Health & Wellness

Probiotic Yogourt Claims May Be Baloney

By Lola Augustine Brown


If like millions of Canadians you choose probiotic yogourt over other kinds in the hope that it’s doing wonders for what ails you, prepare to be disappointed: a new Canadian study published in the academic journal Nutrients has shown that many brands aren’t doing what they claim to.

Postdoctoral researcher Mary Scourboutakos cross-referenced studies on probiotics (many of which are funded by manufacturers of probiotic products) against food labels on 92 products on the shelves at Canadian supermarkets. What she found was that the claims made reflected benefits found when people consumed doses of probiotics far larger than those actually contained in the products.

Photo: iStock/juststock.

For a manufacturer to be able to state that a probiotic product is good for gut health, that product must contain one million units of probiotics, and that standard is indeed met by the products you’ll find in the store. But all those other claims about preventing colds or helping with symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome require larger doses. You’d have to eat 25 doses at a time (yes, that means 25 little plastic pots of yogourt) to get those types of proven-by-science benefits.

So, while your favourite probiotic yogourt is probably doing you some good, don’t believe the hype when it comes to all the claims that the manufacturers may be making. There are other sources of probiotics out there, such as kimchi and other fermented foods, and you could try increasing your intake of these to help get more probiotics into your system