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So you've chosen to start eating healthier. You're eating more vegetables, you're cutting out excessive carbohydrates and sugar, you're even eating more yogurt, because the commercials say it's good for you and keeps you regular. 

Congratulations! You're doing ALMOST everything right. 

First of all, let's address the commercial claims, primarily the one made by Activia yogurts: The Activia commercials say that eating their yogurt will help you stay regular. Did you know that they recently were ordered to pay a 21 MILLION-dollar fine for saying that? See what Bruce Horovitz of USA Today reported:

"Yogurt is a $4.2 billion-plus business in the USA, with sales up 8% over the past year, says researcher SymphonyIRI Group. The two Dannon products cited by the FTC both contain beneficial bacteria known as probiotics. But, Nestle says, "Yogurt is just food. It's not a miracle. No food is a superfood."

The government says Dannon will stop claiming that one daily serving of Activia yogurt relieves irregularity and that DanActive helps people avoid catching colds.

"These types of misleading claims are enough to give consumers indigestion," FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz says. 'Companies like Dannon shouldn't exaggerate the strength of scientific support.' "
(http://www.usatoday.com/money/industries/food/2010-12-15-dannon-misleading-claims-activa-danactive_N.htm


Granted, their claim is made in good faith, because it IS true that probiotics will improve the health of your intestines, thereby improving digestion. But the other ingredients contained in their Strawberry Light yogurt, for example, are highly disturbing:

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Cultured Grade A Non Fat Milk, Strawberries, Water, Modified Food Starch Fructose, Inulin, Contains Less than 1% of Acacia Gum, Modified Corn Starch, Natural Flavor, Kosher Gelatin, Carmine (for Color), Carrageenan, Sodium Citrate, Aspartame, Xanthan Gum, Malic Acid, Acesulfame Potassium, Sucralose.  

Let's take the first one: 


Modified Corn Starch: 

   What is it? Jeanne Sager at The Stir informs us: "Modified corn starch is a food additive which is created by treating starch, causing the starch to be partially degraded. Modified corn starch can be used as a stabilizer, thickening agent, or an emulsifier. 
   There does not appear to be any research indicating that modified corn starch is dangerous to our health. However, processed foods, which may be high in sodium, fat, or sugar, often contain modified starches. Consuming too much processed food may be detrimental to health (due to increased intake of sodium, empty calories from sugar, saturated fat, etc). 
   A food that is natural (from nature- like whole fruits and vegetables) won't have any additives. So these of course are always are BEST choice. However, if you look at even more natural yogurts, like a Greek yogurt, you will notice less additives (no modified starch, no HFCS, etc) making it an even more natural, healthier choice."

(http://thestir.cafemom.com/healthy_living/100756/Is_Modified_Corn_Starch_Bad)

   Bottom line on Modified Corn Starch: it's not necessary, and while it's not technically unhealthy, it's an inferior ingredient.


Aspartame and Sucralose (better known as Splenda):

   What are they? They are man-made sugar substitutes, chemical in nature, and they are, in a nutshell, the reason most people are sick today. 

   Side effects of aspartame intake include a variety of cancers, brain disorders, DNA damage, and emotional, mental and neuro-developmental disorders, as well as ADD, migraines and liver damage.

   Is all of that really worth cutting calories?


   Sucralose is another chemical demon, claiming to be derived from sugar. Yeah, sure it is. Its chemical makeup is this: 

   "Sucralose/Splenda is produced through artificially substituting three hydroxyl groups (hydrogen + oxygen) with three chlorine atoms in the sugar (sucrose) molecule. Natural sugar is a hydrocarbon built around 12 carbon atoms. When transformed into Splenda it becomes a chlorocarbon, in the same family as deadly pesticides like DDT, insecticides, biocides, disinfectants like Chlorox Bleach, and WWI poison gas like dichlorourea." - (http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/bitter-truth-about-splenda

   Are you worried yet? Do you want to hear the adverse reactions?


   Here's a list: enlarged liver and kidneys, bowel inflammation, migraines, abnormal changes in spleen and thymus gland, DNA damage, colitis, Chron's Disease, and adverse changes in gastrointestinal bacteria. 


   Adverse changes in gastrointestinal bacteria. What is a product like Splenda doing in a product like Activia yogurt, which claims to IMPROVE gut health????


Now look at the photo to the right. This is a photo of the back of a container of Yoplait's Light Cherry-flavored Yogurt. The ingredients that should pop out at you are HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP, ASPARTAME, RED #40, and BLUE #1. 

We have all been informed, or should have been by now, of the evil of high fructose corn syrup. (If you would like some medical studies on the results of the intake of HFCS, google the words "greenmedinfo" and "high fructose corn syrup".) But what is it doing in a LIGHT yogurt? And again with the aspartame...

Lastly, you have the food dyes. Red food dye, in particular, is a well documented contributor to ADD and ADHD symptoms. It's no wonder that most foods advertised to children contain food dye! And most of these kids are on ADHD medication! Why don't we try taking food dye out of their diets and see what happens??

The point here is READ YOUR LABELS. Just because it says "light" on the label, doesn't mean it's good for you. In this case, the best option is a plain organic yogurt with your own fresh fruit added. Add a little honey if you like. I enjoy Stonyfield Farms' line of yogurts, but find what is available to you locally and EAT SMART. You may just get healthy yet!



 


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