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Newsreel: Probiotics

Video newsreel in which a news reader presents an item on probiotics.

This mock news video introduces the final controversy you’ll be exploring on this course, probiotics: fad or superfood? They are a great example of re-discovering the health-giving properties of food our ancestors ate, but do they live up to the manufacturers’ promises?

Welcome to Week 3

We finish our course with an example of a controversy that may impact us very personally. Scientists tell us that a return to the types of foods our ancestors ate, containing large numbers of microorganisms, are good for our health. Food companies are making millions from selling us bacteria. But in the EU, regulations prevent them from advertising probiotics as health products. So are they good for us? Do they only work in specific circumstances? Are they beneficial for everyone, or just some? Why should we pay so much for microbes? Can we believe what the manufacturers say, or is it all a fad? This week we will look at the science of our microbiota, ensure we are precise about the terminology, hear the perspectives of different players in the industry and find out about the regulations that govern this sector of the food/health product industry. Will you end the week more convinced of their efficacy, or less?

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Engaging with Controversies in the Food System

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FutureLearn - Learning For Life

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