Probiotic yogurt linked to female weight loss
Significant benefits found for women in study
A daily yogurt — which is known to make stomachs feel better, keep digestive systems running smoothly and may help fend off diseases — may also help women lose more weight and keep it off longer, according to a new study.
A study by researchers at Laval University in Quebec suggests that probiotics found in European brands of yogurt, specifically those from the Lactobacillus rhamnosus family, may help women lose twice as much weight as those who don’t consume the bacteria regularly.
Writing in the British Journal of Nutrition, obesity researcher Angelo Tremblay, a professor in the Department of Kinesiology, and his team tested their hypothesis — that consuming probiotics could help reset the balance of the intestinal microbiota in favour of bacteria that help promote a healthy weight.
The team put 125 overweight men and women through a 12week regimen of a weight-loss diet, coupled with a daily allotment of either two pills containing Lactobacillus rhamnosus probiotics or a placebo.
Results at the end of the 12week period were significant for women, the researchers say, with the cohort among the probiotic group losing on average 4.4 kilograms compared to the placebo group who only lost 2.6 kg. For men, there was no difference between the probiotic and placebo group, which stumped researchers.
“We don’t know why the probiotics didn’t have any effect on men. It may be a question of dos- age or the study period may have been too short,” said Tremblay, who is also the Canada Research Chair in Environment and Energy Balance.
For women in the probiotics group, weight loss continued even after the study period, for a total of 5.2 kg, or twice what the non-probiotics group lost. Researchers further noted that women in this group had lower levels of the appetite hormone, leptin, and lower levels of intestinal bacteria related to obesity.
The theory among the Laval researchers is probiotics may alter the permeability of the intestinal wall, keeping pro-inflammatory molecules at bay, and thus out of the bloodstream, halting the chain reaction processes that lead to Type 2 diabetes, obesity and glucose intolerance.
The Lactobacillus rhamnosus strain used in the study belongs to Nestlé (nine researchers from the Nestlé Research Center in Switzerland also worked on the study), but Tremblay said probiotics found in dairy products in North America may have similar effects.
He also stressed, however, that the effects of the probiotics intake shouldn’t be viewed in a vacuum, and the best results for weight loss would occur only within the context of a diet low in fat and with adequate levels of fibre.
A new study has found that probiotics found in European yogurts may help women lose twice as much weight as those who don’t consume the bacteria regularly.