Here are all of the answers to your questions!
What does probiotic mean anyway?
The word “probiotic” translates directly to “for life”. The probiotics which are said to be in yogurts are the same healthy living bacteria which we all have in our intestinal tracts. Though almost all yogurts have probiotic cultures, some have a very low amount and cause little to no health benefits. The new probiotics which have been developed and advertised to be in current yogurt products are said to live longer while in the body’s digestive system and as a result cause greater health benefits.
Why should I choose probiotic yogurt?
The probiotic cultures in yogurt are said to have many valuable health benefits such as regulating bowel movements and curing diarrhea. They have also been shown to alleviate inflammation and help to diminish the signs of eczema. Probiotic yogurt has also been shown in many studies to decrease the number of attacks suffered by asthma patients.
Why is probiotic yogurt so popular now?
The reason behind the sudden popularity of probiotics is not known for sure. But many scientists and dietary specialists agree that dairy producers and yogurt companies had to try for some time to discover a probiotic which was strong enough to survive the digestive systems. Most types of bacteria cultures do not and therefore have very little effect on the body. Once they discovered a strong and consistent probiotic, many yogurt companies began to advertise the additional benefits which their yogurt may contain.
Are the health benefits of probiotic yogurt proven? Or just hype?
There have been many studies surrounding probiotic yoghurt, but many were to simply test the strength of the bacteria itself. The studies which have been completed to discover health benefits are actually few and far between. Though it is proven that probiotics have some health benefits, most results are not conclusive and may be different from person to person.
If I have to choose, should I purchase probiotic yogurt or low fat yogurt?
The ideal choice would be to choose a yogurt which fits both criteria. Yogurt is a great way to introduce dairy into your daily diet, especially for those who are not regular milk drinkers. It can also be a great sweet snack alternative and should always be chosen over other high-fat high-sugar treats such as ice-cream. Finding a yogurt which is low in fat is always a good idea, and if there happens to be the added benefits of probiotics then that is even better. But as a healthy shopper, it is always better to find a low-fat, low-sugar alternative and skip on the probiotics.