Andrey_Popov/Shutterstock Most of us have heard of probiotics; they help restore the balance of good versus bad bacteria in the digestive system. When gut balance is out of whack, you may feel bloated, be constipated, have diarrhea, or experience many other digestive ills. Resetting your gut balance with probiotics can improve all of these—as well as almost every other aspect of our health, not just digestion. “When we consume probiotics, we are introducing strains of bacteria pre-selected for their health benefits,” explains Will Bulsiewicz, MD, a gastroenterologist in Mount Pleasant, SC. Check out some of the other health benefits of probiotics. But which are the best probiotics for weight loss?
Good bacteria vs. bad bacteria
Sirirat/Shutterstock To understand the affects of probiotics on weight loss you need to start with an understanding of the key players. There are two first families of bacteria in the gut: The good Bacteroidetes and the not-so-good Firmicutes. “Lean individuals have a higher proportion of bacteria from the Bacteriodetes family, while obese individuals have more from the Firmicutes family,” Dr. Bulsiewicz explains. “This means that obese individuals carry gut microbes that are designed to efficiently extract the bad parts of our food, namely from fat and sugar, and the implication is that by modulating our gut flora to maximize Bacteroidetes and minimize Firmicutes, we can optimize healthy energy harvesting from our food and kick our obesity problem to the curb.” Put another way: “If we choose the right blend of bacteria, the scale can tip in our favor,” he says. Find out more facts you’ve always wanted to know about probiotics.