Why Probiotics Don’t Actually Reduce Belly Fat
By Chef K.T. Murphy
Chances are you’ve seen the advertisements for a probiotic product that promises you a flatter belly in no time. These probiotic-filled products may make your belly appear flattered, but it isn’t because they have reduced your body fat.
Probiotics are a key element in digestion, and this element is what gives you that flat belly. Let’s take a closer look at what probiotics are doing in your body, and how they affect your digestion.
What Are Probiotics?
In order to understand how probiotics aid in your digestion you need to know what they are. Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts that are found in your digestive system. These bacteria and yeasts keep your digestive tract healthy. WebMD notes that many times people who are experiencing digestive problems find that a probiotic is recommended by their physician.
What Can A Probiotic Do For Me?
While a probiotic won’t cure you of your belly fat, it will help you in many other areas of your life. The Mayo Clinic notes that probiotics have been useful in treating the following
- Digestive upset like diarrhea (especially after antibiotics)
- They can prevent and treat vaginal yeast infections and urinary tract infections Irritable bowel syndrome is also treatable with the right type of probiotics
- The treatment of intestinal infections is sped up by introducing probiotics into the treatment plan
- Probiotics can boost the immune system and prevent or reduce the severity of colds and flu
Why Do People Say Probiotics Help You Lose Weight?
It is all about fecal transplants
Yes. That is correct. Current clinical trials are underway testing freeze-dried and encapsulated feces being ingested by obese people. Where does the fecal matter come from? Those with healthy body weights.
Why are they testing it?
Recent studies have shown that obese people lack certain gut bacteria that healthy people have. The theory behind the fecal transplant treatment is that the introduction of healthy fecal matter into the digestive tract will provide an obese person with the needed microbes to lose weight.
WebMD presents several mice studies that have been conducted have shown that when healthy mice are given gut bacteria of a healthy weight person, they stay lean. When healthy mice are given the gut bacteria of an obese person, the mice gain weight. This is despite the mice from both groups being fed the exact same quantity and type of food.
Fecal transplants are not that uncommon, they are commonly used as a treatment to combat a horrible infection known as Clostridium difficile. In one such case, a healthy weight woman received a fecal transplant from an overweight donor and had subsequent weight gain. This further supports the idea that gut flora may have something to do with weight loss and weight gain.
Can’t I just Take Probiotics And Hope I Get The Right Combination To Lose Weight?
As with all medications and supplements, you want to be safe when consuming them and probiotics that you are getting outside of your normal diet are no different. Berkeley Wellness discusses how some probiotics may overstimulate the immune system.
There is also the possibility of the probiotics affecting the metabolism in a negative way. People who are immune compromised, have digestive problems, and are seriously ill should always consult their physician before beginning to take a probiotic supplement.
It all boils down to the difference between isolated probiotic strains of bacteria versus the fecal transplants. Both methods of populating the gut with good bacteria are still in their infancy when it comes to clinical research and understanding.
There is little to no evidence that a probiotic is going to assist you in losing your belly fat and give you that flat belly you have always wanted.
All the best, Good Food makes For Better Decisions.