With new fro-yo joints spreading like a plague around the city, proclaiming health superiority, probiotic power and "live & active cultures," I got to thinking back to junior high biology... could frozen yogurt really could support active bacterial cultures? I mean, isn't freezing one of those things we do to food to stop the growth of bacteria?
Fro-Yo... no better than the Susky Banana Rama?
So I wrote to food science writer Harold McGee for the, er, scoop:
I've seen a lot of ads for probiotic products at frozen yogurt shops as of late. I understand the desire for healthy flora, but doesn't the process of freezing a yogurt kill off the little buggers? It doesn't seem like a frozen yogurt could possibly do much good for the intestines.
Freezing does kill some but not all of the bugs, so if they've "fortified" with probiotics, you'll get something. If it's just standard froyo, then the yogurt is diluted with lots of sugar and other stuff and you'll get less.
Aha! So it is possible to get some helpful cultures in the tummy though your Pinkberry, but somehow I think it's still better for the belly to eat un-frozen yogurt.
Heidi Swanson of (101 cookbooks) posted a very tasty-looking (not to mention easy looking) vanilla frozen yogurt on her site that I'm planning to try out, but I view that as fun, not filled with health benefits.
Meanwhile, I'll stick with morning yogurt and granola or smoothies to feed my belly buggies. But given the popularity of fro-yo, I'm probably alone in my suspicions that it's no good for you at all.
So what about you, reader? Do you consider the care and feeding of your internal flora? Or do you let the little guys fend for themselves? If you've got a minute, drop a note and let me know.