People are bombarded by numerous advertisements saying that yoghurts with probiotics (DANONE Activia, in particular) can help people regulate their digestive systems. People all over the world recognize the yellow arrow which stands for proper digestion in women who consume Activia every day. Admittedly, many people believe the advertisement where scientific evidence is claimed. Thus, according to advertisement, there is clinical evidence that Activia improves digestion in two weeks. However, according to F.T.C. (Federal Trade Commission), “DANONE exaggerated its science about the yoghurt’s effect” as the company’s studies found that “Activia helped no more than a placebo” (Singer n.p.). More so, the company’s advertisements do not mention that regular consumption of any yoghurt improves digestion in people. Therefore, it is important to obtain scientific evidence on effectiveness of Activia DANONE as well as other probiotic yoghurts.
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In the first place, it is necessary to note that Activia is claimed to be effective due to the great number of probiotics which are regarded as important bacteria for preventing gastrointestinal diseases. It has been acknowledged that probiotics have beneficial effects on human health. There are numerous applications, but the “best-documented” treatment is the prevention of “acute infectious diarrhea” (Sarowska et al. 764). At the same time, researchers note that the use of these bacteria should be properly controlled (in terms of dosage) as probiotic bacteria in uncontrolled amounts can cause digestive infections (Sarowska et al. 764). Furthermore, it is often claimed that probiotics positively affect development of immune system of people. For instance, it is reported that consumption of yoghurts containing probiotics positively affected immune function in people with HIV (Hemsworth, Hekmat and Reid 2).
According to this research, people who consumed yoghurt containing probiotics felt more energetic and capable of function more effectively (Hemsworth, Hekmat and Reid 2). However, it is noteworthy that only twenty-five participants took part in the research. Admittedly, this number of subjects cannot be satisfactory to make any conclusions and, hence, further research is needed in this sphere. Apart from this, it is clear that only some probiotics shorten diarrhea duration; evidence on effectiveness of probiotics with genito-urinary or respiratory infections is “inconsistent” and evidence for “a reduction of allergic rhinitis and asthma” is “shaky or absent” (Katan 87). Admittedly, effectiveness of probiotics is far from being proven and the impact of these bacteria on people’s health is yet to be researched. Clearly, the claims that Activia DANONE positively affects digestive as well as immune systems due to probiotic bacteria it contains are highly overestimated as there is no satisfactory scientific evidence supporting the assumption that probiotics have such a positive effect on people’s health.
As has been mentioned above, yoghurts are believed to be useful for human health, which is proven by scientific research and experience of generations. Dairy products such as yoghurt or kefir and cheese should be included in an individual’s diet (lactose intolerant people are an exclusion, of course). However, there is evidence that Activia DANONE is not one of the best options. For example, four-pack Activia contains such ingredients as water and milk protein concentrate which cannot be added to yoghurt (Bunting 9). It follows that this product can hardly be called yoghurt due to the inclusion of those ingredients. Apart from these concerns, people often question healthiness of the product which is often regarded as a dessert substitute. Hasemann compares different yoghurts in terms of content of fat, protein and other nutrients (40). It is clear that DANONE yoghurts contain significant amount of sugar which cannot be regarded as healthy products (Hasemann 40). Therefore, consumption of these yoghurts can have negative effects due to the high contents of sugar.
In conclusion, it is necessary to note that Activia DANONE’s advertisements contain a lot of exaggeration when it comes to health benefits of the product. Effectiveness of probiotics is yet to be researched and proven. More so, appropriate dosage of probiotics also has to be developed as it is clear that uncontrolled consumption of these bacteria can harm human health. Furthermore, Activia DANONE (with some exceptions) contains too much sugar and some other ingredients which make it doubtful whether the product can be regarded as yoghurt. It is clear that people have to know the whole truth about the product, but instead they get exaggerations and even incomplete information. Admittedly, people can benefit from consumption of yoghurt on regular basis. However, Activia DANONE cannot be recommended as a good option as there are too many questions concerning its effectiveness. It is also important to introduce certain regulations aimed at providing consumers with truthful and complete information. Companies cannot claim their products have certain effects until they conduct proper research. Clearly, it is better to refer to different resources, other than the company’s clinical research. Of course, it is also important to make people start thinking critically about products without relying on advertising campaigns. Nonetheless, people should also be responsible for their own choices and stop blaming companies for trying to deceive them.
Bunting, John. “Many “Yoghurt” Products Sold in U.S. Contain Illegal Ingredients.” The Milkweed Apr. 2011: 8-10. Print.
Hasemann, Angie. “Yoghurt: Nutritious Food or Sugary Treat?” Practical Gastroenterology 126 (2014): 37-46. Print.
Hemsworth, Jaimie Caitlin, Sharareh Hekmat, and Gregor Reid. “Micronutrient Supplemented Probiotic Yoghurt for HIV-Infected Adults Taking HAART in London, Canada.” Gut Microbes 3.5 (2012): 1-6. Print.
Katan, Martijn B. “Why the European Food Safety Authority Was Right to Reject Health Claims for Probiotics.” Beneficial Microbes 3.2 (2012): 85-89. Print.
Sarowska, Jolanta, Irena Choroszy-Król, Bożena Regulska-Ilow, Magdalena Frej-Mądrzak, and Agnieszka Jama-Kmiecik. “The Therapeutic Effect of Probiotic Bacteria on Gastrointestinal Diseases.” Advances in Clinical and Experimental Medicine 22.5 (2013): 759-766. Print.
Singer, Natasha. “Foods With Benefits, or So They Say.” The New York Times 2011. Web.