Health
High nutritional value
 

General health claims for yoghurt

Health related claims are all about giving consumers useful knowledge about the food they buy. The aim is to help them understand the contribution different foods make to health and well-being, and to choose a more balanced diet.


Four different types of claims
are possible for foods sold in the European Union. Note, each one of these claims needs to be scientifically substantiated.

  1. Nutrition claims, which mention the nutritional content of a foodstuff
    To make a claim of this type, the food needs to contain at least 120 mg of a nutrient like calcium/100 g. It's the case for yoghurts for example - and they can claim to be a " source of calcium".
  2. Health claims, which state, suggest or imply that a relationship exists between a food (or one of its components and health)
    This type of claim mentions the physiological function of a constituent. For example, in the case of yoghurt, "Calcium is needed for the maintenance of normal bones".
  3. ‘Disease risk factor reduction’ claims
    These relate to a specific type of health claim, which state that a food (or one of its components) significantly reduces a risk factor for human disease.
  4. Claims referring to children’s health
    It's the case for yoghurt, and we can say that: "Calcium is needed for normal children bone growth".

 

Yoghurts are good for you

Due to their exceptionally high quality nutritional value, yoghurts and fermented milk products may use many of the permitted nutrition claims such as "source of calcium", "source of vitamin B2", "source of vitamin B12".

 

Specific and authorized health claim for yoghurt

Live cultures in yoghurt or fermented milk improve lactose digestion, particularly in individuals with an intolerance to lactose.

  • Lactose is the main carbohydrate found in milk and dairy products.
  • In order to digest lactose, we need an enzyme called lactase, which is specifically designed to breakdown milk sugar in the digestive system.
  • There are some people whose amount of lactase produced in the body is not enough to digest lactose properly and this can cause the lactose to stay undigested.
  • Any undigested lactose will then pass into the large intestine where it will be fermented by bacteria living in the gut. These bacteria then produce gases and fatty acids which cause bloating, flatulence, stomach cramps and diarrhoea.

 

Active yoghurt
Yoghurt contains live bacteria that produce enzyme lactase that hydrolyzes or predigests 20 to 30% of the milk’s lactose and continues to act in the intestine by people suffering from lactose intolerance.

This is important, since these people often exclude all dairy foods from the diet which can lead to poor calcium intake.

 

Essential calcium
Calcium is essential for healthy bones and teeth, and dairy foods are often the main provider of this mineral in people’s diets.

The calcium in dairy foods and yoghurt in particular is easily absorbed into the body.

 

EFSA approved health claims

Many positive health claims also apply to yoghurts and fermented milks. This is also true for those claims referring to children's development, seven of which relate to yoghurts and fermented milks.

 

Essential minerals and nutrients in yoghurts (EFSA approved)

Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)
Riboflavin can contribute to the reduction of tiredness and fatigue; Riboflavin contributes to normal release of energy for use in the body; to normal functioning of the nervous system; to the maintenance of normal mucous membranes;  to the maintenance of normal red blood cells;  to the maintenance of normal skin;  to the maintenance of normal vision; to the normal use of iron in the body; to the protection of cells from oxidative stress.

Vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 can contribute to the reduction of tiredness and fatigue; Vitamin B12 contributes to normal release of energy for use in the body; to the normal breakdown of amino acids (such as homocysteine); to normal psychological function; to the normal functioning of the nervous system; to normal red blood cell formation; to the normal function of the immune system; Vitamin B12 has a role in the process of cell division.

Vitamin D
Vitamin D contributes to normal absorption/use of calcium and phosphorus; to normal blood calcium and phosphorus concentrations; to the maintenance of normal bones; to the maintenance of normal muscle function; to the maintenance of normal teeth; to the normal function of the immune system; Vitamin D also plays a role in the process of cell division.

Calcium
Calcium contributes to normal blood clotting; to normal energy metabolism; to normal muscle function; to normal muscle function and neurotransmission; to normal neurotransmission; to the normal function of digestive enzymes; Calcium has a role in the process of cell division and differentiation; Calcium is needed for the maintenance of normal bones; for the maintenance of normal teeth.

 

Complement of information on Lactose intolerance


Lactose intolerance is not the same as milk allergy
Lactose intolerance is caused by a lack of the digestive enzyme lactase. Symptoms are likely to occur many hours after drinking milk or eating  dairy foods, and are unpleasant but not life threatening.

Cows’ milk allergy is more complicated and potentially more serious. As the symptoms of cows’ milk allergy and lactose intolerance could be very similar, people must contact their doctor to ensure a reliable diagnosis.
 

 


Lactose intolerance is not the same as milk allergy Lactose intolerance is caused by a lack of the digestive enzyme lactase. Symptoms are likely to occur many hours after drinking milk or eating  dairy foods, and are unpleasant but not life threatening.

Cows’ milk allergy is more complicated and potentially more serious. As the symptoms of cows’ milk allergy and lactose intolerance could be very similar, people must contact their doctor to ensure a reliable diagnosis.
 

 
 
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