Thursday, May 12, 2016

Probiotics and Weight Loss

The Study
Probiotics are live micro-organisms that have been shown to improve varying aspects of health when consumed in the proper quantities. It has been hypothesized that they increase rate of weight loss. In this randomized controlled trial, 89 overweight and obese women consumed a standard low fat yogurt, or a probiotic yogurt, for 12 weeks while following the same comprehensive weight loss program.

At the end of follow-up, women in both groups lost similar amounts of weight. However, the women consuming the probiotic yogurt had a 13.9 mg/dl drop in total cholesterol and a 13.5 mg/dl drop in LDL cholesterol when compared to the standard low fat yogurt group. They also had significant improvements in blood glucose and insulin levels. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2016; 103:323-29.

Take Home Message
This is a very nicely designed trial with a simple message. Probiotics can definitely improve certain health parameters but do not appear to increase the rate of weight loss. We are just beginning to learn about the health effects of the gut microbiota, but it appears to be an extremely important and complex element of good health. Unfortunately, it does not look like a quick fix for weight loss.


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