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Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Yogurt, Yoghurt, and Yougurt

I've been advocating yogurt for years as a way to get dairy into your diet for those who are lactose intolerant. The live and active cultures used in yogurt digest the lactose that is in the dairy and render it mostly symptom free. The lactose is then fermented into lactic acid, which gives the tart taste. From Wikipedia:

To be named yoghurt, the product should at least contain the bacteria Streptococcus salivarius ssp thermophilus and Lactobacillus bulgaricus official name Lactobacillus delbrueckii ssp. bulgaricus). Often these are co-cultured with other lactic acid bacteria for either taste or health effects (probiotics). These include L. acidophilus, Lactobacillus casei and Bifidobacterium species.


But I've also warned that modern yogurts in the United States pander to the sweet-lovers among consumers by adding sugar and extra milk products that reduce the benefits of the "good" bacteria. You should also remember that heat-treating or pasteurizing yogurt destroys these bacteria. Always look for the words "live and active" on the package.

Askdrsears.com, run by Dr. Bob Sears, has a great page on yogurt. It includes:
10 Reasons Yogurt is a Top Health Food
How to Buy the Healthiest Yogurt: 5 Tips
5 Ways to Use Yogurt as a Nutritious Substitute
6 Health Benefits of Lactobacteria


I'm tempted to quote at length, but there's too much to excerpt. Go there and read for yourself. For those who are too impatient, here's the skinny: low-sugar is better than high sugar; low-fat is better than high fat; high calcium is better than low calcium; fewer additives are better than more additives. Find the balance of these that tastes best for you, and then enjoy regularly. It'll do all those with lactose intolerance good.

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