Wednesday 14 October 2009

Gut Feelings

YAKULT First there was that dreadful Yakult advert [watch it here if you don't know the one I mean] - trying to persuade us that our digestive system talks like Arthur Smith. And now there is the news that Actimel ads aimed at children are to be banned.

Professor Jeremy Nicholson, head of surgery and cancer at Imperial College London, quoted on the BBC website said " there is some good evidence that these good actimel bacteria are beneficial to people with health problems, but there have been no wide, long-term studies on healthy people. These bugs have evolved with us and there's actually a gigantic number in the human body. To compete with the number of bacteria in your gut you'd need to have 50,000 pots [of Actimel] a day. There are 100 trillion bacteria in your gut, 1.5kg of them, so that's really quite substantial."


Am I alone in finding those little bottles so pointless? There isn't enough in them for a decent drink - and these studies imply they don't have enough 'friendly' bacteria either. The only thing I can see in their favour is that they are useful for children's craft purposes.


And did you know that if something contains both prebiotics and probiotics, it is defined as 'synbiotic' ?

[that word probably wouldn't sound too good on the ads]


According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, "one might argue that synergism is attained in vivo by ingestion of lactobacilli on the one hand and promotion of indigenous bifidobacteria on the other hand." [well one might argue that, but I don't think I could!]

My beloved late father-in-law never ate any kind of yogurt, regarding it as 'milk which has gone off'! Not sure what he would make of this current wave of scientific gobbledegook.

dr shirota

And who was that 'Elsie Immunitas' woman that Danone used to go on about? Was she Dr Shirota's girlfriend?

Then there is the added confusion of the American pronunciation with YO to rhyme with GO. I was listening to someone the other day on TV, explaining about her lovely new Yogurt Mat - and thought it was perhaps some sort of special cloth for filtering the stuff, or maybe a special trivet for protecting the work surface. Eventually I realised she meant her YOGA mat!

miss muffet I have this mad urge to go all retro and buy some 'Miss Muffet Rennet' and make a junket at the weekend. Can you still buy MM Rennet anywhere? I used to make junket when the girls were tiny [but Bob didn't like it - following the family tradition of regarding it as 'milk which has gone off'!!]


  1. I have found probiotics have helped a condition I have....but the advertising is ridiculous, I agree :-)

  2. Angela...NO, not junket please. I can still see/smell it from schooldays when we had jelly and junket. Together.
    Oh yuk.

  3. I sort of liked the ad, with its frankness about the workings of our guts.I like the word "gut." I like any commercial with a voice over in a British accent. The product itself sounds vile. But you can't have everything, can you?



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