If you believe commercials, yoghurt is an excellent processed dairy product. Therefore, its consumption is much higher than, for instance, that of kefir or sour milk; our sales confirm that.
According to a famous Russian scientist Ilya Mechnikov, it is true. In its 1908 study, A Few Words On Sour Milk, Mechnikov observed that Bulgaria has the largest number of centennials relative to its total population. A total of thirty-six European countries have been sampled. Yoghurt, or 'kiselo mlyako', was the main processed dairy product in Bulgaria. It is that, or to be exact, the Bulgarian lactobacillus (Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus), which makes this product so healthy.
Over a hundred years passed since 1908, and the word 'yoghurt' has become a highly saleable marketing brand. The product also had to adapt to the market.
Originally, yoghurt is a processed dairy product made of milk and a culture of Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus. According to the GOST, the yoghurt's shelf life without preservatives is 14 days. At the end of its shelf life, yoghurt must contain at least 1,000,000 lactobacilla per gram of product. The health impact of processed dairy product is due to their microflora, which stimulates the human immune system.
Let us now look at our shelves and see how this wholesome product has evolved.
Myth one. "Shelf life". There are two ways of extending yoghurt's shelf life: thermal processing or adding preservatives. Both methods lower the content of healthy lactobacilla and make yoghurt absolutely inert. Yoghurt becomes a plain dessert.
Myth two. "Enriched with vitamins". Many yoghurt brands are 'enriched with vitamins'. Yes, they are, but the latest studies show that in order to compensate the lack of vitamins, a person has to consume some unbearable amounts of yoghurt.
Myth three. "Fruit yoghurt". Until 1953, the world was unaware of any yoghurt with fruit fillings. Yes, some mixed yoghurt with fruit jams, but the shelf life of the resulting product was very short. It is hard for us to see what was added to the yoghurt then, because over sixty years passed since. Technology has advanced very far. Let us give you an example: a pear-flavored fruit yoghurt. To achieve the taste of this fruit, producers use butyl acetate. It is hard to call that a pear, isn't it? As would be hard to expect from it any benefit to your health.
Myth four. "Yoghurt with fruit pieces". Like we said before, people used to mix yoghurt with fruit jams for a long time, which made it edible for five days, and then it would lose its taste. But how can one preserve the taste and extend the shelf life? The answer is, 'peaceful atom'. Diced fruit has to be sterilized before adding it to the yoghurt. Any thermal processing will destroy its texture (just remember berries in a jam). So, producers x-ray the fruit, killing all the lifeforms in it. We should mention that radiation doses are minimal and shouldn't have any adverse effect on the body. So, there is no harm, as there is no benefit.
Myth five. "Stabilizers". As marketing worked, yoghurt consumption has increased exponentially. Processing technology changed from the traditional 'thermostat' to the more productive 'vat' processing. The high-yield 'vat' processing has improved the process, but that required the use of consistency stabilizers.
That precipitated the use of starch and various thickeners, whose benefit for your health is also doubtful.
Myth six. "Substitutes". Well, this is not even a myth. Substitutes were created with a sole purpose of making the products cheaper, because its marketing cost dearly for the producers. So, the chemical industry handled this task exceptionally well. Just recall the word 'palm', which is no longer associated with a palm tree when it comes to the food industry. The first image that springs to mind is the one of a slab of butter.
There are no laboratories in Kyrgyzstan capable of counting bacteria in the product or confirming the use of milk fat substitutes, dyes, or flavorings.
Then how can an average consumer tell the difference between a wholesome dairy product and a useless dessert?
Just use logic. Nobody can fool nature, and if the product's shelf life, consistency, and taste are not within reasonable limits, this means the product has been 'worked upon'. And the purpose of that work was far from keeping it healthy! The purpose was to preserve the goods, and nobody cared whether it would be healthy or not.