I was clipping coupons and I got some for "Yo-plus: Digestive Health" from Yoplait. I was skeptical, but I grabbed them anyway. Then, at the store, I noticed that the Yo-plus was on sale, and the sale plus my coupon brought the price down to about 35 cents per yogurt cup. Not bad. So I bought them. But, what do they do?

Like a lot of people, I guess (20% of America, according to the Yo-plus site), my digestive system is out of whack. It's nothing specific; I just feel yucky. All the time. Before I eat, after I eat ANYTHING - it doesn't seem to matter. It's not really enough of a problem for me to go to the doctor, because, let's face it, I don't have any specific symptoms except "my tummy hurts a lot". So I'm definitely open to the idea of not having to deal with that anymore. Yoplait is claiming they can help.

So, I went to the site, yo-plus.com, to see what all the fuss was about. Mind you, there's a lot of marketing there. The dumbed-down version of how it works that they offer consumers is:

Yo-plus has Optibalance (tm), a special blend probiotics and prebiotics to help the good bacteria beat the bad bacteria in your system. Also, it's a great source of fiber (3 grams!) and calcium, and vitamins A & D! And it's only 110 calories! Tell your friends!

If you're a health-care professional (or if you were hoping for a slightly less "magical" explanation of their product), you get a 3-page PDF.

Roughly 50% of the contents of your colon, right now, are bacteria. Our internal bacterial ecosystems are pretty much essential for life as we know it. But, like all ecosystems, there is a balance, and things like poor diet and stress can throw things off.

So, what's all this fuss about "Optibalance"?

Basically, "probiotics" are nothing new, they're just the good bacteria your doctors are always telling you to eat. L. acidophilus, anyone? Yo-plus seems to have particularly high concentrations of Bifidobacterium lactis Bb 12, a strain frequently added to regular yogurt and other products for its health benefits, namely to GI function.

"Prebiotics" are in this case, inulin, a non-digestible fiber from chicory root. It acts as food for the Bb 12 in the digestive tract, and also (presumably through its presence as a food source) selectively stimulates growth of more Bb 12 in your system.

The 3 grams of fiber? Actually, it's just the 3 grams of "prebiotic" chicory root fiber. I can't imagine it's actually helping much, since it's non-digestible. It's kind of like if I were to say I have a sofa in my living room. Plus, I have a divan in my living room! In reality, it's one, ugly couch, but when I use adspeak, it sounds like I've got a wealth of furniture, here.

So, is Yo-plus any more beneficial than just eating yogurt? I don't know. But for 35 cents, I'm willing to give it a try. Has anyone else tried it? What do you think?