The truth is, in our shitty (pun intended) situation, we may be being taken advantage of. The topic of probiotics and gut health is gaining traction. So much so that large corporations are ready to take their slice of the pie and they are doing it in a not so gut friendly way.
The term probiotic has been associated with a warm and fuzzy feeling of relief from being glued to a toilet, bloated and farting your way through a dinner date. If someone has tried a good quality probiotic, they may have experienced the benefits that come from sending in the good troops (*ahem* bacteria) to balance out of the bad guys! So when you go into a grocery store and see the plethora of products sold with "probiotics" one would think it would be a "healthy" thing to buy, right?
Well, not necessarily the case...
You see your body houses between 10-100 TRILLION bacteria, that's a lot of bacteria. The reality is most of these products contain (as advertised) anywhere from about 1 billion to unknown amounts of bacteria. That's not all though, they are also loaded with sugar (and some other not-so-fun ingredients), which FEEDS your bad bacteria (um isn't that the opposite of what we wanted to do?). Now I'm not talking about a little bit of sugar, I'm talking about 10-30 grams of sugar per serving in some of these products. To give you some perspective, it is thought that your average adult should consume around 25 grams of sugar per day.
So while you think you are loading up on good bacteria, the amount of sugar in these products often way out weighs the good that could come from the very small amount of probiotics.
Oh and don't be fooled by "no added sugar" on the label, that doesn't mean it is sugar free!
Here are a couple of examples:
Tropicana Essentials Probiotic Drink
1 billion bacteria
29 grams of sugar per 250 mls (um who only drinks 250 mls?)
Activia Peach Probiotic Drink
? "billions of bacteria" (should we take their word for it?)
26 grams of sugar per 7 fl ounces
Kellogg's Special K Nourish Probiotic Cereal
Bacteria amount: unknown
13 grams of sugar per 1 cup
This my friends is what we call healthwashing and while I sense your desperation to try anything that will alleviate your gas, bloating and angry bowel movements sticking to a good quality probiotic with fermented foods such as sauerkraut or kimchi is your best bet. Not sure how to pick a probiotic? Find out here.
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