As I was standing in line at the grocery store the other day, I noticed an older lady in front of me had an entire cart loaded with commercial yogurt. I immediately felt very empathetic as she obviously was placing high importance on store yogurt in her diet – perhaps to help some sort of chronic digestive issue.
What is really sad is that it is virtually certain that she was experiencing little to no benefit for her efforts.
This is because standard store yogurt including those squeezable yogurt tubes for kids are not the probiotic filled food that the television commercials and other advertising would lead you to believe.
The problem is that commercial yogurt is fermented for very short periods of time. This includes highly popular Greek yogurt alternatives. Is Greek yogurt better for you than regular? Not if the inoculation time for the probiotics to grow is insufficient!
The length of time for fermentation of commercial yogurt (both regular and Greek) is so short (one person in the dairy industry told me that it is an hour or even less) that thickening agents are sometimes even added to commercial yogurt to give it the look and feel of yogurt that has been fermented for much longer such as would happen with yogurt made on a small dairy farm or in your kitchen.
This is why Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride MD, author of Gut and Psychology Syndrome, recommends avoiding store yogurt and eating yogurt only that you’ve made yourself and fermented for a full 24 hours. This is to ensure that the majority of the lactose (milk sugar) is used up and sufficient strength of the probiotic cultures.
The Specific Carbohydrate (SCD) Diet also recommends yogurt that is cultured for a full 24 hours.
Of course, making yogurt at home yourself also permits the selection of high-quality milk and avoidance of all the additives and sugar added to most commercial store yogurt as well. Homemade kefir is even better with dozens more probiotic strains.
Yogurt fermented for 24 hours will most definitely assist your gut and help rebalance your digestive flora with the help of beneficial though transient cultures that good quality yogurt is loaded with.
It is also helpful to note that yogurt made with raw milk will be naturally more drinkable style like kefir than yogurt made with heated or pasteurized milk.
So if someone you know eats a lot of commercial yogurt brands and is doing this primarily to assist with their digestive health and to boost immune function, tip them off that they would be better off making it themselves or buying it from a small farm!
Commercial Yogurt Sweetened with GMO Sugar
Another problem with commercial yogurt is that it is usually sweetened with genetically modified (GMO) sweeteners. Many consumers know that corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup are GMO. However, even health-savvy shoppers typically don’t realize that even if the label on commercial yogurt says “sugar” instead of corn syrup, it is virtually certain that sugar is also from a GMO source. Only if the label says “cane sugar” or “organic sugar” does this guarantee that the sugar is GMO-free.
The best policy is to make yogurt yourself or buy it from a small farm that uses quality grass-fed milk.
If you must buy commercial for whatever reason, seek out a brand of 24 hour yogurt if at all possible (there are only a few that exist at this time).