Another Swine Flu Winner: Yogurt?


Ever since a friend of mine – a teacher – told me about the ‘new studies’ proving that a certain brand of yogurt would help keep my kids swine flu-free this year, I have been hunting for the source of that information. The more I researched, the more irritated I got because I seemed to be on a wild probiotics chase.

The one thing that became clear: yogurt will probably sell VERY well this season. And that fancy yogurt, the one they make fun of SNL, the one that costs two or three times the regular stuff – it could fly off the shelves. The H1N1 panic will be fueling the sales.

What is Probiotic and Why Are We Paying More For It?

In short, yogurt contains ‘good’ bacteria. For years these have been referred to as ‘probiotics’. They are abundant in yogurt that contains ‘live and active cultures’.

Enter marketing. We love them.

A few years ago, yogurt makers started adding extra bacteria strains into the yogurt that already contained the probiotics and started labeling it probiotic. They have been pushing it as a digestive aid for several years now.  

Certain brands have differentiated their product based on this supposedly superior ingredient, but in my research I was unable to find anything to proove that one brand is better than any other.

  • I found a lot of anecdotal evidence, a lot of talk about what to call probiotic, and even some pretty convincing ads for yogurt makers, but I couldn’t find where the amount of probiotic in the yogurt is specified, or
  • if there is a doctor recommended specified amount of probiotics to ingest.
  • I didn’t find any studies that showed specifically that probiotics decreased the chance of getting the flu.

Nothing against yogurt, even pricey yogurt. I just would like someone to explain why one is so much better than the other. If you know of any authoritative sources, please share.

And if you own stock in any food companies that peddle yogurt, congratulations.

Image Credit: Aric Riley, Flickr