Because of spam, I personally moderate all comments left on my blog. However, because of health issues, I will not be able to do so in the future.

If you have a personal question about LI or any related topic you can send me an email at I will try to respond.

Otherwise, this blog is now a legacy site, meaning that I am not updating it any longer. The basic information about LI is still sound. However, product information and weblinks may be out of date.

In addition, my old website, Planet Lactose, has been taken down because of the age of the information. Unfortunately, that means links to the site on this blog will no longer work.

For quick offline reference, you can purchase Planet Lactose: The Best of the Blog as an ebook on or Almost 100,000 words on LI, allergies, milk products, milk-free products, and the genetics of intolerance, along with large helpings of the weirdness that is the Net.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Frozen Yogurt - The More Bacteria the Better

Are germs driving us crazy? Apparently, yes. I walked into a nice diner in Greenwich, CT yesterday and the first thing I saw was a hand sanitizer set up at the doorway. I care more about the staff having clean hands. There's a tirade waiting to happen about the omnipresence of anti-bacterials creating a races of super-resistant bugs, but having caught a bug myself I'm too tired to summon up the energy.

Being the perverse sort that I am, my mind latched on to the counterexample, the times when more bacteria are better for you, not worse. That's the world of probiotics. Yogurt is the most famous and most familiar example. The "good" bacteria in yogurt are helpful in many ways. For those of us with lactose intolerance, their best feature is that they literally manufacture the enzyme lactase, and lactase is what digests lactose. That makes yogurt "auto-digesting," which means that it is better tolerated than almost any other dairy product.

The catch is a small one. The bacteria has to be in "live and active" colonies. Dead bacteria don't manufacture lactase. They don't hurt you any either. The bacteria begin to die off as soon as conditions are no longer optimal for them. By the time you eat any yogurt, there will be fewer good bacteria than in the beginning. No big deal.

One thing that leads to sub-optimal conditions is cold. That leads to an immediate and obvious question: can frozen yogurt still have live and active cultures? This question is huger than ever since the craze for frozen yogurt has moved from the trendiest portions of the coasts (see Yogurt is Hot Hot Hot from back in 2008) to every mall in America.

The answer to the big question is a qualified yes. Some cultures can survive the production process. Probably as importat, the newer, tarter frozen yogurt recipes depend on more of the lactose being converted to lactic acid. It's likely that most of what you try will be well tolerated.

Just for fun, I'm passing along an interesting chart I found on the Yogen Früz blog. I'm not showing it to endorse Yogen Früz. I've had it, and it's fine, but I have no idea how well it compares to the rest of the frozen yogurts in the world. Moreover, any chart issued by one company to tout its superiority is suspect. It may be perfectly accurate, but you shouldn't expect it to tell a full and objective story. All I want it to accomplish is to show to you that an independent testing agency, in this case Brazilian Proteste Consumers Association, can find cultures in frozen yogurt.

More is better for cultures. If you have any concerns, ask at the shop if they have the equivalent numbers available there or on their website. I'm just happy that a hot trend turns out to be something that we in the lactose community can enjoy, for a change.

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