Can probiotics prevent weight gain?

Alpa Momaya

July 9, 2019

Everyone these days is pro-probiotic!

Even if you aren’t, there’s another reason to be. A recent study says that a probiotic blended into a milkshake may help protect against weight gain.

The study, published in the journal Obesity and carried out at Virginia Tech, studied 20 healthy men who went on a high-fat and high calorie diet for four weeks. A few of the men also drank a milkshake that contained VSL#3, a probiotic with multiple strains of bacteria including Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium longum. The others were given a placebo milkshake.

The researchers found that the men who consumed the probiotic mix had lower body mass gain and fat accumulation than those who didn’t.

probioticBut what are probiotics? They are live bacteria and yeast that are good for your health, especially the digestive system. Probiotics are “good” or “helpful” bacteria as they help keep your gut healthy.

Past research has linked obesity and diabetes to imbalances in the microbiome – made of trillions of bacteria living in the gut. Scientists have said that what we eat can change our bacterial communities. It is believed that probiotics have immense potential to support beneficial bacterial colonies.

However, it is important to remember a few details while considering the recent study. The study tested VSL#3, a commercial product, and was funded by VSL Pharmaceuticals. The sample size was also small.

The researchers have listed down a few reasons that the probiotic supplement might work. Overeating may change microbiome communities, making it tougher for the body to absorb nutrients. The VSL#3 may help alter the gut bacteria in way that influences this system, prompting lesser body fat accumulation. The probiotic may also reduce lipid absorption or affect energy expenditure.

The Virginia Tech study isn’t the first to suggest a connection between probiotics and slimming down. Two strains of probiotics – Lactobacillus and Bifodobacterium – have been singled out as specifically advantageous.

A 2014 study published in the British Journal of Nutrition stated that overweight women who consumed daily probiotics lost more weight than women taking placebo pills. Other benefits linked to probiotics include better blood pressure control and improved mood.

Isn’t it time to pick up that pot of yogurt? Or may be a traditional Indian probiotic?

About the Author

As the holder of a Post Graduate Diploma in Dietetics from the University of Mumbai, Alpa Momaya has always understood the value of good nutrition in an individual's life. She is a Registered Nutritional Practitioner (Canada) with over 15 years of experience in the field. Specializing in Clinical Nutrition, Pre & Post Natal Diets, and Weight Management, Alpa found her calling as a Sr. Nutritionist with HealthifyMe. Alpa's love for cooking and good nutrition has seen her contribute several recipes to the HealthifyMe database over the years. Additionally, she takes a keen interest in reading and painting.

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2 responses to “Can probiotics prevent weight gain?”

  1. Really an interesting article about probiotics. Yes its true that you can lose weight instantly with the help of probiotics.

    Weight Loss

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