Probiotics are microorganisms that contain certain types of “good” live bacteria that can help regulate your gut flora and digestive system — leading to improved health, better digestive function, and even weight loss. New evidence published in a recent issue of the British Journal of Nutrition has found that women who make a conscious effort to add probiotics to their diet can actually accelerate their weight-loss efforts.
The study, which was conducted by researchers at University Laval in Quebec, involved a total of 125 overweight or obese men and women who were put on a 12-week weight-loss program followed by a 12-week maintenance program. Over the course of the study, participants were randomly selected to take either two probiotic supplements or two placebo per day.
After the first 12-week period, women who took probiotics had lost an average of 10 pounds, whereas the placebo group lost only an average of 6 pounds. After the second 12-week period, women who took probiotics continued to lose weight, while the placebo group reached a plateau, or stand-still, with their weight-loss efforts. All men involved in the study experienced no changes in their body composition regardless of whether or not they took the probiotic supplements.
The study results showed that in women, probiotics have the ability to regulate the appetite-controlling hormone known as leptin and also decrease bacteria in the intestinal tract associated with obesity.
Probiotics can be found in many different foods that can easily be added to your diet to increase your weight-loss success rate. Probiotics exist in yogurt that contains live and active cultures, as well as in sauerkraut, dark chocolate, kefir, tempeh, pickles, kimchi, soft cheeses, miso soup, and kombucha tea. When you purchase foods that contain probiotics, read nutritional labels to make sure that they lack sugar, preservatives, and other processed ingredients that may hinder, rather than help, your weight-loss efforts.
Shawnee Mission Medical Center offers a variety of nutrition and wellness programs designed to help you become healthier and lose excess weight. Learn more about our comprehensive nutrition, wellness, and weight-loss programs.