Probiotics have been in the news a lot recently with claims that some supermarket probiotic yogurts do not contain beneficial strains of bacteria nor enough of them to make a lot of difference.
Now some interesting research has shown a connection between the bacteria in the digestive system, sugar cravings and overweight. One study showed that people who crave daily chocolate have different colonies of bacteria than people who claim not to have any cravings.
The vast majority of bacteria in the gut belong to one of two groups known as Firmicutes and the Bacteroidetes. It seems that overweight people have a higher ratio of Firmicutes than Bacteroidetes and thin people have more Bacteroidetes.
What causes this? How would gut bacteria make you fatter? From the research by Dr Shahni for his book “Cultivate Health from Within” it is obvious that a proper ratio of gut bacteria is critical to maintaining proper body weight.
Gut bacteria are very important for complete digestion. The amount of calories and nutrients that you extract from your food depends on the bacterial content of your gut. Powerful antibiotics often give you digestive problems—they kill a lot of the bacteria in your gut. There is some speculation that certain antibiotics are more effective at killing the Bacteroidetes altering the ratio and making you fat.
This is why nutritionists and some doctors recommend taking a good probiotic containing different strains of bacteria when you take antibiotics to restore the balance. Being bloated and gaseous is a sure sign that your digestive system is disturbed.
People often complain that as they diet and exercise they somehow still do not lose weight especially around the middle. Cultivating a healthy colony of beneficial bacteria is a key part of maintaining a healthy weight and feeling free from cravings.
Ideally we should keep our digestive tracts healthy by eating fermented foods that are common in Korean, Chinese, Japanese, and North and Central European cuisine. Foods like sauerkraut, kefir, miso and tempeh are rich in enzymes and alive with gut friendly bacteria that “colonize” the intestines. But with today’s hectic lifestyles people do not have time to make these foods and many rely on taking probiotic supplements.
Another way to boost the healthy bacteria is to eat foods that supply substances that feed the bacteria. These are known as prebiotics – chicory root, Jerusalem artichoke, leeks, onions, salsify, bananas and oats.
One well researched live probiotic that is available both in the USA and the UK is LB17. It contains 17 strains of live active and fully viable friendly bacteria that are certain survive the journey through the digestive system. These friendly bacteria go to work immediately, as they are living in a naturally fermented mixture of seaweeds, mushrooms, vegetables, herbs, fruits, grains and cereals.
LB17 probiotic can improve digestive, bowel and liver function. Getting the balance right is a key part of maintaining a healthy weight and feeling free from cravings.