I went to a number of supermarkets yesterday, looking for bottles of Probiotics, I didn’t mind about brand and discovered something quite unexpected.
All manner of brands were on the shelf, Yakult, Activa, Benecol, etc, yet none of them showed the word probiotic on the label.
They are all yoghurt drinks some claiming to lower cholesterol.
My hunt concluded with the purchase of an ASDA branded cholesterol lowering blueberry probiotic yoghurt drink. Am I any further on – I’m not sure.
Today I’m going to the clinic where I see some of my clients (with others we work over Skype or the telephone) and will be checking it out with the owner (among other roles she is a trained nutritionist) as think she can help unravel this digestive enzyme puzzle.
Here’s a definition from Wikipedia:
Probiotics are live microorganisms thought to be beneficial to the host organism.
According to the currently adopted definition by FAO/WHO, probiotics are: “Live microorganisms which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit on the host”. Lactic acid bacteria (LAB) and bifidobacteria are the most common types of microbes used as probiotics; but certain yeasts and bacilli may also be helpful.
I’ll be back later with an update:
Later the same week
I spoke to Alison Lingwood (wearing her nutritionist hat) and she revealed the drinks I found in the supermarket (even the one that was labelled as probiotic – from Asda) are not probiotics at all.
You can buy supplements at the health food shop which is what I went on to do and came away with something from a brand called Udo’s Choice – Super 8 Hi-Potency Probiotic and here’s the wording on the label:
Formulated to sustain the gut flora balance and offer immune support, especially beneficial for intestinal health. I found it contained the essentials such as Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. But this is a long way from the ingredients contained in those yoghurt drinks that make such claims. I now wonder how they fare with the claims for lowering cholesterol in these same products? Anyone?
More to be revealed me feels and this alone demonstrates both the importance of reading labels and the inadequacy of current standards where imparting reliable information is concerned. It further proves the necessity for Joe Public to don their deerstalker hats – magnifying glass in hand – and trawl the inadequate food labelling in search of a lack of information in order to intuit the authenticity of foods and food supplements.
Who would know it was 2011 … c’mon Food Standard Agencies it’s time to pull your fingers out. Never mind the good and bad gut bacteria, it seems to be more a question of which manufacturers are providing the good and non-existent probiotic cultures in their products?
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