Yoghurt Study

Reporter: Natalie Bonjolo

When buying yoghurt, many shoppers want more than taste. They're also looking for health benefits.

Peter Dingle says "a lot of people buy it for the probiotic content, which is the little positive bacteria that you can get in yoghurt that are really good for your digestion".

While many yoghurts claim to have the wonder bug, Dr Peter Dingle says they're not all equal.

Here at Murdoch University, scientists tested the probiotic content of several popular brands and the results are staggering.

"When we looked at it we found the difference was huge, in fact in one case from the top to the bottom was 9,000 times higher concentration".

"They're absolutely essential…everything from allergies, right through from eczema and skin rashes. You can actually reduce those by getting the right balance of probiotics".

According to Dr Dingle, that means, the more, the better.

So how did these brands compare…

Starting with the popular Ski D'lite.

Tests revealed it contains 2 million good bacteria per 100mls. That may sound a lot, but that puts it on the bottom of the count.

Yoplait did a little better with a count of 10 million.

Followed by Jalna with 300 million.

Then Brownes with 600 million.

Now up into the billions…. Nestle Diet had 1.3 billion and Vaalia 11 billion.

Finally, the top three all belonged to the same brand. Mundella's Bounce, Greek Style and Organic with a count of 19 billion.

It's believed the method of manufacture makes all the difference. Some brands, such as Mundella set their yoghurt in pots so the culture breeds in each individual container. Mundella were so confident their probiotic count would be high, they paid for the study.

Margaret Hayes from the Dietician's Association agrees probiotics are beneficial but doesn't believe it's the most important ingredient.

"As dieticians we like to focus on people's whole diet so we are looking at more than just the probiotics. We are looking at the fact it's a great snack food, it's rich in protein, rich in calcium".

The amount of protein, fat, sugar, and salt are on the tubs but Dr Dingle believes the amount of probiotics should be there also.

"For some people the most important things to look for on the label are the fat content of the yoghurt and the sugar content so they can plan their diet and make sure they're getting a well balanced diet overall".

While this research didn't test every yoghurt on the shelf, it does reveal massive differences between some brands. When it comes to probiotics, customers have to take pot luck.