We make fermented dairy products—“yogurt,” though it’s really not yogurt—using Lactobacillus reuteri as the fermenting microorganism. We do so using a modified method of fermentation that differs from conventional yogurt making in order to 1) increase bacterial counts of L. reuteri for greater physiological benefits, 2) increase thickness and mouthfeel of the end-product without adding synthetic thickeners or emulsifying agents, and 3) minimize the potential adverse effects of dairy. We’ve previously discussed how, upon consuming 1/2 cup per day of the yogurt prepared by this method, we boost oxytocin levels that smooths skin wrinkles, triggers an explosion in dermal collagen, accelerates healing, restores youthful muscle and strength, preserves bone density, and increases libido, effects that add up to an amazing age-reversing phenomenon.
But there are indeed problems with dairy that include lactose, to which many adults are intolerant; casein beta A1, the form of casein dominant in North America that has implications for autoimmune conditions; whey that is insulinotrophic, provoking insulin release from the pancreas just like carbs and sugars, even though it is a protein, an effect that can contribute to stalling/blocking weight loss or fanning the flames of insulin resistance.
Recall that, in making our L. reuteri yogurt, we ferment for 36 hours, rather than the measly 6 or so hours of commercial yogurt, thereby increasing bacterial counts exponentially. We also add prebiotic fibers to the fermentation process to further amp up the number of bacteria produced, much like adding fertilizer to your backyard garden. Addition of the prebiotic fiber also increases the thickness and mouthfeel of the end-product. (Try making without prebiotic fiber and you will see–I’m shocked that makers of conventional yogurt do not add prebiotic fibers, but it explains why they resort to thickeners and emulsifying agents.)
The methods we use in making our L. reuteri yogurt achieve additional benefits that reduce or minimize the problems inherent in dairy products:
- Prolonged fermentation increases bacterial counts exponentially. Rather than obtaining hundreds of millions, we obtain tens to hundreds of billions of bacterial counts and thereby greater physiological and probiotic benefits, generating substantial benefits with consumption of only a modest quantity of the yogurt.
- Prolonged fermentation allows maximal conversion of lactose to lactic acid, thereby minimizing potential adverse reactions to lactose in lactose-intolerant people.
- Prolonged fermentation maximizes lactic acid production that reduces pH to the acidic range of 3.0-3.5 that denatures (breaks down) the casein beta A1 protein. Casein is not entirely eliminated, but minimized by reducing it to peptide fractions. (This is why our L. reuteri yogurt is sour or tart.) You also have the option of starting with A2 milk now available in most major cities in the U.S., a less immunogenic form of casein that is identical to the human form.
The whey protein, and thereby the potential insulin-provoking effect, persists, however. Many of us therefore reduce whey content by either pouring it off as it separates (and can be reserved as starter for your next batch of yogurt) or straining through cheesecloth to generate Greek-style yogurt.
Our L. reuteri yogurt is therefore not freed of all the issues surrounding dairy, but the issues are minimized by the methods used to make this thick and delicious end-product, very different from what you buy at the supermarket.