How Probiotics and Prebiotics Help You Lose Weight Naturally

Christian Coulson
Updated: June 24, 2020
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You’ve probably heard people go on and on about how good foods like yogurt and kombucha are. But makes these foods so special?

You’ve guessed it.

It’s the good bacteria (probiotics) that they contain what makes them so great.

Probiotics are important to maintain overall health and can help you lose weight naturally, however, they are often overlooked.

Here’s what we’ll cover in this article:

How Probiotics and Prebiotics Help You Lose Weight Naturally

Studies (3) have found that eating foods with a specific type of probiotic – Lactobacillus – can help reduce body fat by 3-4% over a 6-week period.

This other study (4) gathered 125 overweight people to test the effects of Lactobacillus supplements on weight loss and found that women consuming the probiotics lost 50% more weight compared to those who didn’t.

Appetite Suppressant

This study (5) showed that probiotics may stimulate the release of Glucagon – a hormone that increases your feelings of fullness.

That’s a common reason why people use it as a natural appetite suppressant for weight loss.

It’s often difficult for you to get enough nutrients when you’re dieting down since you’re eating less food than normal.

Probiotics will help ensure that you’re absorbing most of the nutrients from the foods you’re eating.

Overall Health

Most people think that the only function the gut has is to absorb nutrients and eliminate waste, and therefore, overlook it.

In fact, several studies (1, 2, 3) have shown a link between gut health and your immune system, mental health, mood, hormonal balance, skin, and autoimmune diseases.

Interestingly, about 70% of the immune system is housed in the gut, so it’s important to take proper care of your digestive system.

When you are not feeling good mentally, are depressed, or not in a good mood you tend to go for unhealthier foods.

Keeping your gut in check will help you stay positive, motivated, and make better food choices.

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Foods with Prebiotics

  • Vegetables

Asparagus, artichokes, onions, and garlic.

  • Carbohydrates

Beans, oats, quinoa, yams, potatoes, and wheat.

  • Fruits

Bananas, apples, berries, and kiwi.

Foods With Probiotics

  • Dairy

Yogurt, cheese, and kefir.

  • Fermented Foods

Sauerkraut, miso, kimchi, kombucha, and pickles.

What to Look for in a Probiotic Supplement

Probiotics are a little more difficult to get than prebiotics.

Therefore, if eating foods like kimchi and kombucha doesn’t sound fun to you and have trouble getting probiotics in your diet, you can get them in supplement form.

Studies (6) have shown the weight loss benefits of specific types of probiotics.

When choosing a probiotic supplement, you want to make sure that you get one that contains acidophilus and bifidum bacteria.

Also, make sure to look for probiotics with more than 50 billion CFUs as quantity also matters.

Renew Life probiotic for weight loss.

I typically recommend Renew Life Adult Probiotics as it contains 50 billion CFUs per serving and 12 different types of probiotic strains.

You can totally try different brands, just make sure they have the right quantity and ingredients.

While probiotics are not the be-all and end-all for weight loss, they can be of great help.

They will provide you with good bacteria that will help you better absorb the vitamins and minerals from the foods you eat and keep your gut healthy.

To make sure you keep an overall healthy life and get the best weight loss results you need to work on your eating habits.

Refrigerated vs. Shelf-Stable

You don’t need to buy refrigerated probiotics, just make sure the one you get doesn’t have transparent packaging. Dark packaging will protect the content from light damage.

Why not refrigerated?

It’s mostly a marketing technique.

While it’s okay to buy refrigerated probiotics, it’s not necessary. Many probiotics are stored in warehouses without refrigeration before being shipped.

Some stores even put shelf-stable probiotics inside refrigerators just because they sell better.

Keep in mind that this is often a debated topic, so if you feel more comfortable buying refrigerated probiotics, that’s okay.

What are Probiotics?

Probiotics are the good bacteria that live inside your gut and are in charge of keeping your digestion working properly. (1, 2)

Making sure your gut is performing optimally is important for your overall health and well-being.

Your digestive health can have a huge impact on your weight, mood, mental health, inflammation, and immune system.

Gut health is often overlooked and taken for granted by many. When we can’t physically see how things are affecting us, it is very easy to just neglect them or not believe it.

Plus, most of the serotonin – the hormone in charge of making you feel happy – is produced in your gut.

You see now why it’s important to keep a healthy digestive tract?

Probiotics to Balance Good to Bad Bacteria Ratio

Not everything is fun and games, your gut is also filled with some bad bacteria.

That’s why many doctors recommend eating more foods that contain good bacteria or even taking a probiotics supplement to balance them out.

What are Prebiotics?

Prebiotics are simply the food of probiotics. Since probiotics are live bacteria, they need food to survive.

You need to feed and maintain a good environment for these bacteria (probiotics) to live.

Symptoms of an Unhealthy Gut

Here are the most common symptoms for an unhealthy gut:

  • Weight Fluctuations

If you’re not intentionally adjusting your diet or exercising to lose or gain weight, your gut may not be functioning properly.

An unhealthy gut will make it difficult to absorb nutrients and maintain stable blood sugar levels.

Any increase in weight may be caused by increased hunger, which can happen due to the lack of nutrients (since you’re not absorbing all of them).

On the other hand, weight loss might happen because of small intestinal bacterial overgrowth.

  • Stomach Ache

Since an unhealthy gut won’t be able to properly digest food and excrete waste, it’s normal to experience some constipation, bloating, gas, heartburn, and diarrhea.

  • Low-Quality Sleep

Serotonin – a hormone that helps regulate mood and sleep – is produced in the gut.

Therefore, an unhealthy gut can lead to poor quality sleep, which can lead to weight gain and make your dieting efforts fail.

A few studies (7, 8) show a connection between poor quality sleep and obesity.

Some lab studies show that lack of sleep can cause hormonal alterations that may increase hunger and therefore, weight gain.

  • Irritated Skin

We all have an intestinal lining that prevents toxins, bugs, and undigested food from getting into the bloodstream.

However, that lining, when damaged by inflammation in the gut caused by poor diet or food allergies, may cause some of those toxins to leak out and irritate the skin.

That’s why you should adopt a flexible dieting approach where most of your calories come from nutrient-dense/whole foods.

To Summarize

Even though they aren’t the super solution for weight loss, probiotics can help you lose weight. Plus, they are extremely important for maintaining a healthy digestive system.

They will provide you with good bacteria that will aid nutrient absorption so you can get the most of the foods your eating.

Because what’s the point of eating healthy if your body isn’t absorbing any of the nutrients anyway?

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