good yogurt has always had live bacteria in it, and the health effects of eating that live bacteria are not news.
        The real difference is that Activia invented some fake-latin sounding names for their bacteria, trademarked 'em, and then used it in their marketing campaign.

        Consumer Reports mentioned them a few issues ago, and said that a test of Activia's bacteria showed that only 0.1% of them survived the passage through the stomach. So the idea that they somehow aid digestion is rather silly.
        • Re:Activia (Score:4, Insightful)

          by panaceaa (205396) on Monday January 22, 2007 @01:56PM (#17712788) Homepage Journal
          Less than 0.1% of sperm survive the passage through the vagina and fertilize an egg. Is the idea that they somehow aid reproduction rather silly?
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Gadgetfreak (97865)
          Oh, it definitely makes a difference. For me, not a good one either. I've had IBS for a while now (something a 26 yr old really shouldn't have.) I eat Columbo yogurts, mostly 'cause I like 'em and they're good protein/calcium and easy on my stomach.

          I tried Activia for a week instead of the Columbo, and all I could think of were the commercials for "foaming pipe snake" drain cleaner/clog remover. Because there was some definite foaming and snake like action coming from my rear end for 3 days afterwords.

          I'
      • Re:Activia (Score:4, Funny)

        by Rei (128717) on Monday January 22, 2007 @01:45PM (#17712604) Homepage
        I think that's common knowledge. There's an old joke that goes something like:

        "Q: What's the difference between (city-you-hate) and yoghurt?

        A: Yoghurt has an active, living culture."
  • Yogurt! (Score:2, Funny)

    by ReidMaynard (161608)
    Now with FHG-4532 !
    (what's that? My License plate)
  • Is this tested at all by the FDA, or is it like a supplement, and not subject to testing? Are these common bacteria that we already consume, or are they introducing new bacteria into our system?
    • Re:Testing (Score:5, Informative)

      by Silver Sloth (770927) on Monday January 22, 2007 @10:53AM (#17710256)
      It's food, not a drug, so it doesn't require testing anymore than prunes would do if marketed as a cure for constipation (which they're rather good at!) From TFA

      The Food and Drug Administration takes a neutral position, policing food packages to make sure that companies do not try to equate probiotic products with disease-curing drugs (unless they have scientific evidence to back up a claim). One scholarly group that has addressed the topic recently, the American Academy of Microbiology, said in a 2006 report that "at present, the quality of probiotics available to consumers in food products around the world is unreliable."
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by OmniChamp (874914)
        Oddly enough I happened to check the ingredients on the side of a container of Activa yoghurt and in Canada, the particular strain of probiotic bacteria has a DIN (Drug Identification Number) beside it. Due to my strobe light attention span, I didn't check it out on the Drug Product Database, but I figured it should be mentioned here. I'll probably go and follow up on that at lunch. Hey, pretty lights! (*wanders away aimlessly*)

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by oohshiny (998054)
      Yes, they are common bacteria, known to be not harmful. Also, you eat lots of bacteria in many other foods anyway.

      Keep in mind that there are a huge number of bacteria living in you and on you, most of them completely uncharacterized, and many of them probably essential for your health and well being.
    • Re:Testing (Score:5, Informative)

      by kfg (145172) on Monday January 22, 2007 @11:09AM (#17710434)
      Jesus Christ, are we really that disconnected from our food these days?

      Dude, bacteria is what yogurt is. It's milk, spoiled under controled conditions. Conditions that promote the growth of . . .bacteria.

      For the past few decades commercial yogurt has been pastuerized, i.e, put under controlled conditions that kill bacteria. Don't do that and your yogurt remains live. That's all there is to it.

      KFG
    • Re:Testing (Score:5, Interesting)

      by arivanov (12034) on Monday January 22, 2007 @11:23AM (#17710620) Homepage
      IIRC - the bacteria is not common for the US. In fact it is uncommon for most of EU.

      It is Lactobacillum Bulgaricum and relatives which are originally from the Balkan peninsula (you can guess from the name). Even now in the remote mountain areas of Bulgaria, Macedonia, Northern Greece and South Eastern Serbia if you leave milk outside it has a very fair chance of becoming a proper yogurt naturally. This does not happen every time though and that is the reason why people add some of the old yogurt in the new milk to start the fermentation. The difference between Lactobacillum produced yogurt and other yogurts is that lactobacillum can ferment even buffalo milk to yogurt without starting to produce nasty ketones and the smelly stuff we usually associate with bad milk. In addition to that once the fermentation has taken place the product is surprisingly stable and can survive up to several weeks in the fridge without any extra preservatives. For reasons not completely understood even today outside its native region native Lactobacillum does not last long so any place using it has to refresh its stocks regularly from the Balkans.

      Danone got their hands on Lactobacillum and started producing decent yogurt after buying the biggest Bulgarian dairy food producer Serdika in the 90-es. Before that their yogurt had the taste of condensed rancid piss fortified with non-sour cream (same as the yogurt still made by most other manufacturers nowdays). Now it is more or less edible. It is not anywhere close to the real stuff which you can get in the Bulgarian, Greek or Macedonian mountains (I sometimes feel like killing someone for a jug of buffalo yogurt), but it can actually be eaten.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by j33pn (1049772)
      The bacteria they add are normally found in traditional yogurt. These newer yogurts are just reintroducing some of formally common lactose digesting bacteria that are believed to be beneficial to humans. The sugar in milk is lactose and it is found only in the milk of mammals. As a result, the only bacteria that can digest lactose are found in the digestive systems of mammals, specifically breast feeding 'younglings' and milk drinking humans. Yogurt is made when these bacteria are allowed to feed off of
    • Common (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Mark_MF-WN (678030)
      Everything, and I mean everything, that you put into your mouth, is crawling with bacteria and fungal spores. Bacteria are far less harmful than people think. The fact that the bacteria is new and strange is a BENEFIT, because it means that the bacteria isn't adapted to living in the Human body. The more foreign a bacteria is, the less dangerous it is to be exposed to it.

      The dangerous bacteria are ones that live in people (or other mammals) already. when you get exposed to these bacteria, they have th

  • by Anonymous Coward
    that would be kombucha tea.
  • Live bacteria (Score:5, Informative)

    by pubjames (468013) on Monday January 22, 2007 @10:51AM (#17710222)
    food that has live bacteria in it

    What, like normal yogurt and cheese?

    Although perhaps in the USA everything is sterilized? Seems a bit nuts to kill all the bateria (yogurt is essentially a culture of bateria) and then add them back in again.
    • Re:Live bacteria (Score:4, Informative)

      by operagost (62405) on Monday January 22, 2007 @10:58AM (#17710304) Homepage Journal
      All yogurt contains some live cultures, and one of the consumers interviewed in the article even said so. It's just that the author of the article is too brain-damaged to comprehend what they have written, apparently.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by hjames (70941)
      We used to be able to buy milk with Acidopholis culture at Giant food - but they phased it out over the last year or so and Safeway doesn't sell it. Thats the "live culture" that lives in your stomac and aids in digestion, but gets killed when you take antibiotics like penicillin.
    • by oohshiny (998054)
      What, like normal yogurt and cheese?

      Yogurt and cheese that aren't specifically meant for that purpose do not consistently contain large numbers of live bacteria; these drinks should.
      • Yogurt and cheese that aren't specifically meant for that purpose do not consistently contain large numbers of live bacteria

        Cheese, perhaps (some kinds anyway) but yogurt? Have you ever made yogurt from scratch? It's nothing BUT live bacteria and cultures!

      • by pubjames (468013)
        Yogurt and cheese that aren't specifically meant for that purpose do not consistently contain large numbers of live bacteria; these drinks should.

        Rubbish. If they haven't been sterilized yogurt and cheese are full of bacteria. They are bacterial cultures for chrissakes. If it wasn't for the bacteria, there wouldn't be any cheese or yogurt!
         
    • Re:Live bacteria (Score:4, Informative)

      by Aqua_boy17 (962670) on Monday January 22, 2007 @11:50AM (#17710938)
      Seems a bit nuts to kill all the bateria (yogurt is essentially a culture of bateria) and then add them back in again.
      I used to work in a hospital pharmacy and we stocked several products for doing that very thing. Some patients who had severe infections and aggressive antibioitic therapy would have their natually occuring intestinal bacteria wiped out. These products were given to the patients to help restore the bacterial flora and the ability to digest food without discomfort. IIRC, most of the products were essentially just cultured lactobacillus strains but an MD or pharmacist could elaborate.
    • Re:Live bacteria (Score:5, Insightful)

      by shis-ka-bob (595298) on Monday January 22, 2007 @11:53AM (#17710956)
      Yes, I'm afraid US food is dead. Go to any US supermarket and all you see is food in plastic bags. Once you leave the produce section, the whole supermarket looks like a morgue full of sealed body bags that contain once living foodstuffs that have been killed/hydrogenated/frozen/sealed/irradiated to extend their shelf life. Man I miss the open air market in Gif sur Yvette.
  • by brother_b (16716) on Monday January 22, 2007 @10:53AM (#17710254)
    In fact, I consume a good quantity of it on a regular basis. This is assuming that bottle-conditioned unfiltered beer counts.

    Man, live yeast really gives you gas of doom, though.
  • New to the US (Score:5, Informative)

    by Sciros (986030) on Monday January 22, 2007 @10:54AM (#17710264) Journal
    There have been probiotic yogurts for sale in Europe (or at least in the UK) for quite some time now. I lived there 2005-2006 and ate this stuff daily (yogurt tastes better there on average anyway).

    If you ask me, the US has a long way to go before reaching the standards in terms of taste and healthiness (is that a word?) that grocery food has set in the UK, Belgium, Netherlands, etc.
    • Re:New to the US (Score:4, Informative)

      by Empty Threats (543523) <{moc.liamg} {ta} {rettel.iicsa}> on Monday January 22, 2007 @11:06AM (#17710384)
      "Healthiness" is a word, but not the word you want. People are "healthy." Food is "healthful."
    • by inviolet (797804)
      If you ask me, the US has a long way to go before reaching the standards in terms of taste and healthiness (is that a word?) that grocery food has set in the UK, Belgium, Netherlands, etc.

      You, obviously, have never compared (say) Weetabix to (say) Oatmeal Raisin Crisp. American cereals are teh pwnz!

    • by splutty (43475)
      There have been probiotic yogurts for sale in Europe (or at least in the UK) for quite some time now.

      Completely correct! I'll hazard a guess and say it's several centuries if not more :)
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Bill Barth (49178)
      Active yogurts have been available in the US for decades if not centuries. Activa is just the first product that I've seen to specifically mention its active cultures as a cure for certain ailments in its advertising. It's really just new marketing (and good marketing, IMO).
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by nomadic (141991)
      If you ask me, the US has a long way to go before reaching the standards in terms of taste and healthiness (is that a word?) that grocery food has set in the UK, Belgium, Netherlands, etc.

      Eh, I wasn't especially impressed by UK groceries. Prepared food, especially, is significantly better in upscale US supermarkets than in anything I found in England.
  • IBS (Score:5, Interesting)

    by theMerovingian (722983) on Monday January 22, 2007 @10:55AM (#17710276) Journal

    That Activia stuff seems to help with irritable bowel syndrome [aboutibs.org] (which in turn was caused by a $300/month starbucks habit). My wife is a dietitian and recommended I try it out.

    Now what we need is probiotic coffee so I can go back to a caffeine-fueled frenzy and finish this project I am working on.
    • by RyoShin (610051)
      I can confirm (at least on my end) that it does help with IBS. I tried it for about two weeks and got pretty good results.

      However, I didn't stick to it for two reasons: 1) cost and 2) the only bulk packs I can find now are peaches and something.

      Why do bulk yogurt packs always have peaches and something? I hate peaches. Feh.

      Anyway, I just use Metamucil now, which has the same overall effect. So if you like peaches and have IBS, give it a whirl.
  • Trouble stomachs (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Lazerf4rt (969888) on Monday January 22, 2007 @10:57AM (#17710298)
    The fastest way to consumers' hearts may be through their troubled stomachs.

    Maybe if the food industry didn't fuck so much with food to maximize profits in the first place, people wouldn't have so many troubled stomachs?

    • by Deagol (323173)
      If people weren't such dumb-asses and ate obviously-labeled shit to begin with, people wouldn't have so many troubled stomachs.

      As much as I despise the shit food industry, people themselves are at least 50% culpable for their poor choices.

  • While from the article I can gather there is merit to probiotic food, let's hope it does not become another coöpted marketing fad whereby anything and everything is labelled probiotic just for the sake of riding the coattails of the success of producs where such bacteria do make health sense and is important.

    I can forsee this parallelling the fat-free craze where they'd (food companies) label things which always were naturally fat free labelled as being-100% fat free (implying that competing products

    • Fat free ! (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Ihlosi (895663)
      I'm surprised no-one ever went so far as labelling water as fat-free.

      Haven't you seen fet-free cooking oil spray ? It's main ingredient is canola oil, but it's fat free because each 0.5 gram serving contains zero grams of fat (rounded down).
    • Too late, there has been an explosion in probiotic products in the UK. My favourite advert is for Danone Activia.

      They say in the advert that they have it to a group of women and asked them how they felt afterwards. Of course most of them described some kind of improvement in their wellbeing. I'd bet money that they'd say the same thing if you gave them custard and described it as a breakthrough in healthcare.
      • by oojah (113006)
        I'm not sure that it's the same advert I'm thinking of, but it's certainly something similar. Either way, it narks me off. One of the testimonials is "it's like a dessert". Well great, that tells me a lot.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by pryonic (938155)
      Do you know what food marketing fad I hate at the moment? All this organic nonsense that is being sold in the UK.

      Organic potatoes, apples, milk... I thought these were organic products by definition, along with beef, chicken and orange juice. Maybe I'm wrong and they're made in a lab from nylon and plastic... I'm sure it is better for us that they're not covered in quite as many pesticides but quite a few dangerous chemicals are allowed to be used and the product called organic so it's all marketing ****s

      • by pryonic (938155) on Monday January 22, 2007 @11:25AM (#17710644)
        Actually, has anyone seen my organic </b>?
      • I'd forgotten how fruit and vegetables were supposed to taste. The majority of the conventionally farmed stuff at the supermarkets here is decidedly mediocre, but organic food is worth it on taste alone - i eat so much more fruit now that it tastes like it's supposed to!
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by DrSkwid (118965)
        Perhaps you should shut your yapping and do some reading.

        The Soil Association [soilassociation.org].

        Organic standards are the rules and regulations that define how an organic product must be made. Organic standards are laid down in European Union (EU) law. Anything labelled 'organic' that is for human consumption must meet these standards as a minimum. The standards cover all aspects of food production, for example, animal welfare and wildlife conservation, and banning unnecessary and harmful food additives in organic processed
  • by xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) on Monday January 22, 2007 @11:08AM (#17710420)
    WTF is this stuff doing on SlashDot?

    Yogurt contains live cultures? No shit. Thanks for the fourth-grade science lesson.

    Let's get a couple stories for the IQ > 60 set out here today, please.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Deagol (323173)
      Have you browsed the yogurt aisle at your local grocery store lately? You need to actually read labels to make sure you're getting the stuff w/ live, active cultures. Ditto sour cream. If you're lucky, maybe 3 brands out of 20 will have the stuff. These days, it's not the no-brainer you make it out to be.
  • by xtermz (234073) on Monday January 22, 2007 @11:11AM (#17710452) Homepage Journal
    TMI WARNING! If talk of bodily functions disturbs you, go to the next post... ...With that in mind, I've had measurable success with taking probiotics ( in pill form ). I suffer from IBS, and suppose I can be called "overly regular". Since taking probiotic pills, I've notice more "normal" feeling, um, functions. Even if I stuck to a good diet, things were different until I did the probiotics.

    Theres been some research, and lots of controversy, suggesting that the overabundance of antibiotics in our food, as well as the overuse of them by doctors and such, is just ruining our GI tract. There's lots of people walking around these days who probably cant' even remember what a normal bm is anymore. But ya, probiotics do appear to help.
    • I had the same erm.. sucess..

      I can't touch dairy normally, yet when I took these drinks I could eat or drink anything and be perfectly fine. It was really strange but it did seem to work.
  • by knightmad (931578) on Monday January 22, 2007 @11:16AM (#17710514)
    Brazilian people (and people from other countries) have been drinking Yakult [wikipedia.org] since ever, and this kind of yogurt was (and I quote) "invented by Kyoto University pediatrics doctor Minoru Shirota in 1930". Here in Europe there is the Danone's Actimel [actimel.com], that is basically the same (I tasted both, I know) but with a new brand and a massive advertisement.

    I'm mentioning that because IMHO this article is nothing but advertisement, passing something as a technological evolution but in fact, unless 30s technology counts as one, its nothing but another way slashdot got to sell your eyeballs.
  • I just got a Hormel Boneless chicken patty with Mashed potatoes and gravy meal with a chicken bone in it........is that close enough?
  • by Maimun (631984) on Monday January 22, 2007 @11:21AM (#17710600)
    Bulgarians consider their country as the original inventor and genuine producer of sour milk, which is called "yogurt" in English. I dunno if that is true or not but in my humble experience, Bulgarian genuine yogurt is much tastier than any alternative I have tasted; those include several North American brands of yogurt that I tried in Canada and a brand of Greek yogurt sold in Canadian Oriental food stores.

    Saying that yogurt has live bacteria in it is like saying water has H_2 O molecules: of course it does! Here is a wiki link [wikipedia.org] that describes pretty accurately, to the best of my knowledge, the bacteria species that makes yogurt out of fresh milk.

    Dannon's products should be avoided. The worst brand-name yogurt in Bulgaria is theirs. It has the most artificial taste of all the surrogates that are sold as yogurt. If you have tasted the real thing, you will recognise their product as junk food (as long as you are not a junk-food addict :-) ).

  • by TheMohel (143568) on Monday January 22, 2007 @11:22AM (#17710610) Homepage
    Probiotics in food are part of a larger trend toward 'functional foods,' which stress their ability to deliver benefits that have traditionally been the realm of medicine or dietary supplements.
    And so slouches the Baby Boom generation toward their inevitable mortality, scrambling and clutching madly at every huckster's promise to improve "health" and "longevity." This is a minor example of the sort, of course, but it is just as well documented and proven as the others. Which is to say, not.
     
    The primary "benefit" delivered by Activa is indeed that of the dietary supplements (and not a few medicines), which is to separate the victim from their available cash and deliver fuzzy science and placebo effect in return.
     
    There is limited data that active culture supplementation can reduce diarrhea duration in acute gastroenteritis, although the studies are small. The effect in irritable bowel syndrome is contentious, but then virtually everything in irritable bowel syndrome is contentious, including the existence of the syndrome as such. In already-healthy people, Activa has no well-supported benefit of which I am aware.
     
    For myself (and as a practicing physician), I don't have a problem with it - if you like your flavored spoiled milk with extra bacteria, by all means, partake. Nearly all food is nonsterile. Much of it has quite a lot of bacteria, and most of them (Taco Bell notwithstanding) are relatively harmless. Personally, I rather prefer Pop-Tarts.
    • by foniksonik (573572) on Monday January 22, 2007 @12:34PM (#17711474) Homepage Journal
      As a practicing physician you should know better. 90% of the 'food' on the shelfs of your local grocer is equivalent to cardboard when it comes to nutritional value. It's all been injected with just enough vitamin content to be called a food when really it's nothing but sugars and starches and a little bit of cotton seed oil (which is toxic if unprocessed) to hold it all together. Perfect example is Pop-Tarts. You'd die of a wide variety of vitamin deficiencies if all you eat are Pop-Tarts... which is how a lot of kids live, on the edge of vitamin deficiency, and we wonder why they have difficulty paying attention in class or why they come down with so many auto-immune syndromes.

      It's 'professionals' like you who lead the american citizens into seriously unhealthy lifestyles. Oh well, guess a guy's got to make a living and what would physicians do if everyone were naturally healthy?
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by ahoehn (301327)
        As the son of a physician and husband of a medical student, TheMohel's attitude isn't particularly surprising. All too often, physicians have to watch as patients eschew real medicine for "naturopathic" remedies. Even I've seen a friend stop treatment for multiple sclerosis and spend thousands of dollars on magic "natural" pills being sold by a huckster. It's disgusting to see seriously sick people preyed on. I would guess that's where TheMohel's negativity comes from.

        On the other hand, there's a big di
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by TheMohel (143568)
          Thank you, and yes. I have no problem with people trying to eat healthy foods, and my Pop-Tarts comment was irony (which is a dangerous thing on Slashdot), but there is no actual scientific evidence that live culture yogurt does very much for you. It's not harmful, and nobody is foregoing any particular treatment by eating it (unlike the St. John's Wort example, which I've seen). My negativity is the same that I have for any salesman claiming too much for their product.

          I have an astonishing fact for peop
  • ... that is, with yeast in it and non-pasteurized.
  • Quackery (Score:4, Insightful)

    by archeopterix (594938) on Monday January 22, 2007 @12:00PM (#17711030) Journal
    Here's a link to the AFFSA (the French FDA) report [afssa.fr] [PDF warning][French warning :-)] on the Lactobacillus Casei yoghurt. They found all of the manufacturer's claims "unverifiable" or "unsupported", except one, which they advised on changing to: "takes part in the process of reinforcing natural defenses".
  • The article didn't mention my favourite probiotic food: real ale. Yup, real, unfiltered, unpasteurised beer contains millions of little tiny living yeast cells. Granted, I don't think that brewer's yeast has any really beneficial effect (the B12 they contain is almost certainly not bioavailable to man), but still, that's pretty cool.

    Another common probiotic is cheese. Yup, cheese is made by adding bacteria to milk to sour it, then adding rennet to curdle the soured milk, then straining, pressing & aging the curds. An unpasteurised cheese will contain lots of lactobacilli (and if a blue cheese, penicillium), as well as the other strains responsible for the particular cheese's distinctive flavour.

    And then there's keffir, a drink made by fermenting milk. You can buy it in the store these days, where it tastes something like runny yoghurt.

    Still, the best use of microbes in food has got to be beer. As the wise man said, beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.

  • by nido (102070) <{moc.oohay} {ta} {65odin}> on Monday January 22, 2007 @12:25PM (#17711362) Homepage
    Sterile food is a 20th century historical curiosity, and look at how chronic disease has taken off. Antibiotics may have diminished the danger of a bacterial infections, but new health syndromes have risen with a vengeance (cancer, heart disease, IBS, tooth decay, etc).

    Lots of traditional foods were fermented. Nourishing Traditions [newtrendspublishing.com] (best cookbook evar!) has a couple chapters on using lacto-bacteria to predigest and preserve foods - cultured dairy products, fermented fruits & vegetables (chutney, Sauerkraut, pickled vegetables, etc), lacto-fermented beverages (made some "grape cooler" last fall - Mmmm.... ), etc.

    It may seem strange to us that, in earlier times, people knew how to preserve vegetables for long periods without the use of freezers or canning machines. This was done through the process of lacto-fermentation. Lactic acid is a natural preservative that inhibits putrefying bacteria. Starches and sugars in vegetables and fruits are converted into lactic acid by the many species of lactic-acid-producing bacteria. These lactobacilli are ubiquitous, present on the surface of all living things and especially numerous on leaves and roots of plants growing in or near the ground. Man needs only to learn the techniques for controlling and encouraging their proliferation to put them to his own use, just as he has learned to put certain yeasts to use in converting the sugars in grape juice to alcohol in wine.

    The ancient Greeks understood that important chemical changes took place during this type of fermentation. Their name for this change was "alchemy." Like the fermentation of dairy products, preservation of vegetables and fruits by the process of lacto-fermentation has numerous advantages beyond those of simple preservation. The proliferation of lactobacilli in fermented vegetables enhances their digestibility and increases vitamin levels.These beneficial organisms produce numerous helpful enzymes as well as antibiotic and anticarcinogenic substances. Their main by-product, lactic acid, not only keeps vegetables and fruits in a state of perfect preservation but also promotes the growth of healthy flora throughout the intestine. Other alchemical by-products include hydrogen peroxide and small amounts of benzoic acid.

    -Nourishing Traditions, pg. 89


    One insight that I think is particularly useful is how the book says that grains/nuts/beans/legumes should be soaked in water (depending on what's being soaked, with salt/whey/lemon juice) to de-activate enzyme-inhibitors. This makes said grains/nuts/beans/legumes easier to digest, which might be important for you Irritable Bowel Syndrome sufferers... If I'm making pancakes, I take my freshly ground whole wheat flour and mix in the raw milk and a little probiotics the night before. Leave it out on the counter overnight, and by morning all those nasty enzyme inhibitors have broken down.

    Sample chapters at the page linked above. Check it out. More info if desired...
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by edremy (36408)
      Sterile food is a 20th century historical curiosity, and look at how chronic disease has taken off. Antibiotics may have diminished the danger of a bacterial infections, but new health syndromes have risen with a vengeance (cancer, heart disease, IBS, tooth decay, etc).

      I think you're mixing up correlation and causation there. Yes, chronic disease has taken off- because the *acute* diseases that used to kill us don't anymore. I think we forget just how bad life used to be for most people.

      Cancer and hea

  • patents on life. (Score:4, Informative)

    by kneel (17810) on Monday January 22, 2007 @12:46PM (#17711668) Homepage
    I tried the Activa yogurt and it didn't do anything to my digestive tract that regular yogurt doesn't already help with (I get the IBS pretty often).


    I think the 'bifidus digestivus' and 'bifidus regularus' bacteria are a bunch of marketing bullshit. As noted by previous posters, they basically took some Bulgarian bacteria, renamed and trademarked it, and marketed it.


    I do believe in the benefits of probiotics, although I think they are pretty low unless your body is under specific conditions that might kill all or most of the flora in your intestine. Like if you took antibiotics. Intestinal bacteria are very important, and you gotta replace it somehow if it dies off. In fact, some doctors are seriously suggesting that shit is an organ, just like your lungs and heart and whatnot. They think it is necessary for human life and if your intestinal flora is damaged, in some cases they are seriously suggesting poop transplants [washingtonpost.com]. Seriously, some doctors are cramming other peopless shit into their patient's colons.


    So I did some poking around and i found that the Stonyfield Organic Yogurt is the best. It has 1-3 grams of fiber (depending on the flavor) in the form of inulin, which helps your body ingest the calcium. It also has 6 live cultures, which is the most of any yogurt I've seen. Combine that with the fact that it is organic, so won't be filled with hormones and (ironically) antibiotics, and a great taste (particularly the chocolate) and its a damn healthy snack.

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