Sunday, March 13, 2016

Prebiotic Consumption And Risk Of Weight Gain

The Study
Prebiotics are fermentable carbohydrates that our body can’t digest. They have the ability to alter the composition of our gut microbiota and are thought to confer a number of health benefits. However, most studies on prebiotics have been on animals and research in humans is sparse.

In this investigation, 8,569 normal weight subjects from the Spanish Sun Project cohort had their diet measured by a food frequency questionnaire and self reported their weight every two years. The subjects were split up into 4 groups according to their consumption of prebiotics. After 9 years of follow-up, the group consuming the most prebiotics had a 13% lower risk of becoming overweight when compared to those consuming the least. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2015; 102:1554-62.

Take Home Message
The connection between our gut bacteria and our weight is fascinating and is still in the process of being elucidated. There really does seem to be a connection. Prebiotics are used as an energy substrate by healthy bacteria in the gut that convert them into short chain fatty acids. These short chain fatty acids are thought to influence levels of certain hormones, like peptide YY and glucagons-like peptide 1, that may influence satiety and decrease food consumption. 

In this cohort, most of the prebiotics that were consumed came from fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains. If you need yet another reason to eat these healthy foods with regularity, here you have it.

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