Activia is a yogurt brand that will supposedly help regulate your digestive system. Dannon, the company behind Activia, claims that they use all-natural ingredients to resolve minor digestive discomforts, which isn’t a lie. However, if you’re looking for weight loss, that’s not what you’ll find in the majority of cases.
We chose to set our research team on this popular brand to check out the science and determine if Activia is any different from other probiotic-based products.
So, what exactly is Activia? Produced by Danone, Activia stands out as a distinctive yogurt brand that goes beyond just being a dairy product. Unlike many traditional yogurts that house two common strains of ferments, Activia takes pride in its unique blend, boasting five different strains. This variety is headlined by its exclusive Bifidus strain, scientifically known as Bifidobacterium animalis lactis DN-173 010/CNCM I-2494. This particular strain is the powerhouse behind Activia’s celebrated benefits.
Furthermore, what truly sets Activia apart is its dedication to promoting gut health. Consuming Activia can potentially lead to a reduced frequency of minor digestive discomforts. And when we talk about these discomforts, we’re referring to those occasional bouts of bloating, unsettling gas, abdominal pain, and that uneasy rumbling sensation. The catch, however, is that to reap these benefits, one must be diligent. It’s recommended to indulge in Activia twice daily over a span of two weeks, ensuring that it’s paired with a balanced diet and a wholesome lifestyle.
Now, diving into its composition, it’s important to note that Activia is a probiotic yogurt. Probiotics, often hailed as the “good bacteria,” have been the subject of extensive research over the years, with scientists keen on unraveling their myriad health benefits. These beneficial bacteria play a pivotal role in regulating our digestive system. Hence, it’s no surprise that Activia has become a staple for many, especially those grappling with conditions like diarrhea, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, or general sluggish intestinal movement.
For those wondering about the palate experience, Activia doesn’t disappoint. It offers an array of tantalizing flavors ranging from classics like Strawberry, Vanilla, and Peach to more exotic options like Black Cherry, Mixed Berry, and Prune. With such a diverse selection, it’s easy to incorporate Activia into daily dietary routines, making gut health both a priority and a pleasure.
In essence, while there are myriad yogurt brands lining supermarket shelves, Activia, with its unique blend of probiotics and commitment to digestive well-being, has carved a niche for itself. It’s more than just a yogurt; it’s a commitment to a healthier gut and, by extension, a healthier you.
Advances in Nutrition – “Bifidobacterium and strains of lactic acid bacteria are the most widely used bacteria that exhibit probiotic properties and are included in many functional foods and dietary supplements. Probiotics have been shown to prevent and ameliorate the course of digestive [issues] such as acute, nosocomial, and antibiotic-associated diarrhea; allergic conditions such as atopic dermatitis (eczema) and allergic rhinitis in infants; and Clostridium difficile–associated diarrhea and some inflammatory bowel [issues] in adults.”
Nature Reviews Gastroenterology & Hepatology – “Therapeutic and prophylactic effects of some probiotics and prebiotics for a variety of gut-related [issues] might be, at least in part, mediated through modification of the microbiota and/or its function.”
This is how much it costs to start on the respective program. We always recommend trying a product before making a large investment.
= Initial product cost is less than $5
= Initial product cost is between $6 and $50
= Initial product cost is between $51 and $150
= Initial product cost is $151 or more
How Did Activia Start?
In the early 1980s, Dannon researchers got curious about bifidobacteria. They decided to develop a particular strain of the probiotic that could thrive well in yogurt despite yogurt’s acidic medium.
The researchers reached a consensus to add the Bifidus Actiregularis strain to the common yogurt bacteria. This birthed one of their widely-known yogurt products called Activia today.
When all was said and done, Activia was introduced into France by Groupe Danone (The Dannon Company in America) in 1987. By 2013, Activia had gained entrance into five continents and over 70 countries all around the world.
Dannon and the Better Business Bureau (BBB)
Dannon has been in business for more than 100 years. Have they learned how to treat their customers? Here’s what the BBB file has to say.
Dannon has A+ BBB rating.
The company file was opened in 1986.
They are not accredited by the bureau.
Three complaints have been closed in the past three years.
Scroll below for one of the best products we’ve seen over the last year.
Dannon once made claims that there’s no yogurt anywhere in the world containing the ‘good bacteria’ Bifidus Regularis.
In itself, this claim is valid because Bifidus Regularis is a trademarked name that no other company has the power to use.
In September 2009, Activia settled a lawsuit claiming the company deceptively used advertising to convince consumers Activia would help regulate gut health. The company was forced to pay $35 million in damages, according to the GI Society.
What’s more? December 2010 saw Dannon having to make a considerable settlement of $21 million with the Federal Trade Commission for exaggerated claims that Activia could deal with digestive irregularity and slow intestinal movements.
So what does Activia contain?
Activia contains cultured reduced-fat milk, water, sugar, fruit sugar or fructose, food starch (modified), >1% milk protein concentrate, kosher gelatin, cornstarch (modified), guar gum, agar, lactic acid, vitamin D3, sodium citrate, and calcium lactate.
The natural vanilla taste may also be found in any flavor of the Activia Yogurt. In contrast, Activia Fibre, in addition to the other ingredients, contains red wheat bran, inulin, rolled white wheat flakes, and rolled oats.
Activia Light, on the other hand, includes sucralose and aspartame instead of regular sugar.
Apart from the traditional bacteria found in most yogurts, Activia contains a probiotic strain known as Bifidus Actiregularis.
Hence, the Activia yogurt contains Bifidobacterium animalis DN 17,010, a proprietary probiotic strain of the Bifidobacterium marketed under names Bifidobacterium Actiregularis, Bifidobacterium Regularis, Bifidobacterium Lactis, and Bifidobacterium Digestivum.
There are more significant reasons to agree that Activia works than otherwise, although it’s considered part of a probiotic fad.
Activia products are referred to as foods enriched with numerous probiotics that offer optimum health benefits when consumers take them in adequate amounts. However, the positive results of consuming this kind of food are often known as functional foods, depending on the strains and their doses.
This is why Dannon boasts its unique selection of probiotic strain, which can thrive in yogurts like Activia. According to Dannon, this strain has been proven from studies to go through the entire gastrointestinal tract without issues.
“Activia may help reduce the frequency of minor digestive discomfort,” says Dannon. We can also tell you that including yogurt in your diet is a nutritious and effective way to get the amount of protein and calcium your body needs.
Moreover, Activia yogurts, irrespective of flavor or variant, contain the good bacteria known as probiotics required for the digestive system. Dannon Activia also can provide the body with minerals, vitamins, and sugar.
HESCA also lists probiotic power, health to bones, and adequate protein content as some of the benefits of Activia. The proprietary strain of probiotic bacteria is what distinguishes Activia from all other probiotic strains.
Although it is said that there are probiotic yogurts that have good bugs that are equally as beneficial as Activia’s, nonetheless, Activia says it helps to keep gastrointestinal issues away. There have also been a few testimonials of being relieved of diarrhea when Activia was taken.
Activia may also provide health to the body’s bones because it contains a good amount of Vitamin D and calcium.
Activia’s protein content may also provide the body with the necessary repair of body tissues. These proteins may also help to create the right environment to fight off illnesses and diseases.
From reviews and comments on public forums, we can say Activia, because of its probiotics and nutrients, is very useful in regulating the digestive tract. However, in our search on Activia, we didn’t see any clinical or scientific proofs on its ingredients and whether it helps with weight loss.
However, one study published in Obesity Facts on PO.150 found that “probiotic low-fat yogurt (0.5%), fermented with Bifidus ActiRegularis, Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus” could reduce body weight.”
In any case, bearing in mind that what affects weight loss depends on your caloric intake. Introducing Activia to your diet may be an excellent way to get started on a weight-loss plan.
Here are a few suggested ways that could happen:
The caloric content in Activia Yogurts varies with the type you decide to opt for. You can get as low as 60 calories from the Activia Light variant and 90 calories from the Activia yogurt’s vanilla variant. The Greek Vanilla Yogurt, which comes in larger containers than the other options, provides 140 calories.
So if you are thinking of reducing your calorie intake as a weight-loss strategy, going for the low calorie-content Activity Light will be an excellent way to make that happen.
On an elementary level, if you reduce your daily intake of calories by, say, 500 to 1,000, you’ll shed 1 to 2 pounds every week.
Then again, if you are all about something more effective for weight loss, then you should go for supplements that have been clinically proven to do the job without hassles.
How to Take Activia
For the best results, Dannon advises consumers to include Activia in a regular balanced diet by consuming it two times every day for two weeks.
According to Livestrong, one serving of the Activia yogurt’s cherry variant has 1.5 grams of fat and 90 calories. The serving also contains 4 grams of protein, which is equivalent to 9% of the total amount of protein women need in their diet and 7% of what men need.
Other flavors of the Dannon Activia Yogurt like the prune, banana, peach, strawberry, vanilla, and peach have the same calorie, protein, and fat content, whereas the blueberry variant has 90 calories.
Activia can be incorporated into your diet in various ways. You can choose to have it for breakfast as a stand-alone meal when combined with fruits or grains. You could also want to have it as a smoothie. And of course, you can decide to have it on the side when you have your regular meals.
Oh yeah! Familiar with Mediterranean dishes? These dishes make good combinations with yogurt, and Activia is known to do the job well.
Potential Activia Side Effects
Dannon says consumers may experience a few minor issues with consumption. These problems may include one or a combination of the following:
It is almost no longer news that probiotic bacteria commonly found in good yogurts are very useful in fighting unwanted and harmful bugs in the intestinal tracts like fungi, yeast, and parasites. However, one cannot overlook the anecdotal reports of side effects with Activia Yogurt consumption.
Here are a few:
There have been a few complaints from some consumers of some digestive problems that occur from taking Activia. These issues include acute abdominal cramps, nausea, diarrhea, acid reflux, bloating, and irregularity.
Worsening Symptoms of Lactose Intolerance
Some consumers also complained on public forums of how their lactose intolerance worsened as a result of eating Activia.
It is important to note that certain flavors of Activia have high sugar content, which may be why diabetic patients who have consumed this yogurt have experienced challenges with their blood sugar level.
Even though these effects, which are related to the body systems, have not been stated on the Dannon website, they have been discussed on public forums. They include muscle pains, increased rate of metabolism, sleeping problems, anxiety, and headaches.
Activia Product Warnings
Dannon has advertised Activia as yogurt with a good amount of the excellent bug known as Bifidus Regularis. Among many others, this bug is known to be a suitable replacement for the good bugs that are removed from the flora of the bowels by antibiotics.
However, because it also contains lactobacillus, there are a few things to note about taking Activia:
Although the bacteria found in Activia called lactobacillus is meant to grow to get its job done in the consumer’s system, it can grow out of proportion. This bacteria may even cause diseases in the body, which is a red flag for those who have weakened immune systems. Such patients are required to contact a physician first.
Antibiotics, when taken, help to reduce the number of harmful bacteria in the body. However, an antibiotic’s effectiveness may be reduced when antibiotics are taken alongside foods like Activia that contain Lactobacillus. Then again, taking immunosuppressant drugs to reduce the immune system’s function can also increase the chances of becoming sick.
Chemotherapy patients and patients who take immunosuppressant drugs for organ transplants may develop severe infections in the blood. Thus, those who have low immune systems of this sort are advised to avoid foods that contain lactobacillus like Activia.
Lawsuits on Activia?
As a manufacturer of health-related products, except if you have sufficient evidence to back your health claims, it is always safe to leave it out of your ads. It is very likely Dannon would have saved its neck if it paid attention to this detail.
In 2008, Dannon was slammed with a 21 million dollar charge for alleged false representations about DanActive and Activia Yogurt. And this stemmed from some of the adverts aired by Dannon, the New York Times reports.
In one of the adverts, the narrator is known to have said that “With the natural culture Bifidus Regularis, Activia eaten every day is clinically proven to help regulate your digestive system in two weeks.”
Of course, this didn’t sit well with the Federal Trade Commission, who raised brows at this. The company claimed to have clinical evidence that a serving of the Activia Yogurt could relieve temporary irregularities and help slow transit time in the intestine.
To address Dannon’s substantiation, FTC zeroed in on a link featured on Dannon’s website with the Health Care Professional label. Oh well, as this label implied, it is for those who know the nitty-gritty of health care.
It’s only a digression. Stay with us.
The FTC explains it as “a detailed scientific resource that will provide in-depth information about Bifidus Regularis and its effect on slow intestinal transit,” it mentioned a couple of clinical studies carried out by Meance along with some others. FTC complained that Dannon’s submission on these studies was misleading as some vital information about these studies was withheld.
Thus, the hidden information concealed the fact that the difference in intestinal transit time between studies on those who took the Activia and those in the placebo group was statistically insignificant.
Dannon eventually agreed to the settlement, which stated the following:
Except the claim is approved by the Food and Drug Administration, Dannon is not allowed to claim any yogurt, probiotic drink, or food that can reduce the chances of getting the flu or a cold.
Dannon is not permitted to lay claims that Activia will relieve consumers of temporary irregularity or even produce faster intestinal movements. If it must be mentioned in an ad, it mustn’t be misleading information, and it must also be backed by clinical evidence involving two humans that at least three servings are required to get these benefits stating the veracity of the claim.
Dannon is also not allowed to lay claims that some other yogurt, probiotic drink or food, or dairy drink will relieve consumers of temporary irregularity or even produce faster intestinal movements. If it must be mentioned in an ad, it mustn’t be misleading information, and it must also be backed by clinical evidence involving two humans that at least three servings are required to get these benefits stating the veracity of the claim.
Dannon is also not allowed to misrepresent results from any studies or tests. And except its claim has competent backing and strong scientific proof, it may not make other claims on the performance, efficacy, and health benefits of any dairy drink, yogurt, or probiotic drink or food.
Other probiotic yogurts provide essential health benefits. According to the manufacturer, one of them is the Yoplait Original, which has clinically tested and proven cultures and contains Vitamin A, Vitamin D, and Calcium.
Yoplait Original has gained wide acceptance and is the most used probiotic yogurt. It contains the ‘good bug’ that helps fight bacteria and pathogens that can cause illness and is also said to improve lactose intolerance, prevent diarrhea, and deal with inflammatory bowel problems. Yoplait Original comes in 18 flavors, and each serving provides 150 calories.
Customer Service Information
You can call or text 1-877- 326-6668 from 9 AM to 6 PM eastern time, Monday thru Friday (Note: Texting rates may apply.).
Address: The Dannon Company, Inc. 525 Keystone Ave Pittston, PA 18640
“New cheaper packaging means that when you attempt to peel off the cover you’re apt to end up with yogurt-covered fingers. Unless removed exceedingly carefully, the paper/foil cover can tear two or three times resulting in yogurty fingers when attempting to remove the inferior packaging bits.
The yogurt itself is fine, although less sugar would be better; as it is, one small serving represents 16% of the recommended amount of your daily added sugar intake.
The four-ounce size is appreciated, but doesn’t offset the new annoying packaging. I’ll be looking for a new product.”
“They should reduce the amount of SUGAR that’s in the yogurt ; it is way too sweet. I tried this yogurt to be healthier but 12 g of sugar with 8 ADDED g in this small container is not healthy !!”
“The doctor advised me to take this product to help after I took a prescription of antibiotics. I don’t like yogurt but I loved this one.”
The Bottom Line on Activia
Before you race through the grocery store to the dairy aisle, let’s take one more look at this one. We like that Activia contains some natural ingredients and that the price seems reasonable, but we have concerns about this one because the research doesn’t point toward weight-loss. We’re also a bit hesitant due to customers talking about negative side effects and ingredients not working.
If you want to lose those extra pounds, we suggest going with a weight-loss program that’s clinically proven, so you lose weight and keep it off.
Among the best products we’ve seen this year is one called Noom. This weight-loss app is unlike any other with its personalized menus, human coaching, doctor-written articles, and nutritionist support. Plus, user reviews posted on the web indicate people see excellent results.
We find it shows great confidence that the makers of Noom are offering a free trial offer, which is a good sign.
Activia products are referred to as foods enriched with numerous probiotics that offer optimum health benefits when consumers take them in adequate amounts. However, the positive results of consuming this kind of food – often known as functional foods, depend on the strains and their doses.
What are the side effects of Activia?
Activia side effects, according to customer reviews, may include stomach pains, gas, bloating, stomach rumbling, and constipation. This is not because Activia is a laxative, but instead contains gut-improving bacteria.
What are the ingredients in Activia yogurt?
Activia ingredients are cultured grade A nonfat milk, sugar, fructose, water, l. bulgaricus, s. thermophilus and bifidobacterium lactis. Depending on the flavor, it may also contain fruit, fruit extracts and/or natural flavors.
Does Activia work?
If you go just on user reviews, the only reason people lose weight on Activia is because it loosens bowel movements. This can cause temporary water loss. As for the ingredients in the formula, none are clinically proven to boost weight-loss. We found a study that used a small participant pool and loss was about 3.5% in 6 weeks. That equates to 7 pounds for a 200 pound person. You can lose more than that by cutting back 500 calories a day via dietary changes alone or as part of an exercise program.
What research has been conducted on probiotics and their role in digestive health?
Researchers have been investigating the potential health benefits of probiotics for many years. Probiotics have been shown to prevent and ameliorate the course of digestive issues such as acute, nosocomial, and antibiotic-associated diarrhea; allergic conditions such as atopic dermatitis (eczema) and allergic rhinitis in infants; and Clostridium difficile–associated diarrhea and some inflammatory bowel issues in adults.
A four-pack of Activia retails at about $3 at most stores.
How many Activia yogurts can you eat a day?
You should eat two Activia yogurts each day for optimal results.
Does Activia contain fiber?
No, traditional Activia does not contain fiber, but there is an Activia Fiber line that does. It also contains cereal pieces so the calories may be a little higher.
Is Activia intended to be used as a laxative?
No, Activia is not intended to be used as a laxative. It is a yogurt brand that is advertised to help regulate the digestive system. While it does contain ingredients that can have a soothing effect on the digestive system, it is not intended to be used as a laxative.
Does Activa come with a guarantee?
Yes, there is a guarantee on Activia if you use it for two weeks as part of a challenge. We did not find any other mention of refunds or returns in the terms and conditions or on the website.
What does Activia do to your body?
Because Activia’s low-fat yogurt is infused with the probiotic Bifidobacterium lactis, the maker Dannon claims that Activia helps regulate the digestive tract by reducing “intestinal transit time.”
What is the Activia 2 week challenge?
If you eat Activia twice a day for two weeks along with a balanced diet and overall healthy lifestyle, Activia is said to reduce your incidence of minor digestive issues that include rumbling, discomfort, gas, and bloating.
How fast does Activia start working?
Dannon, the manufacturer of Activia, recommends eating the product twice a day for two weeks to see if you notice a difference.
Does Activia have probiotics in it?
Activia is made with a live, active probiotic bacteria culture called bifidus regularis.
Can Activia help you lose weight?
Activia isn’t designed to help with weight loss. However, it can help balance gut health, which may lead to a more balanced weight.
Can Activia give you diarrhea?
Some users of Activia have reported a number of digestive side effects that include abdominal cramping, acid reflux, bloating, burning upon having a bowel movement, irregularity, and nausea.
What are the flavors of Activia yogurt?
Activia Lowfat Yogurt with Fruit: Strawberry, Mango, Peach, Black Cherry, Blueberry, Mixed Berry, Prune, Strawberry Banana, and Vanilla
Does Activia use artificial sweeteners?
The original Activia blend contains sugar. Activia Light contains aspartame and sucralose instead of sugar to reduce calories.
Is Activia the manufacturer of Armour Thyroid?
Activia is manufactured by The Dannon Company. The Dannon Company does not produce Armour Thyroid.
Is Activia lactose free?
Not all Activia is lactose-free, but the company offers lactose-free options.
Does Activia have antioxidants in helpful daily amounts?
Yogurts like Activia have a higher antioxidant potential than milk because lactic acid bacteria in yogurt generate antioxidant peptides. It’s unclear how many antioxidants Activia has.
What time of day should you take Activia?
It is recommended to take Activia in the morning, ideally before breakfast. For maximum effects, it should be taken daily with a meal or snack. Taking Activia at any other time of day may not yield the desired results, as the probiotics in Activia work best when taken on a full stomach.
How is Activia different from other yogurts?
Activia sets itself apart with its signature strain of probiotic culture, Bifidobacterium animalis lactis DN-173 010/CNCM I-2494, specifically designed to promote better gut health. Most yogurts contain standard fermenting strains, but Activia’s unique blend prioritizes digestive well-being.
How long does Activia last once opened?
Once opened, it’s recommended to consume Activia within 3-5 days for optimal freshness. Always store it in the refrigerator and ensure the lid is sealed tightly.
What age group is suitable for consuming Activia?
Activia can be consumed by individuals of all ages, from children to the elderly. However, for young children or individuals with specific health conditions, it’s always best to consult with a healthcare professional before introducing any new food product.
Can pregnant or breastfeeding women consume Activia?
Activia is generally safe for pregnant or breastfeeding women as it is a yogurt product. However, if there are any concerns or allergies, it’s crucial to consult with a healthcare provider.
Does Activia offer dairy-free or vegan options?
As of my last update in January 2022, Activia primarily produces dairy-based yogurts. However, consumer demands change over time, so it’s always a good idea to check the company’s latest product offerings for any dairy-free or vegan variants.
Can Activia aid in improving the skin's health?
While Activia is primarily designed to support digestive health, a balanced gut can indirectly benefit the skin. A healthy gut can lead to better nutrient absorption and reduced inflammation, which might result in clearer skin. However, consuming Activia specifically for skin benefits might not yield direct results.
Why does Activia have sugar?
Sugar in Activia serves multiple purposes. Besides adding sweetness to enhance flavor, it also provides necessary carbohydrates that can assist the fermentation process where the live cultures metabolize the sugars.
Are there any known drug interactions with consuming Activia?
Activia is a food product, and there aren’t typically concerns about interactions as there might be with medications. However, if someone is on specific medications, particularly antibiotics, it’s always prudent to consult with a healthcare provider.
How should Activia be stored?
Activia should be stored in the refrigerator at temperatures between 35°F and 40°F (1.7°C to 4.4°C). Keeping it at this temperature maintains its freshness and ensures the live cultures remain active.
Can you freeze Activia yogurt?
Freezing Activia will extend its shelf life, but it can also disrupt the texture and might affect the live cultures. If consumed after thawing, the consistency may be different, and the health benefits from the probiotics might be reduced.