Thanks to TV advertising, most of us are familiar with the phrase “friendly bacteria”.
But who wins in the battle of probiotics vs prebiotics?
Heck, what are probiotics in the first place?
Today, I’ll answer the confusion surrounding these useful little monsters and clear away some of the sales hype surrounding those little yogurt pots you’re always telling yourself you’re gonna buy, but never actually do.
What Are Probiotics?
We all have a balance of so-called “good” and “bad” bacteria inside us.
And here’s something which not a lot of people know – no two people have the same balance.
That’s because your balance of good and bad bacteria is largely based upon your overall health, body fat percentage and the strength of your immune system. (1)
Probiotics are essentially “good” bacteria that we put into our body via supplements, such as those yogurts we keep getting berated to drink.
What Are Prebiotics?
Prebiotics are also capable of optimizing your levels of “good” bacteria over “bad” bacteria.
Think of prebiotics as food for the existing bacteria within your body.
Instead of consuming extra bacteria, you’re simply feeding your body’s existing population of good bacteria and making them bigger, meaner powerhouses.
Foods like onions, leaks, asparagus, bananas – there are many more – are great ways to boost your intake of prebiotics without actually buying a dedicated supplement to do so.
Probiotics vs Prebiotics
Despite the fact that probiotic yogurt often hails itself as the all-important missing link in your weight loss diet, the real winner is prebiotics.
At least, for now.
You see, while early studies do indicate some signs of promise regarding probiotics, there is simply not enough research to support any of the massive claims made in the adverts you see on television. (2)
And until that changes you’re best off sticking to prebiotics!
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1. Delzenne N.M., et al. “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. Mekkes M.C., et al. “The Development Of Probiotic Treatment In Obesity: A Review.” Benef Microbes. 2013 Jul 25:1-10.