Yakult is made by fermenting milk which contains 6.5 billion good bacteria–Lactobacillus casei shirota, which reach the gut alive, and hence is referred to as a probiotic drink. These bacteria were discovered by Dr. Minoru Sirota. The word Yakult comes from the word “jahurto” which means yogurt in Esperanto.
Is Yakult Good for You?
Yes, it is good for health. It does contain high amount of sugar and artificial flavorings and sweeteners, but the benefits outweigh the presence of these additives. Besides the probiotic organisms, the ingredients in Yakult are water, skimmed milk powder and sugar. Yakult is available in 2 types:
- Yakult Regular–containing 11 grams of sugar and 50 calories per bottle.
- Yakult Light–containing 4 grams of sugar and 30 calories per bottle.
Regular Yakult has a serving size of 65 ml i.e. quantity per bottle and the sugar content is 18 grams per 100 grams. According to the UK Food Standards Agency, concentration of 15 grams per 100 grams is labelled as HIGH, hence the sugar concentration of Yakult is very high. For comparison, consider orange juice or Coca-Cola which contains around 10 g per 100 g of sugar, however, the serving size is 250 to 300ml. Although the sugar content is higher in Yakult, the serving is quite small.
To better answer the question: is Yakult good for you? Let’s look at more nutritional facts:
Yakult is available in many flavors. The flavorings used are natural or nature-identical. They are added to ensure there is consistent flavor during the fermentation process. The nature-identical flavors are created by synthetic materials to mimic natural flavors.Flavorings
Sucrose is used to sweeten regular Yakult, and Reb A–an extract of Stevia leaf, is used for sweetening Yakult Light. There is a lot of debate on the use of artificial sweeteners, as it is believed to be linked to cancer, according to some people. However, some people consider it to be safe.
Rebaudioside A is a sweetener derived from Stevia leaves and is considered as GRAS to be used in food and beverages, but not in meat and poultry. According to caloriecontrol.org, it is 250-300 times sweeter than sucrose. This sweetener has zero calories, thus lowering the total caloric content of foods. They do not contribute to carbs or calories in the diet, thus do not cause any surge in blood glucose or insulin response. This helps diabetic people in eating a variety of foods and stick to healthy eating.
6.5 Billion Lactobacillus Casei Strain Shirota
The bacteria Lactobacillus casei Shirota was named after the Japanese microbiologist – Dr. Minoru Shirota, who was the first person to culture these bacteria. Yakult is considered to be the only probiotic drink to contain these bacteria. These bacteria have shown the following benefits:
- Aid in digestion and improving bowel movement
- Maintain balance of gut bacteria – good and bad
- Help in reducing the toxins in the body
- Reduce risk of infection by building the immune system
What Are Probiotics? How Do Drinks Like Yakult Benefit Us?
Probiotics or good bacteria are lactic acid bacteria or bifidobacteria or group of bacteria. Lactic acid bacteria are naturally present in foods like yogurt and cheese which have been fermented. Probiotics or opposite of antibiotics are used for treatments. These bacteria are also referred to as gut friendly bacteria and they grow in the gut, where they would naturally be present. The normal bacteria in the body are responsible for breakdown of foods, absorption of nutrients and suppressing the bad bacteria in the gut. Bifidobacteria are used in treatment of disease, when the normal gut flora is killed. This can happen when antibiotics are prescribed, which can destroy good and bad bacteria, in the gut and urinary tract. When antibiotics are taken, probiotics should be taken along with it, so that the death of good bacteria is minimized.
Suggested Use of Yakult
Who Can Take Yakult?
Now that we have the positive answer on is Yakult good for you, we will look at who can take it, and in what doses. It can be taken by children as well as adults, and people who are lactose intolerant, as it contains very little amount of lactose. People with severe condition should consult doctor first. Infants and toddlers can be given Yakult in small doses, gradually increasing to 1 bottle. After discussing with the doctor for daily dosage, even diabetics can take Yakult.
Suggested Use of Yakult
It is recommended that Yakult should be taken on a daily basis, up to 1-2 bottles per day for adults, during or after meals. Children should take only 1 bottle per day, and same for infants over the age of 8 months and toddlers. For babies, it should be gradually incorporated in the diet and increased to 1 bottle.
- Yakult is not meant to quench the thirst, it is only a probiotic drink.
- It is not a replacement of yogurt and milk, but should be taken in addition to these products. Since it comes in a small bottle, you can have it comfortably and make it part of balanced daily diet.
- Small bottle is for one complete dosage and hence more hygienic. Large bottle, if not finished, can harbor bad bacteria and cause infection.