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Is Yogurt the Exception to the Never Feed Dairy Rule?

Parrots magazine 149

THE HOLISTIC PARROT by Leslie Moran

Last month we discussed the problems of feeding dairy products to birds. Dairy products are defined as foods produced from milk, typically cow’s milk. These foods include milk, skim milk, milk powder, cream, sour cream, buttermilk, whey products, ice cream, condensed and evaporated milk, cheeses (hard, soft and creamed) and yogurt. So, is yogurt really different from all other milk products?

Yogurt is created by fermenting milk with live bacterial cultures. The milk must be pasteurized before the live bacterial cultures are added, as heat can kill these delicate living organisms thereby destroying their beneficial effects. Plain, unflavored yogurt is the best type to feed your birds. Select a yogurt without any sugar, colorings or flavorings added. Avoid those containing starches, gelatins or tapioca. Your yogurt should be naturally thickened from the fermentation process.

The most profoundly studied human-health related area involving dairy products encompasses improving lactose digestion and avoiding the uncomfortable of symptoms of lactose intolerance. In one study, researchers selected poultry because they do not have the enzyme, lactase, that is required for digesting the lactose in dairy products. Researchers wondered if yogurt could facilitate the digestion of lactose in dairy products and if yogurt had the ability to reverse symptoms associated with lactose intolerance. They observed that dairy products fed to poultry suppressed body weight, induced gas formation and slightly lowered intestinal pH. None of these effects was reversed by yoghurt.

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