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The straight poop on yogurt

Posted by wmagnus On March - 1 - 2010

Much ado has been made about yogurt as a treatment for “irregularity,” so much so that one major vendor of yogurt specifically markets their new blend of bacteria and fermented milk for the improvement of “long intestinal transit time.” It all sounds wonderful, just eat a cup of yogurt and the trains run on time. That’s actually proven to be true in multiple studies, which is great for most people.

For those who suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), a condition that makes a mockery of regularity, things are always a little more vexing. For them, yogurt induced regularity would be a godsend. Publishing in Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics, researchers have taken a good look at this very question.Researchers in Stockholm recruited 74 patients with IBS and put them on an 8 week regimen of daily yogurt with various probiotic bacteria or placebo milk without probiotics. What they found was that in the first 2 weeks, the IBS patients getting the probiotics did generally better. It didn’t last; by 8 weeks there was no difference between the two groups. The researchers crunched numbers and found a small but insignificant difference that might suggest that the yogurt patients did better, but they also calculated that a sample of at least 600 patients would have been needed to determine whether that was significant.

Probiotic yogurt has evidence support for many things, from regularity to cancer protection. WebMD does a great summary of the benefits of yogurt which is worth reading.

Unfortunately for IBS patients it looks like yogurt isn’t a panacea. For the rest of us, it’s a good dietary idea.

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