In August of 2002, one of the most respected publishers of commercial and business information, Dow Jones, reported that probiotic drinks manufacturer Yakult had been brown-enveloping product quality inspectors, racketeering considerable sums of cash. Not surprisingly, the news hitting the headlines saw a sharp drop in the manufacturer’s share price. It was around this time that a book called bad science, written by Ben Goldenacre was becoming a widely known title.
The book discusses how questionable science is flaunted by purveyors of goods and services in a bid to add profit-enhancing credibility to what otherwise may not receive a second glance from consumers. Yakult may have cleaned up its act eventually but this is just one example of the kind of scandals which are commonplace. Also, for many, the term ‘probiotic’ is used almost exclusively for these supermarket-bought drinks. However, natural probiotic foods are extremely good for us and it’s important to note the difference between these and flimsy science on food labels.
The Science Abused
In the world of nutrition, it’s notoriously rare to see solid, reputable and peer-reviewed scientific research which makes its way into the mainstream for everybody to enjoy. In 2010, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) reviewed 12 studies submitted by Yakult to substantiate claims for its proprietary strain of probiotic bacteria it called ‘Lactobacillus casei shirota’, and found all 12 to be entirely inadequate to support claims made by the manufacturer. Around that same time, approximately 75% of claims from the food and drinks industry submitted to the EFSA for review were found to be entirely inadequate. The bottom line is that it’s difficult to trust what you read on the label these days and one surefire way to avoid this trap is to turn to nature.
Sauerkraut: The Original Superfood
Just because a number of unscrupulous capitalist cowboys have manipulated the science behind probiotic products, don’t be put off from indulging in natural probiotics such as sauerkraut. There are a number of credible scientific studies which demonstrate that fermented vegetables can help with:
- Lowering cholesterol
- Increasing resistance to cancer
- Helping detoxify the body on many levels
- Promoting a healthy gut flora balance to aid with your digestion
- Improving your immune system to better cope with an astonishing array of ailments
Dr Natasha Campbell-McBride, founder of the Cambridge Nutrition Clinic is a huge advocate of probiotics. A leading expert in nutrition, Campbell-McBride argues that nurturing a healthy gut flora through the use of probiotic foods can completely change not only your body, but your entire psychology and problematic disorders such as autism. Further famous and credible studies include one released by The Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry back in 2002. Researchers from Finland demonstrated that the substance called ‘isothiocyanates’ help to prevent the growth of cancer. Sauerkraut really is the original superfood.
As discussed, it can be tricky to find reliable sources of information on nutrition and the abuse of bad science by organizations to drive the profit margins makes things all the more difficult. If there’s one thing of which you can be sure, it’s that probiotics in natural food form such as sauerkraut will have a significant benefit to your health and looking directly to nature is a great rule of thumb in all of your eating habits. Sauerkraut is also incredibly easy to make, requiring only cabbage, salt and sometimes a little water, but you can use it as a starting to experiment with other vegetables, as long as cabbage is included. Peruse the web for a recipe which appeals to you and start adding this extremely-beneficial nutritional supplement to your daily diet.
About the Author: Stephen Page writes for Natural Ketosis, a low carbs diet delivery service based in the UK.