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Jun 18, 2019

Can probiotics and other factors be used reliably to benefit health?

Posted by in categories: food, genetics, health

Steven Finkel tells the story of a close family member who had a discomforting health issue—the kind you don’t discuss at the dinner table.

“She went and chose a bunch of yogurts with active culture,” he says. The first yogurt—call it Yogurt A—made her constipated, and Yogurt B gave her diarrhea. “It’s like Goldilocks,” he adds, before concluding her tale of woe with a happy ending: “Yogurt C made her feel great.”

Hoping to understand how three versions of one food could cause such dissimilar reactions, the relative contacted Finkel, who is professor of biological sciences at USC Dornsife and an expert on bacterial physiology, genetics and evolution.

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