Q: Are the new yogurts and cheeses with "healthy" bacteria good for you,or are they just gimmicks?
A: Proponents and makers of these "probiotic" foods claim the added microbes in them can strengthen your immune system,regulate digestion,fight yeast infections and do many other marvelous things.They're healthy foods,but aside from a few small studies,there's not a lot of clinical evidence that the extra bacteria really give you that kind of boost.
Q: If the claims aren't proven,why are they on labels?
A: That's a question for the Food and Drug Administration.Actually,one manufacturer is currently facing a class action suit for saying some of its yogurts offered extra health benefits.The outcome of that lawsuit could very well change the way probiotic foods are advertised.All that said,I still think yogurt is a great food.
Q: So should I keep eating it anyway?
A: Yes.Yogurt is healthy for so many reasons--it's high in protein and calcium,and some large studies have suggested that dairy products may even lower your risk of diabetes.It's best to choose a low-fat,low-sugar yogurt to keep it low in calories.My favorites are peach or raspberry--throw in some berries,sliced bananas or granola and it's even better.