On Friday, Dannon Company announced it had settled a class action suit to the tune of $35 Million. The lawsuit was filed in early 2008, alleging that Dannon knowingly misled consumers in its marketing activities around its Activia yogurt line. The massive false advertising campaign convinced shoppers to pay 30% more for yogurt containing “probiotic” bacteria because of the products’ supposed health benefits.
While no nutritionist doubts the health benefit of yogurt, the question asked is what’s so special about Activia’s probiotics compared to other brands, and in and of themselves. Seems like a judge was going to provide the answer, but executives at Dannon decided to fog things up by dishing out millions of dollars AND not admitting to any wrongdoing.
In case you are wondering, here’s what you’ll find inside Activia Strawberry Yogurt.
What you need to know:
Here is the ingredient list: Cultured Grade A Reduced Fat Milk, Strawberry, Fructose Syrup, Sugar, Contains Less than 1% of Fructose, Whey Protein Concentrate, Corn Starch, Modified Corn Starch, Kosher Gelatin, Natural Flavor, Carmine (for Color), Sodium Citrate, Malic Acid.
You’ll notice the three distinct instances of added sugar, this on top of the sugar naturally present in the strawberries and the lactose (another sugar) naturally present in yogurt. The total sugar count is 17 grams per serving (just over 4 teaspoons). The three added sugars only account for one teaspoon though. This is actually not too bad, and much better than Yoplait Strawberry Yogurt that clocks in at 27 grams of sugar.
As nutritional powerhouses, strawberries provide good amounts of fiber and vitamin C, but in Activia the strawberries have none left. Too bad.
Regarding the probiotic Bifidus Regularis, there is no clinical proof that they are better at preventing disease or regulating digestion compared to other products’ friendly bacteria.
As non-plain yogurts go, Activia is a better choice compared to Yoplait, mostly due to the lower sugar count.
What to do at the supermarket:
You could do better than both Dannon and Yoplait. Buy plain yogurt, and if you can, choose a large bulk container.
With minimal effort you can upgrade the plain yogurt into a a truly healthy breakfast or snack:
1. toss in some diced seasonal fruit.
2. stir in a teaspoon of honey.
3. sprinkle flax seeds into the mix.
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