Active Live Cultures in Frozen Yogurt, Snacking and Weight Control, and RDA vs Daily Values

Q: Does frozen yogurt contain live active cultures or are they only in refrigerated yogurt?
Q: Does snacking tend to make weight control easier or harder?
Q: If a food or supplement supplies 100% of Daily Value for a nutrient, is that the same as 100% of the RDA?


Karen Collins, MS, RD, CDN
American Institute for Cancer Research

Q: Does frozen yogurt contain live active cultures or are they only in refrigerated yogurt?
A: No federal standards govern the production of frozen yogurt. Frozen yogurt is produced through a flash-freezing technique that should not kill live bacterial cultures, although there may be lower amounts in frozen compared to fresh yogurt. But some manufacturers heat-treat the yogurt, which kills the bacteria. (Manufacturers may also heat-treat refrigerated yogurt.) The National Yogurt Association sponsors a voluntary labeling program for frozen yogurt. For live cultures, look for the Live and Active Cultures seal on containers of frozen (and refrigerated) yogurt.

Q: Does snacking tend to make weight control easier or harder?
A: It can do both. When you get hungry between meals and don’t snack, it can hurt in the long run because when you finally get to eat, you may be so hungry that you quickly eat more than you need. On the other hand, we sometimes forget how the calories in a series of small snacks through the day can add up. We often select snacks that we can get quickly, whether from a vending machine or cabinet. This can make snack choices likely to be high-calorie, low-nutrient foods. Ideally, snacks offer an opportunity to eat more of the nutrients and/or foods we might be lacking, such as: fruit or raw vegetables if you have trouble meeting the 5 to 10 recommended daily servings; a handful of whole-grain cereal or some whole grain crackers if your meals more often include refined grains; or yogurt or non-fat cappuccino if you are low on calcium sources. The more important decision is not whether to snack, but if you choose to snack you should plan how you can select nutritious snacks, control portions and avoid snacking purely out of boredom.

Q: If a food or supplement supplies 100% of Daily Value for a nutrient, is that the same as 100% of the RDA?
A: No. The “daily value” (DV) of a nutrient is meant to approximate the amount we might find in the healthy diet of an average adult, but many of the values were set up based on an earlier set of recommended dietary allowances (RDA). DV figures for fats, carbohydrate, fiber and protein are based on a 2,000 calorie diet for an average adult, and planners intended individuals to adjust those numbers if their calorie needs differ. For other nutrients, there is only one DV, despite different RDAs reflecting needs that differ based on age and gender. For example, one or more foods that total 100% of DV for vitamin C provide 60 milligrams (mg), although the RDA for adults is now 75 to 90 mg. On the other hand, 100% of DV for iron is actually more than double the RDA for adult men and women over age 50. Use the “% Daily Value” figures to compare different food options and to identify roughly whether a food is high or low in a particular nutrient. If a serving of a food supplies 20 percent or more of daily value, regardless of what percent of your personal needs this is, the food is relatively high in that nutrient. If a serving supplies 5 percent or less of daily value, it is not considered a significant source.

Reprinted with permission from the American Institute for Cancer Research www.aicr.org

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