General Question

deepseas72's avatar

Is there really any difference between the expensive Activa yogurt and the less expensive yogurt brands?

Asked by deepseas72 (1042 points ) June 29th, 2008

Activa advertises themselves as having a special bacteria culture that promotes better digestion.

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16 Answers

Magnus's avatar

I honestly doubt it.

hearkat's avatar

I don’t know how it compares pricewise, because all I’ll eat is Stonyfield Farms… all natural, certified organic, no added sugars or colors, and certified gluten-free. They have multiple live cultures in their yogurts to benefit health.

They have great recipes and a lot of useful health and nutrition information on their website. I get their newsletters, which include updates from the farms that provide their milk (I even cried when one had an article about one of their cows who had died of old age). They also are active in environmental and social causes.

http://Stonyfield.com

syz's avatar

In the veterinary field, there is a product called Fortiflora that is supposed to correct an imbalance of GI flora that occurs during or after diarrhea. During a presentation by a company rep, he was unable to explain to me how these organisms survive the acidic environment of the stomach in order to colonize the intestines. So far, I don’t think it has been proven possible – it may even be that components of the bacteria somehow provide a more favorable balance in the gut. It may have some small effect, but I don’t think anything has been proven.

Shilolo may have access to some more pertinent research.

Zaku's avatar

I thought it was “Activia”, and my meager research and the opinions of various others was that it was 99% gimmick brand name nonsense.

As in, all active culture yogurt has something like that, and the only thing special about Activ[i]a is they added an annoying capitalized brand name and expensive packaging.

Placebo power.

shockvalue's avatar

marketing.

marinelife's avatar

Surprisingly, there just may be. While I think that for most people, any yogurt with live cultures is fine, there have been tests done that show that some of Dannon’s claims may at least be accurate, making their yogurt superior for someone with digestive issues. From Columbia University’s Health Services Web site:

” Dannon (of course) says yes. Their Activia yogurt contains Bifidus regularis, a probiotic strain trademarked by Dannon that is not in other yogurts, and they claim that this particular strain speeds wastes through the digestive system and improves immunity in the intestines more effectively than other strains.

Dannon says that their Bifidus regularis, “survives passage through the digestive tract, arriving in the colon as a living culture,” whereas other cultures can be destroyed by stomach acids and the natural process of digestion. The consumer reports lab has confirmed Dannon’s claim, reporting that about three million of the original three billion probiotic organisms in a four-ounce serving of Activia made it through the stomach to the colon.”

Zaku's avatar

Oh yeah, they trademarked the bacteria with an inane Latin name. Sigh. Ownership of species?

Nerac, a corporate product technology web site (which I find a bit eerie) writes:

“Activia is a probiotic yogurt that recently has been heavily advertised in the U.S., and sales of have soared well past the $100 million mark. It has been sold overseas since 1987. Groupe Danone (Dannon), the company manufacturing Activia, cites “Bifidus regularis” as key to its success. But if you look up “Bifidus regularis” in your Bergey’s Manual of Bacteriology, you will come up empty as it is actually the trademarked name of Bifidobacterium animalis strain DN 173 010, registered by Groupe Danone and used in Activia. The US commercials for Activia tout its effectiveness for people who are “bloated and irregular.” However, posts on message boards about Activia indicate that people who do not have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or constipation may not benefit from Activia.”

Here’s yet another site that goes on in great detail about it from a less positive perspective: http://www.bifidusanimalis.com/ It appears to be under corporate legal attack…

Lovelocke's avatar

@Zaku: Many companies have come up with similar “ingredients” in the past to make a quick buck on the guillible. Remember when Certs proudly proclaimed “With Retsyn”? Or when the Sega Genesis was released, they claimed it had “Blast Processing”? Crap terms… nothing was really new.

Zaku's avatar

True, and nice observation. I remember being annoyed by Retsyn, Limon, and not caring what Sega meant by Blast Processing. On the other hand, productizing and claiming ownership of types of living creature is a step up from those.

lily's avatar

I think that if you want probiotocs and good bacteria, why not cut out the middle man and just take the good stuff? There are dozens of options available in a natural foods store like Whole Foods (but also some crappy brands as well. walgreens for example). Jarrow brand is my fav – especially since i got the tasty chewable kind, but also other brands – rainbow light for one – are good as well. While you can take a probiotic supplement with food, its generally recommended that you take it with water 20 minutes before eating.

Especially when you’re eating something with sugar in it (like yogurt), trying to cram it all intogether may actually provide little benefit (atleast, as far as i know, sugar kills good bacteria which is why you should stay away from sweets if you have a yeast infection). In my opnion, there’s no point in spending money on something that you may not digest anyway.

MissAnthrope's avatar

I’m honestly unsure as to how acidophilus/probiotics should be taken, as some people say to take it before food, others say with food. I was researching this the other day for another question on here and found several websites that push me a bit over the line to the “take with food” camp.

I’m too tired to find the source, but a bacteriologist explained that food causes the pH in the stomach to rise, which then allows bacteria to survive the normally-acidic environment and pass on to the intestines.

Personally, I would go the yogurt route if I was just trying to maintain a healthy system, but I would go for a supplement if I was trying to attack a specific problem. Much easier and more straight-forward, and I can be certain of how much I’m ingesting.

As an aside, yeast feeds on sugar, so that’s a huge part of why sugar consumption should be reduced during a yeast infection.

ladycelestine's avatar

I haven’t done much research as far as the active yogurt/digestive health claims of Activia. However, a study released recently supported the claims of plant sterols lowering cholesterol levels. Danon’s Danacol was specifically cited. http://www.nutraingredients.com/Regulation/EFSA-issues-plant-stanol-sterol-health-claims-advice

philosopher's avatar

I eat Stony Fields Yogurt . It is organic and has Probiotics . Do not believe commercials .

philosopher's avatar

I eat Stony Fields Organic yogurt. I use it in fresh fruit smoothies. I think it is as good or better than the overly commercialized product.

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bumps_bb's avatar

I have had colitis for several years & have been taking a probiotic pill by mouth which I continue to do. I have recently added Dannon Activa Greek yogurt to my diet & find that my stools have improved dramatically!

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