What's Really in Your Food
THE CLAIM: "Probiotic cultures"
Probiotics — healthy bacteria that keep harmful bacteria at bay in your
digestive tract — have been linked in studies with improving gastrointestinal
health and boosting immunity. But the FDA hasn't set standards for probiotics,
so there's no way to know for sure that there's live, active bacteria in the
yogurt or other products you see labeled with that word — let alone enough
bacteria to offer these benefits.
Bottom line: Make sure you're getting live bacteria by buying
yogurts such as Yoplait or Stonyfield that carry the National Yogurt
Association Live & Active Cultures seal or have the words contains live
and active cultures on the label. Whether or not you get enough cultures to
reap the purported perks, you're still eating a food that's high in protein and
calcium — crucial nutrients, especially for women.
THE CLAIM: "Contains omega-3s"
When a package bears the word contains before any nutrient, the food
must contain at least 10 percent of the daily value of that nutrient per
serving, says Blake. When it comes to omega-3 fatty acids, it's also important
to know which type of omega-3 the food contains. DHA and EPA — the omega-3 fats
found in fish — are the ones most commonly linked to a lower risk of heart
Bottom line: You can trust any contains claims. If a food
doesn't specify which omega-3 it offers, check the ingredient list.
Originally published on July 9, 2008
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