Well, unfortunately, the answer to this one isn’t clear cut. Probiotics can aid in a healthy gut which in turn can aid weight loss. Weight loss and diet culture are a huge part of our lives. We all associate healthy eating and exercise with weight loss, but rarely is our gut health mentioned when we talk about weight loss.
Research suggests that a healthy gut is not only vital for overall health but also can help us to optimise weight loss.1 We can use our gut health to our advantage!
What Are Probiotics?
Probiotics are live microorganisms found in certain foods and dietary supplements that help to balance and enhance our gut microbiome. Our bodies contain trillions of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ bacteria, with good bacteria far outweighing the bad.
Just in our gastrointestinal tract are over 100 trillion good bacteria. Probiotics work by adding ‘good bacteria’ to our gastrointestinal tract that allows our gut to function properly.
How Do I Get Probiotics?
Well as mentioned, you can find probiotics in some food sources, usually fermented foods. Some great food sources of probiotics are yoghurt, certain cheeses such as cheddar2 and mozzarella3, sauerkraut, tempeh, kimchi and other fermented foods.4
You can also get probiotics through dietary supplements. The Gut Co have created 3 different daily supplements that contain probiotics to help our health.
“Gut Care” aims to rebalance your microbiome by using ingredients such as prebiotic fibre, yeast and live cultures that nourish and diversify your gut.
“Immune Boost” includes potent antioxidants, anti-inflammatory ingredients and clinically-proven immune-boosting probiotics which defend against viruses and infections, and enhances overall health.
“Skin Health” gives a gut boost that nourishes our skin by healing one of the most common root causes of skin irritation; an unhealthy gut.
How Does A Healthy Gut Aid Weight Loss?
Your food is processed through your gut, and the gut bacteria that line your intestines come into contact with the food you eat. This may impact what nutrients are absorbed and how energy is stored in your body.5
A study was undertaken involving 292 participants to observe metabolic markers in the gut. The results showed that those participants that were overweight had lower gut bacteria diversity, and higher levels of an inflammatory marker in the blood called C-reactive protein.6
This suggests that being overweight and having an unhealthy gut with inflammation correlates. Although inflammation is a necessary part of the immune system, inappropriate inflammation can change the way our bodies use fats and carbohydrates. This can lead to higher blood sugar levels which can, in turn, lead to diabetes.7
Your gut also sends signals to your brain telling you if you’re hungry or full. This short-chain fatty acid that sends the signal is called propionate.8 Studies have shown that those with higher propionate levels ate less and gained less weight.9
Other studies have shown that those that take a probiotic supplement had a similar effect to those with high propionate levels, suggesting that probiotics can aid in preventing weight gain and over-eating.10
Benefits Of Maintaining A Healthy Weight
Maintaining a healthy weight is beneficial for your overall health. It lowers your risk of developing many health issues such as11
- Cardiovascular disease
- Heart attack
And a whole host of other issues. To lower your risk of developing these issues, losing weight or maintaining a healthy weight will make a huge impact. The risk of death for 30-64-year-olds, in particular, is increased even for those 10-20 pounds overweight due to all the health issues associated with being overweight.
It is estimated that 300,000 deaths per year may be due to obesity. It is suggested that a weight reduction of 5-15% can lower our risk of developing diseases - particularly heart disease.12
Probiotics are beneficial for a healthy gut microbiome, so there’s a definite benefit to our health by consuming probiotics in our diet or through supplements.
Although there does seem to be some correlation between gut health and weight loss, it’s clear more research is needed in this particular area of probiotics. We know maintaining a healthy weight is important, and some evidence does suggest that taking probiotics can help us to achieve a healthy weight.