Thursday, July 13, 2017

Prebiotic supplementation and weight loss in children

The Study
Prebiotics are a non-digestible carbohydrate that promote the growth of healthy bacteria in the gut. The role of prebiotic supplementation in weight loss is controversial. In this randomized trial, 42 overweight boys and girls between the ages of 7-12 were assigned 8 grams of oligofructose-enriched inulin (a prebiotic) each day or placebo for 16 weeks. After the intervention, a variety of measures were taken and an all you can eat breakfast buffet was offered to the subjects. 

After 16 weeks of supplementation, there were no significant differences in the amount of food the subjects were consuming on a daily basis. There were no significant differences in body mass index between the two groups. When all subjects were included, there were no significant differences in the amount of food consumed at the all you can eat breakfast buffet. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2017; 105:790-99.

Take Home Message
It appears that prebiotic supplementation is not effective as a weight loss strategy. It is interesting to note that when the analysis was restricted to just 11-12 year old subjects, there was a significantly lower consumption of food at the breakfast buffet at the end of the intervention for those in the prebiotic group. 

However, when all of the data was looked at together, there was no significant difference in daily energy consumption or BMI after 16 weeks of supplementation. It will take some more research to fully answer this question, but right now it does not look like prebiotics will do much to aid in the weight loss process.  

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