Every time we turn on the TV these days we see ads about “good bacteria”.
So today I’m going to look at probiotic yogurt using the latest scientific evidence, to determine whether they really are as useful towards weight loss as claimed.
Because despite the popularity of those little yogurt pots, most people seem totally lost as to what they actually do.
If we are to believe the ads we see, we should expect that one sip of a probiotic yogurt pot and we’ll be fist-pumping the air while performing yoga stretches and aligning our spirit to the animal within our hearts.
So let’s cut past the crap and look at what they can do for us.
The first thing to establish here is that there is indeed a balance of “good” and “bad” bacteria inside our bodies.
It goes without saying that having an optimal balance between the two is going to lead to health benefits.
Interestingly, nobody has the exact same ratio of good to bad as someone else.
Studies confirm it is largely based upon your immune system, your body fat percentage and your overall health. (1)
Probiotic Yogurt contains “Friendly Bacteria”..?
Friendly bacteria is just another name for good bacteria.
It aids the breakdown of toxic chemicals in the gut. (2)
Certain types of bacteria are also responsible for improving our body’s immune system, even blocking certain disease-causing microbes from entering the body. (3)
As mentioned above, the gut bacteria of an individual has a lot to do with their body fat percentage. Several studies show that the gut bacteria in healthy individuals is completely different to that found in unhealthy individuals. (4)
Another common side effect of having too much of a certain kind of bacteria is known as the endo-cannabinoid pathway – a.k.a. the same thing which gives marijuana smokers “the munchies”.
The increased appetite here is obviously a very bad sign when it comes to obesity.
Probiotics Or Prebiotics?
What are probiotics anyway? This is a commonly asked question. And when we put prebiotics into the mix, it can get confusing.
But it needn’t.
Here’s the difference between the two:
- Probiotics are bacteria you actually consume, such as the little yogurt tubs you’ll find in supermarkets.
- Prebiotics are like food for the existing good bacteria which is already inside your body.
Now, based on what you’ve read above, it’s very clear that supporting so-called “good” bacteria and cutting down so-called “bad” bacteria is a step in the right direction for fat loss.
But how do we do this?
Well, the best way we can do it is through our diet.
Despite the fact that there are a raft of probiotic yogurt supplements on the market at the moment all claiming to be exactly what you need, the easiest way to achieve this optimal balance is to add prebiotics to your existing diet.
Well, from a scientific perspective, the use of probiotic supplements is still in it’s very early stages and further studies are definitely needed in order to confirm their effectiveness.
You see, despite being packed full of so-called “friendly” bacteria, the jury is still out on how much actually makes it through the stomach and into your body.
That’s why it’s very rare you see me recommending them here on my blog.
That’s not to say they’re all bad, of course.
There have already been a couple of interesting developments showing areas of promise for probiotics, just nothing major enough to substantiate a glowing endorsement. (5)
Instead, look to add foods such as onions, banana, asparagus and leeks – there are plenty of other options, too – to your existing diet and you’ll be packing away plenty of prebiotics, more than enough to feed the existing “good” bacteria inside your body and look after your health.
Although things might change – and if they do I’ll update my post – I need to stay on the side of science over advertising.
You do not need a probiotic supplement to maximize your weight loss results.
Despite showing some small signs of promise, there simply isn’t enough rock-hard research at the moment to back up the incredible claims these companie make.
To reap the full rewards of friendly bacteria, just add prebiotics to your existing diet – simple as that.
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1. Delzenne NM, Neyrinck AM, Bäckhed F, Cani PD. “Targeting Gut Microbiota In Obesity: Effects Of Prebiotics And Probiotics.” Nat Rev Endocrinol. 2011 Aug 9;7(11):639-46. doi: 10.1038/nrendo.2011.126.
2. Hardy H, Harris J, Lyon E, Beal J, Foey AD. “Probiotics, Prebiotics And Immunomodulation Of Gut Mucosal Defences: Homeostasis And Immunopathology.” Nutrients. 2013 May 29;5(6):1869-912. doi: 10.3390/nu5061869.
3. Khosravi A, Mazmanian SK. “Disruption Of The Gut Microbiome As A Risk Factor For Microbial Infections.” Curr Opin Microbiol. 2013 Apr;16(2):221-7. doi: 10.1016/j.mib.2013.03.009. Epub 2013 Apr 15.
4. Turnbaugh PJ, Ley RE, Mahowald MA, Magrini V, Mardis ER, Gordon JI. “An Obesity-Associated Gut Microbiome With Increased Capacity For Energy Harvest.” Nature. 2006 Dec 21;444(7122):1027-31.
5. Mekkes MC, Weenen TC, Brummer RJ, Claassen E. “The Development Of Probiotic Treatment In Obesity: A Review.” Benef Microbes. 2013 Jul 25:1-10.