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Activia Yogurt Is A Bunch Of Hype


In my opinion Activia is probably one of the worst fake healthy foods available on the market. Every single time I see Jamie Lee Curtis shilling this stuff on TV I want to throw a shoe at her. I guess her residuals from Halloween aren’t coming in like they used to so she had to resort to this. The worst part is that Activia knows that what they are promoting isn’t healthy, that the claims that it makes when it comes to helping solve your digestion issues are unsubstantiated. In fact they are so confident that they are lying that they settled out of court a few years ago when they were sued concerning the false claims that they were making about their products. Would you honestly want to buy a product from a company that is this shady?

There are now a wide range of Activia products so I am just going to concentrate on their regular strawberry and their light strawberry varieties. Let’s look at the regular kind first.

The first things that stand out when looking at the ingredients is sugar and fructose. One type of sugar wasn’t good enough so they decided two would be better! That really is an awful lot of sugar for something that is supposed to be healthy and good for you, especially when it is third and fourth on the ingredients list. Is it just me or is there a whole lot of ingredients in it? Yogurt does not that many binders! Also, there is carmine in it, which is a coloring derived from the boiled wings of an insect. It may be a natural way to get a color but if you are a vegetarian that would be something to avoid I would think. The only thing I will give them credit for is that they use real strawberries, however they have added ‘natural flavors’ which kind of messes the whole idea of using real fruit up. Lastly, I want to talk about their patented ingredient, the one they brag about helping your digestive system; bifidus regularis. They claim that this pro-biotic culture helps regulate your digestive system, but this fact is not proven! They are selling this product almost entirely based upon one ingredient that scientifically isn’t proven to help your digestive system. Shame on them! Never mind the fact that for it to supposedly work you have to eat it three times a day for two weeks. Funny, they don’t mention that on their website. Also, some people report getting very bad stomach aches from it, making their digestive systems even worse than they were before they started eating it. This product sure sounds like it’s healthy, doesn’t it?

Their light version of the same product has pretty much the same ingredients. Our friend fructose is there again, but this time he is joined by aspartame AND sucralose. That’s right, not only is their sugar, there are also TWO types of artificial sweeteners! Artificial sweeteners are known to cause a lot of people to have stomach issues, so why would it be in a  product that claims to help balance your digestive system? It makes no sense to me why people would eat this thinking that there stomach issues will get better by doing so.

The fact that there are so many different Activia products around now just proves the fact that the American public do not read labels or do simple research into the claims of the products that they consume.  If people ate more healthy they wouldn’t even need to try eating products such as this that claim to help them digest food better.

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21 responses »

  1. Wow! nice huh? You say you wonder why people don’t check the labels. I feel I am an average consumer… I would think (or like to think) that someone along this manufacturing /marketing chain would have done this for me, and the claims they make could be trusted! I suppose the bottom line is not actually the consumers health at all, but their bank accounts and bonus checks. SAD!

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  2. Have you ever tried making your own yogurt or kefir? My goal is to figure out how since if you make it yourself, you’ll at least know what’s in it. I’m suspect of how much yogurt culture there really is in supermarket yogurt, since with home made yogurt, all you have to do to make more yogurt is add milk to the existing yogurt, because it has lots of yogurt culture. I doubt you can do that with supermarket yogurt.

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    • I have used yogurt from the market to make homemade yogurt. I used a locally available plain yogurt from “Stoneyfield” but I think that most will work. I posted the process on my site: http://www.observationsblog.com/4/category/yogurt/1.html. But, you raise a good point about the viability of active cultures when we make yogurt. I am researching detecting methods and will post as I discover and find a test method. Ken

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      • Hi you two, great question on how to test for live n’ kickin cultures of lactose-fermenting bacteria. In the lab we use a special growth plate called MacConkey-agar. It is essentially a lactose-rich growth media that turns from yellow to pink if lactic-acid is produced by the bacteria you plate, lactic-acid is the by product of lactose fermentation and the stuff that turns milk into all sorts of dairy products, including yogurt. (side note, no “real” yogurt should have any more than trace amounts of lactose sugar in it, making it a naturally lactose-free product, but that’s an aside).

        Anyhow, a good test you can do in the kitchen is to simply go to your local kitchen supply or hardware store and buy a thing of pH paper, it’s a little plastic tape-dispenser-like thing with thin orange paper inside. Dip it into your yogurt, or better yet the whey that settles on top, and look for an orange-yellow color to appear. If the color is orange-yellow, the yogurt is acidic, and you can assume there are live cultures present that are producing lactic-acid. If the color is a bright yellow or light green, the yogurt is just milk that has been thickened with bacteria added after the fact.

        And Ken, thank you for supporting the New Hampshire local Stoneyfield Farm (I’m from NH). Though they’re 85% owned by Dannon (grr), they’re holding true to their organic/local values.

        Hope this helps guys!

      • Thanks for the information and I have used pH paper to test for lactic acid but as to when fermentation is in progress has been a problem. But, you are right that the presence of lactic acid is a good qualitative measure. I have been able to culture acidophilus from starter in regular agar at 37 C for 7 days. But again, it is qualitative and I was hoping to isolate the different bacteria. This seems beyond my kitchen chemistry ability. I also did not know that Dannon owns so much of Stonyfield. I have not been to the Londonderry facility in quite a while. Grr is right! Thanks for the great comments. Ken.

      • Hey there Ken,

        If you’re using agar…then you’ve reached an achievement of household Microbiologist! If you can get your hands on some MacConkey agar, such as here (http://www.amazon.com/MacConkey-Agar-Plate-10-pack/dp/B0017U7X0M) for $10…you’ll be in business.

        As a simple experiment, I would suggest growing up your stock culture on regular agar until you have a healthy plate (about 24-36hrs at 40 degrees Fahrenheit should do it), then plating on ONE MacConkey plate with what we call a quadrant streak method. This method uses a sterilized applicator (take the tip of a pen with the ink removed, hold it in a flame for ~5 seconds), and then touch it to the MacConkey agar, quickly dip it softly into the bacteria on your regular agar plate (TSA, right?), and then streak it across 1 quarter of the plate, flame the tip, touch it to the end of the quadrant and grab some bacteria and streak again to the other 1/4 quadrant, repeat until all 4 are done. This sounds complicated, I’ll post a link.

        Anyway, what you’re doing is isolating 1 single colony of bacteria. This is VERY useful for getting the different bacteria from yogurt isolated from their blend. We use this technique to isolate 1 species of bacteria from soil samples which contain 1000′s of species. If you want to pull out the different species within a yogurt, you can do this method with the raw yogurt from the store. Just make sure it remains at fridge-temp, otherwise the bacteria will become highly active in the 40-50 degree range and one strain will surely out-compete the others and you’ll be left with nothing but that (this can happen in a matter of hours).

        Plate the yogurt with the quadrant streak method, grow it up for 1-2 days at somewhere between 40-50 degrees in a dark environment. See how many strains of bacteria are supposed to be in the yogurt, grab that many MacConkey plates. Pick out the individual looking colonies and put them on separate plates using the same method. Repeat this 1-2 more times to purify the strain, and you have isolated your bacteria! Although, some lactose fermenting bacteria can plate in a slimy, liquid state, and they’re a pain in the ass to isolate from others because they run all over the place. And a side note, ALWAYS grow your bacteria with the agar facing UP…that allows the moisture to drip to the cover and not flood the surface of the agar, which allows the bacteria to just slide around and make a mess of things.

        From there, you can do as you want with the guys. Inoculate them into separate milk containers to see which is the faster fermenter, make your own yogurt, hell make your own cheddar cheese.

        And the Londonderry farm is still the same as it was, it’s a giant tourist attraction, so it’s remained unchanged. Did you notice that Dannon and Stoneyfield both marketed their yogurts as “Oikos”, then Dannon stuck with it and Stoneyfield changed? They also have a “Stoneyfield Organic Activia” yogurt for a bit, yeah…that didn’t last long. :)

        Here’s the quadrant steak method: Try really hard not the puncture the agar, if you can buy a platinum inoculum loop, go for it…but they’re expensive and you don’t really need one.

  3. Murat Tanyel

    Please correct “not only is their sugar” to “not only is there sugar” and “that there stomach issues will get better” to “that their stomach issues will get better”.

    Reply
  4. I read an article somewhere before that was on this same theme, about Activia NOT being a health food, and while I was searching for it to send the link to someone, I came across this post. I make kefir from raw milk every day and drink it (I am drinking it right now, in fact, YUM!), and I try to throw out the benefits of kefir over commercial yogurt to people, but they don’t seem to listen… “I eat yogurt every day, so I am fine” yeah, right. Kefir made from raw milk (A2 strain of cows, like jersey or guernsey), is THE BEST. I used to make homemade yogurt but it really got to be too time consuming, and kefir is totally the best way to go. So easy to make, and delicious to drink!

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  5. But what about the lesser of two evils? What about a diabetic looking for a carb-appropriate snack, wouldn’t you think an Activia light to be a more appropriate snack, especially when carb counting?

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    • I would highly suggest buying an organic plain yogurt with fat intact (0% fat is a pretty useless food item in the dairy world), and adding a diabetic appropriate topping to it. Fresh berries, a small amount of honey or maple syrup, whatever you enjoy that fits your diet needs. Buying a product that claims to be diabetic/carb friendly but really cuts corners to obtain the sweetness by using artificial sweeteners and thickening agents will be more harmfull to you in the long run. Dannon’s “Light & Fit Yogurt” line is a great example of this. Looks good…until you read the ingredients.

      I hope this helps!

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    • The carb counting wouldn’t matter anyway…. such sugar and cram that’s in there i wouldn’t give it to anyone diabetic

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  6. No…..a diabetic? This stuff is full of fructose, sugar….the light version has toxic aspartame in it!! Wake up, people, this is NOT a good product…not for a healthy person nor for a diabetic. Buy organic Greek yogurt. It’s really the best option. Regular milk has hormones and antibiotics in it. If you can’t buy organic, at least look for a product without 19-24 g of sugar. This is so unhealthy!

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  7. Laura Ruthemeyer

    Sam, 22g of carbs is not good (Rule of thumb for ‘smart’ carb control: Carb – fiber = >13 – and there is no fiber in yogurt).. add to John’s point about the sugars involved.. yikes!
    My sister and I are on a fact finding hunt when my mom’s IBS got WORSE after regular consumption of Activa.
    I am Lactose intolerant, so no yogurt for me. But glad this post exists!!

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  8. Hmmm…I’ve been eating Activia every day for a year now and it’s worked wonders for me, I no longer have the stomach and digestive problems that I’ve suffered from for most of my life. regular yogurts never helped and neither did just taking probiotic supplements for some reason, so I don’t know what else is in Activia but it works well for me.

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  9. I had digestive problems for years and was really suffering. I tried probiotics, yogurts, anitbiotics. Nothing gave me good results until I tried activia. I was amazed at the results. Worked for me for two years. Now I find that self fermented sauerkraut works even better.

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  10. One further note. I am lactose intolerant but if I consume activia with my dairy product I don’t have a problem.

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  11. There is always something. If it worked and tasted like crap you would complain that it should have a better taste. I have IBS and I have been on it for almost a year and all my symptoms have gone away, I tried to come off it at the beginning of November and ended up in a pricey restaurant on Thanksgiving with my husband, kids, and family terrified to eat because I would be in the bathroom, sure enough I came home and had a cookie and was in the bathroom before I finished it. It works for me so I will continue to buy it.

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  12. Just to let you know it’s the Iodine in the product that is making the yogurt work. People think that it is the yogurt it self but whatever is in the yogurt that is making the iodine is what is making the product work. Americans are not getting sufficient iodine each day. You can get too much iodine and it’s not good.

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  13. The “author” of this article is obviously someone who doesn’t like Jamie Lee Curtis. I mean after all she feels like throwing a shoe at her, every time she sees her. LOL! Grow up!

    Reply
  14. I am so glad that you are letting people know about the crazy stuff they are eating.

    Reply

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