On a past episode of Dishing Up Nutrition, How Probiotics Reduce Cravings & Support Weight Loss, two nutritionists shared new research, along with clinical findings, that probiotics can help reduce cravings and help with weight loss. You can listen to the full hour-long episode here or read this summarized post below. Before we explain more, we want to be clear that probiotics are definitely not a magic bullet for weight loss, but research is pointing in the direction that if your gut is not healthy (lacks good bacteria) it can hinder your weight loss efforts.
So, how would you know if your gut is healthy or not? During nutrition counseling (now available for clients worldwide via Zoom appointments!), The licensed nutritionists and dietitians at our sister company Nutritional Weight & Wellness get to the bottom of your gut health, looking for signs and hints that something might be amiss.
They do this by asking you detailed questions about your health history and diet choices, as far back as you can remember. We’re talking all the way back with questions like “Were you born by C-section?” and “Were you breastfed?” You may be wondering what those answers have to do with gut health and therefore weight. Turns out, a lot! Babies born vaginally and breastfed have been shown to have an increased amount of the probiotic bifidobacteria in both their large and small intestines. And these babies often go on to score a little better on certain growth and development measures than bottle-fed, C-section babies. Once again, mother nature knows best!
Regardless if you’re seeing one of our nutritionists or dietitians or not, you can answer the above questions for yourself. If the answer is no to either, Bifido Balance is a great probiotic to begin with.
Now, back to the show as they say, here are three important aspects of how probiotics impact weight loss.
Probiotics Help Cut Cravings Which Impacts Weight Loss
When you take probiotics they attack any yeast overgrowth, which is important because too much yeast often leads to more intense cravings for high sugar foods or processed carbs. Both of which can sabotage our efforts for weight loss. A yeast overgrowth happens if you've been on antibiotics or take a lot of ibuprofen or some prescription medications.
How can you tell if you have a yeast overgrowth? Signs could be sinus issues, athlete’s food, yeast infections or a white coating on the tongue to name a few (our nutritionists can help pinpoint more symptoms and reasons for an overgrowth). To combat this yeast imbalance, we recommend crowding out the yeast by incorporating probiotic supplements AND incorporating naturally- occurring probiotics into your diet. Good-quality sauerkraut, full-fat plain yogurt and kimchi are all great examples of probiotic high foods.
Think of it like this, when you start taking a supplement of bifidobacteria or another probiotic, over time, those probiotics will repopulate in your intestinal tract and start taking over that yeast overgrowth, so that your cravings go away.
Probiotics Help Healthy Digestion Which Impacts Weight Loss
Are you currently struggling with bloating, gas, fluid retention or any other digestive issue? If so, those are signs that your digestion is not working properly. That also means you’re not breaking down food efficiently. And if you're not breaking down food as your body was meant to, you're likely not getting all of the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that food should be supplying you. And this can hinder your metabolism. By taking probiotics daily, or eating foods that naturally contain probiotics, you are supporting your gut flora to help with your digestion and thus nourishing your body and metabolism.
Research Shows Probiotics Impact Weight Loss
A recent study in the British Journal of Nutrition found that obese women who ate a lower calorie diet, then also supplemented with a probiotic, lost more weight than the obese women who were just taking a placebo. This study seems to show that probiotics can support metabolism. Additional research, presented at a European conference a couple of years ago, showed a similar result with obese children and adolescents. The children were put on a calorie-controlled diet, and then one group was also given a bifidobacteria supplement while the other group got a placebo. After eight weeks, they found that the children who had also taken the probiotics had a bigger reduction in their waist circumference, better overall BMI (body mass index) and improved insulin resistance than the placebo group.