Resolving to lose weight is easy; resisting the temptation of the donuts in the break room at 10 o’clock in the morning is difficult. For many people looking to shed body fat, the hardest part of dieting is realigning your body’s appetite signals. A careful watch over what you eat will tell you that you’re getting enough calories and nutrients to sustain your body healthily, but that rumble in your stomach seems to be saying that you need to eat now–and specifically, that sugary treat packed with calories and fat.
This disconnect between your body and your mind can make it particularly challenging to adopt a healthier diet. However, probiotics may be able to help. There’s a lot of evidence that taking a daily probiotic supplement like LoveBug Probiotics’ Here’s the Skinny can help regulate your appetite and make it easier to lose weight. Here’s what you need to know if you’re about to embark on a weight loss journey.
How Your Gut Health Influences Body Weight Regulation
Your gut microbiome consists of trillions of microorganisms, and the delicate balance between the beneficial bacteria strains and the bad ones plays an integral role in a whole host of bodily processes from immune system function to mood regulation. Key among the roles that your gut microbiome plays, however, is in regard to body weight regulation.
You may be surprised to learn that taking a probiotic supplement can actually change how your body processes the food that you eat. Indeed, there’s evidence that taking probiotics can lead to reduced absorption of the fat in the foods that you eat. That means that your body will “harvest” fewer calories and ultimately lose more weight while eating the same foods. Other studies have found that taking a probiotic supplement can lead to increased levels of protein ANGPTL4 in the body. This protein is associated with decreased fat storage, which again helps fuel your weight loss efforts.
The Role Probiotics Play in Regulating Appetite
The fact that probiotics can help regulate how foods are processed is important for long-term weight loss. However, for many people, the biggest challenge when it comes to losing weight and eating more healthily is reducing intake. No matter what, eating too many calories will lead to weight gain and thwart your efforts to shed body fat. The feelings of hunger that can hit between meals even if your calorie counter suggests that you’ve had enough to eat can be difficult to control. Luckily, probiotics can play an important role here, too.
Research suggests that the gut sends signals to the brain to tell us that we either need to eat more or to stop eating by producing hormones, and there’s good evidence that the bacteria that make up your gut microbiome can influence exactly what hormones your gut produces. What’s more, your gut (and your gut microbiome) communicates directly with your brain via the “gut-brain axis”–the connection between your gastrointestinal tract and your central nervous system. Researchers have found that obese men and women who were given a probiotic supplement experienced less hunger and a lowered desire to eat and greater satiety than the placebo group.
Another study found that beneficial bacterial strains such as those in the Bifidobacterium class can cause the body to produce more of the hormone glucagon-like peptide-1 and less of the hormone ghrelin. This is key because of ghrelin, commonly known as the “hunger hormone,” increase appetite and promotes higher food intake and greater fat storage–terrible things for those trying to control their appetites and lose weight! On the other hand, glucagon-like peptide-1 decreases appetite. In fact, low levels of glucagon-like peptide-1 are associated with obesity and type 2 diabetes.
These findings are backed up by other studies, which found that probiotics stimulated the production of the hormone peptide YY as well. Like glucagon-like peptide-1, peptide YY plays an important role in reducing appetite. Indeed, researchers found that infusing study participants with peptide YY lowered appetite and food intake by a third over a 24-hour period. Clearly, probiotics have an enormous role to play in curbing your appetite and helping to decrease overeating.
How Probiotics May Be Able to Help Control Cravings
However, the power of probiotics may go beyond simply controlling your appetite. They may also be able to control the specific foods you crave–excellent news if you have an uncontrollable sweet tooth. To understand better how probiotics can do this, let’s look at why the bacteria that make up your gut microbiome would want to influence your appetite and cravings.
Simply put, the microbes that call your digestive tract home have their own biological goals, as simple as they may be. They want to reach and sustain a certain population count, and in order to do so, they’ll send signals to their host’s brain (that’s you!) to try and get more of the nutrients they need. When they’ve reached their population goal, they’ll send another signal to tell your brain to stop eating. In this way, the bacteria of your gut microbiome can turn your hunger pangs on and off.
The process gets even more complex, however, when you consider that not all bacteria want the same types of nutrients. The beneficial strains of bacteria provided by probiotics thrive on foods known as prebiotics: plant-based fibers derived from foods like bananas, onions, and oats. On the other hand, there’s evidence that the bad bacteria that can contribute to an unhealthy and unbalanced microbiome love simple sugars instead. What does this mean? If your gut microbiome is out of balance with flourishing populations of bad bacteria, you’ll likely feel constant cravings for sugary snacks. A well-balanced microbiome supported by probiotics, however, doesn’t desire sugar–and when you achieve this balance, your cravings for sweet things are likely to go way down.
Losing weight and changing your diet for the better is never easy. However, there is ample research that including a daily probiotic supplement like LoveBug Probiotics’ Here’s the Skinny in your routine can make the transition much easier. Just imagine if you were able to resist dessert without any significant exertion of willpower! That’s the potential that probiotics offer and the key reason why you should start taking a probiotic supplement today.