Weight loss is big business with products like probiotics and exercise programs promising a flat stomach and greater energy. But is there any evidence that consuming probiotics can really help you get a flatter stomach?
According to an article published in celebrity physician Dr. Mehmet Oz’s popular magazine The Good Life and cited by EmaxHealth, excess weight
around your midsection may be caused by “bad” bacteria living in your gut, or intestines. Intuitively, it may seem that if you are able to add more beneficial bacteria to your gut ecosystem, your waistline could shrink.
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A study published in the Journal of Functional Foods and funded by a company that markets probiotic supplements found that probiotics may help decrease intestinal fat absorption, LiveScience reports
. One of the researchers on the study, Peter Jones of the University of Manitoba in Canada, says that normally all calories are absorbed from food but that probiotics may interfere with this absorption. This study was small, however, and other experts caution that taking probiotics will not compensate for an otherwise poor diet and lack of exercise.
Dr. Michael Jensen, an endocrinologist and researcher at Mayo Clinic, tells WebMD that abdominal bloating
is a separate issue from carrying too much weight. Even people who are not overweight can have a distended stomach caused by temporary bloating, usually caused by gas in the intestines.
He explains further that the stomach area is not a place where excess water is stored, so it is a myth that water weight causes bloating. He says probiotics found in yogurt are very safe and have been shown to help reduce stomach bloat.
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Dr. Oz’s publication says probiotics can help reduce belly bloat as well as alleviate a host of other digestive issues.
When choosing the right probiotics, it is important to know the following:
• Foods marketed as having probiotics should never be cooked, as it will kill off any beneficial bacteria.
• More is better. Probiotics are measured in units called Colony Forming Units or CFUs, and you should aim for at least 1 billion CFUs daily.
• Keep probiotic foods refrigerated and be mindful of the expiration date since CFUs drop significantly once the product has expired.
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