Is Eating Activia 3 times a day the best way to maintain intestinal health?
by N J Howell
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This is part of my series on sources of Hidden MSG. I could dedicate an entire website to this topic and still not cover everything that contains monosodium glutamate, hidden in other ingredients.
So, let's talk about Activia Yogurt ... First of all, I like Jamie Lee Curtis. Always have. She comes across is a funny, interesting, smart woman and I'd like to trust her. That's probably why I tried Activia, even though I knew the label screamed of unhealthy things including:
1. Modified Food Starch (usually a source of hidden msg or free glutamic acid)
2. An excitotoxin called Aspartame
3. A "natural" ingredient extracted from red seaweed thru use of a toxic alkali dye, called carrageenan, which creates the same kind of reactions as msg in what are called "sensitive individuals".
My Personal Experience with Activia: I tried Activia Yogurt on the recommendation of Jamie Lee Curtis, smiling from the tv. I tried it for the same reason most people tried it. I hoped it would help with constipation and irregularity. Because of the probiotics in Activia, I did have better bowel movements. However, along with that benefit came side effects including bloating, terrible gas, intestinal and stomach pain and a feeling of just being toxic over time. I stopped eating Activia Yogurt because the benefits did not outweigh the negative results.
I'm most concerned at the idea of feeding Activia Yogurt to children three times a day. If children are eating healthy, they should have healthy intestinal tracts to begin with and should not need probiotics three times a day unless your pediatrician suggests them for digestive complaints.
However, before jumping on the Activia bandwagon, I'd ask your pediatrician if you could do a dietary test ... rule out other foods they may also be regularly eating that contain carrageenan or msg, or free glutamic acid. I'll give you a hint to help figure this out ... if your kids regularly eat at fast food restaurants, like the one with Golden Arches, they are getting msg on a regular basis. For me, it would be worth cutting out msg and carageenan in their diet for a while, and seeing if the digestive complaints clear up before relying on probiotics at an early age.
I don't know if regular Activia Yogurt contains aspartame but the Lite versions do. Aspartame is not the only "natural sweetener" that affects me. In fact, both xylitol and sorbitol wreak more havoc in my body than even MSG.
So, Jamie Lee Curtis, I have to part ways with you on the Activia promotion. Probiotics are available in many other, more healthy ways than eating Activia Yogurt, at least in it's current form. Perhaps the makers of Activia will come around, as more and more people choose to spend their money on other brands of yogurt that do not contain excitotoxins, alcohol sugars or other "less than healthy" additives.
Health Care Disclaimer: This information not intended to replace your doctor's advice or care. If your doctor has suggested you eat Activia Yogurt, I'd suggest asking if it had to be Activia. Chances are you could switch to an organic yogurt without preservatives and your doctor would still be happy. Healthy options for improving intestinal health with probiotics include organic Kefir or organic yogurt (both will be made without msg or carageenan), probiotic pills or tablets, dark chocolate, dill pickles, kimchi or organic sauerkraut.