A class action lawsuit filed this week in California claims that Dannon has mislead all of us by claiming that its yogurt Acitiva helps regulate the digestive system. Perhaps I’ve missed something. Bifidobacterium regularis, the bug found in Activia, has been proven to exert a number of dramatic effects on the intestinal tract including improved transit time (makes things move better) as well as protection of the gut from colonization by harmful bacteria. For a great (but technical) review of what B. regularis can do, check out this recent review.
It’s important to understand that different yogurts contain different bugs that do different things. Each is unique in its effect on the body. While food manufacturers are prohibited from making specific health claims on their labeling (that would make them drugs), it would seem that from a pediatrician’s perspective, Dannon has been sufficiently neutral in their claims. Too bad it's come to this.
Lawyers aside, talk to your pediatrician and ask about the use of real yogurt in you child beginning late in her first year of life. Beyond Dannon's Activia, I like Stoneyfield Farms and their pet, Lactobacillus reuteri. If you recall, this is the same critter used in last year's screaming baby study. It's a small world.