How Can Probiotics Lead to Weight Loss?

By
Jill Corleone
- October 20, 2017

Probiotics May Not Be a Magical Weight-Loss Pill, but They Are Good for Your Health

How Can Probiotics Lead to Weight Loss?
Tijana87/iStock/GettyImages

Juggling school drop-off, work deadlines, soccer practice and housekeeping can make eating to lose weight difficult. Popping a pill seems like an easy, and tempting, solution. While there is some evidence that probiotics, which are friendly microorganisms found in foods such as yogurt, can help with weight loss, don't count on them as a miracle cure for melting your fat away. The only way to lose weight is to create a negative calorie balance by eating less food or burning more calories than your body needs.

What Are Probiotics

Your gut is teeming with bacteria, both good and bad. Certain foods help your body replenish the good bacteria. The bacteria found in these foods are referred to as probiotics. In addition to yogurt, probiotics are also found in kefir, aged cheese, sauerkraut, kimchi, miso and tempeh. Probiotics are also sold as supplements. While research on probiotics is still very new, these friendly bacteria may improve immune and heart health, assist in digestion, prevent certain allergy symptoms and improve lactose intolerance.

Probiotics and Weight Loss

There is some preliminary evidence that certain strains of probiotics may help with weight loss. A 2014 study published in the British Journal of Nutrition found that the strain Lactobacillus rhamnosus GCMCC1.3724, a specialized formulation found as a supplement, helped a group of overweight women lose weight while following a reduced-calorie diet, and continue to lose while following the maintenance plan. While it's not quite understood how the probiotic promotes weight loss, its been theorized that it may help decrease the amount of fat your body absorbs from food. A 2015 study published in Lipids and Health Disease found that Lactobacillus gasseri SBT2055 decreased lipase, an enzyme that breaks down fat, in the gut and increased fecal fat excretion in a group of healthy Japanese participants. This all sounds promising for probiotics, but more research is necessary to solidify the evidence before concrete claims can be made.

Probiotics and Your Diet

Probiotics may not be the magical pill you've been searching for to finally help you drop the baby weight, but adding probiotic-rich foods to your diet may be a step in the right direction. Eating yogurt regularly is associated with lower rates of weight gain, according to a 2014 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Like the probiotics, researchers aren't sure how or why, but they theorize its nutrient make-up promotes satiety and fat loss. Although not associated with any specific research, kimchi, sauerkraut and miso are very low in calories and can help you get the probiotics, fill you up and create the negative calorie balance needed for weight loss. Protein-filled tempeh also improves satiety.

About the Author

Jill Corleone is a registered dietitian and health coach who has been writing and sharing her love of food, nutrition and health with anyone who'll listen for almost 20 years. Her work has been featured on the Huffington Post and Diabetes Self-Management.