Yogurt has long been a part of most people's diets in India, Asia, North Africa and Eastern Europe. In India, it's made from buffalo milk. It's now sometimes served with cucumbers, cilantro and other spices as a side dish known as raita. The cool ingredients soothe the tongue after a spicy bite. Plain yogurt in India is dahi, Turkey's is jugurt or eyran and in Greece it's tiaourti. You may have had an opportunity to try tzatziki, which contains cucumbers as well.
It wasn't until the early 20th century that Ukrainian immunologist Dr. Ilya Mechnikov determined that the acidic bacteria in fermented milks might be beneficial. He even connected yogurt to the longevity of Bulgarian peasants. In 1922, Danone began producing yogurt commercially in Europe. Sweden still consumes more than five times the amount that Americans do, which, in 2007, was 11.5 pounds (5.2 kilograms) per person per year [source: Agricultural Marketing Resource Center].
Mechnikov had a great sales pitch, and advertisers in the United States and Europe continue delivering his message: Yogurt is a health food. Yoplait's portable kids' snack, Go-Gurt, is touted as wholesome, even though a lot of the calories in it come from sugar.
Marketing efforts have convinced us that even the sweetest-tasting yogurts aren't so bad. The frozen varieties are an alternative to ice cream. Don't be fooled, though -- only some of the milk in frozen yogurt has been fermented. It's usually 4 to 1, ice milk to yogurt, and that yogurt might have been made with whole-fat milk or even cream. With only one part yogurt, probiotics are often not plentiful in regular frozen yogurt. Recently, though, there has been a surge of frozen yogurt shops, including Red Mango, Yogen Früz and Berry Chill, who all market the probiotics within their products and don't use ice milk.
Misleading advertising campaigns have gotten some companies into trouble, as regulation pertaining to "probiotics" is lacking. In 2008, a class-action lawsuit was filed against Dannon for false claims of DanActive and Activia's benefits to the digestive and immune system. As a result, Dannon amended labels and offered rebates.
More Great Links
- Chandan, Ramesh C. (ed.). "Manufacturing Yogurt and Fermented Milks." Ames, Iowa: Blackwell. 2006.
- English, Jim, and Dean, Ward. "Lactobacillus GG: New Breakthrough Probiotic Clinically Proven to Support Gastrointestinal Health." Nutrition Review. (Feb. 22, 2012) http://www.nutritionreview.org/library/lgg.php.
- Fundukian, Laurie J. (ed.) "Lactobacillus Species." The Gale Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine. Vol. 3. 3rd ed. Detroit: Gale, 2009. 1304-1307.
- Fundukian, Laurie J. (ed.) "Probiotics." The Gale Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine. Vol. 3. 3rd ed. Detroit: Gale, 2009. 1818-1822..
- Hattner, Jo Ann Tatum, and Anderes, Susan. "Gut Insight: Probiotics & Prebiotics for Digestive Health and Well-Being." ICAN: Infant, Child & Adolescent Nutrition. Vol. 1, No. 6. 2009. (Feb. 22, 2012) http://www.gutinsight.com
- Hui, Yiu H. "Handbook of food science, technology, and engineering." Boca Raton, Fla.: Taylor & Francis. 2006.
- Hultcrantz, Rolf, and Atherton, John. "Advancing the Science and Practice of Gastroenerology." American Gastroenterological Association. (AGA) (Feb. 22, 2012) http://www.gastro.org/mobiletools/news-item/883
- Hulu. "Jeffrey Donovan on Yogurt and Jiu Jitsu." (Feb. 22, 2012) http://www.hulu.com/watch/59977/burn-notice-jeffrey-donovan---on-yogurt-and-jiu-jitsu
- Lactic Skin Care. "Lactic Acid Resource Center." (Feb. 22, 2012) http://www.lacticskincare.org/
- McGee, Harold. "On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen." New York: Scribner, 2004.
- National Academies Press. "Panel on Dietary Reference Intakes for Macronutrients." (Feb. 22, 2012) www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=10490&page=R5
- National Dairy Council. "Dairy and Weight Management: A Look at the Science." (Feb. 22, 2012) http://www.nationaldairycouncil.org/SiteCollectionDocuments/health_wellness/healthy_weight/DairyWeightSept2007.pdf
- National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases "National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse." (Feb. 12, 2012) http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/statistics/statistics.htm
- National Institutes of Health. "Yogurt." (Feb. 22, 2012) http://www.ors.od.nih.gov/pes/dats/food/balance/Documents/yogurt.pdf
- National Yogurt Association. "AboutYogurt.com" (Feb. 22, 2012) http://www.aboutyogurt.com Nestle, Marion. "What to Eat." New York: North Point Press. 2006.
- Romanowski, Perry. "Yogurt." How Products Are Made: An Illustrated Guide to Product Manufacturing. Vol. 4 pp. 474-478. Jacqueline L. Longe, ed. Detroit: Gale, 1999.
- Sanders, Mary Ellen. Usprobiotics.org.(Feb. 22, 2012) http://www.usprobiotics.org.
- Schultz, Madeline. "Dairy Products Profile." Agricultural Marketing Resource Center. (Feb. 22, 2012) http://www.agmrc.org/commodities__products/livestock/dairy/dairy_products_profile.cfm
- Stonyfield. "How We Make Our Yogurt." (Feb. 22, 2012) http://www.stonyfield.com/videos/yotube/hear-more-stories-about-stonyfield/how-we-make-our-yogurt
- Talwalkar, A., and Kailasapathy, K. " A Review ofOxygen Toxicity in Probiotic Yogurts: Influence on theSurvival of Probiotic Bacteriaand ProtectiveTechniques." Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety. Vol. 3, Issue 3. pp. 117-124. 2003.
- USLaw.com. "The Dannon Company, Inc. Lawsuit." (Feb. 22, 2012) http://www.uslaw.com/lawsuits/The+Dannon+Company,+Inc.?itemid=144
- Wallace, Beth. "Clinical Use of Probiotics in the Pediatric Population." Nutrition in Clinical Practice. Vol. 24, No. 1. pp. 50-59. February/March 2009. (Feb. 23, 2012) http://ncp.sagepub.com/content/24/1/50.full.pdf
- Wolke, Robert L. with recipes by Marlene Parrish. "What Einstein Told His Cook 2: The Sequel: Further Adventures in Kitchen Science." New York: W.W. Norton. 2005.
- World Health Organization (WHO)." Health and Nutritional Properties of Probiotics inFood including Powder Milk with Live LacticAcid Bacteria " 2001. (Feb. 22, 2012) http://www.who.int/foodsafety/publications/fs_management/probiotics/en/index.html