How Probiotics Reduce Cravings & Support Weight Loss

November 15, 2020

There are many factors that impact metabolism (it is simply not “calories in, calories out”, which we have been told for decades), but until recently digestive health hasn’t been one of the first to come to mind. Listen in as two nutritionists share how probiotics improve digestive health which in turn can support weight loss and reduce cravings along the way. Could probiotics be the missing part of your weight loss puzzle? Listen in!

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CASSIE: Welcome to Dishing Up Nutrition. This show is brought to you by Nutritional Weight and Wellness. I'm Cassie Weness. I'm a Registered and Licensed Dietitian. And as my friends and family know well, one of my favorite things to do is to co-host this radio program. There are a couple of reasons why. First, if longtime listeners haven't noticed yet, I love to talk. So this is a really good fit for me, but there's more to it than that. I also love to have this opportunity each month when I co-host to help thousands of people understand how the simple act of eating real food supports good health. And truly this job of talking about eating real food connects me to my roots. I grew up on the same ranch in North Dakota that my grandpa homesteaded nearly nine decades ago. And my grandma, who just passed away this last March, lived on that ranch long after grandpa died, long after she retired. I could actually see grandma's house out of our kitchen window growing up. And there was barely a day that went by that I didn't see my grandma. Grandma knew how to cook. You never left her house hungry. That's for sure. She made delicious meals and all from real food. She butchered her own chickens. She collected her own eggs. When her kids were little, she milked the cows that gave her the cream that she put in her coffee. And oh my goodness: grandma made delicious whipped cream from that real cream on the holidays to top her apple pie and her pumpkin pie. And of course, when grandma was baking pies, she used real lard, never Crisco. And whenever I think of grandma, I think of gardening. Grandma had a huge garden filled with tons of delicious vegetables. Dinner at grandma's meant you'd not only get delicious food, but you'd get real food. So like I said, maybe the biggest reason why I love hosting this Dishing Up Nutrition program is that it ties me to my roots because it allows me to share with all of you the importance of eating that real food, like the kind of food that I grew up on. So enough of my reminiscing. Let's get to today's topic. As always, it's a good one. And I think it's pretty timely with the holidays coming upon us. Today, we're going to be talking about how probiotics can reduce your cravings and help with weight loss. So with that, I'd like to introduce my co-host. In studio with me this morning is a fellow Registered and Licensed Dietitian. And Leah, I've been talking long enough. How about you take a minute to tell listeners a little bit about yourself?

LEAH: Thanks for the handoff, Cassie. And good morning to all of our listeners; good Saturday morning to all of our listeners. So I am Leah Kleinschrodt. And I've been a Registered Dietitian with Nutritional Weight and Wellness for the last three and a half years. And I am a proud mama of a two year-old boy. And in my, when I'm at home part-time, I hang out with him, and then part-time, I see clients out of our Mendota Heights office. And right now we're seeing all of our clients virtually or over the phone, but one of my favorite things to do on those workdays is to really help clients problem solve, to help them achieve whatever their health goal is. And to help them just kind of achieve that better overall health in general. And I will admit, so Cassie, you told a wonderful story about growing up with real food and, and how, I love what you said about this tying it back to your roots. Well, I didn't necessarily have that same type of background coming into this. So when I was first introduced to that real food message, it wasn't until I was actually in graduate school and going to get my master's degree in nutrition. So as a dietetic student, and I would still say, you know, even at that point I was a long-term health nut still. So health and nutrition and wellness was still a passion of mine. But when I first heard that real food message, I was a little skeptical because it was so different than what I was actually learning in school. But I had some digestive problems. I had some anxiety. I had some knee pain that was making me feel older than what I really was. So I decided to just kind of swallow a little bit of that pride and decided to just give that balanced eating a try. Well, lo and behold, three weeks later, I felt better than I had felt in years. So the bloating and the gas that would happen to me every single night: that was 80% gone within those first three weeks. And my energy was up. My anxiety was down. And my really big “aha” moment when I first started noticing those benefits of eating real food was that the chocolate cravings were gone; absolutely 100% gone. I realized, and I remember it so clearly. I was driving home from class one night and was thinking, and was like, “I haven't touched or even thought about a piece of chocolate in the last three weeks.” That was huge for me. And then I was like, “Oh, I get it now. This makes sense. This is... it's clicking for me now.” So ever since then, you know, I became that, you know, that believer and just wanting to share that knowledge and that passion and that experience with that message with anyone and everyone who has, who's willing to listen to me.

CASSIE: Yes. And we have a lot of people that I think are willing to listen to us today tuned in.

LEAH: I think so.

CASSIE: Yeah. Let's turn our attention now to today's topic: “How Probiotics Reduce Cravings and Support Weight Loss”. I'm sure you've noticed Leah that in, in recent years, it seems like the popularity of probiotics has sort of exploded and, and gone mainstream. I mean, right? You can see ads on the television for probiotics. I've seen many ads in magazines. I even saw a popular brand of granola bars at the grocery store a couple of weeks ago that had the word “probiotics” huge across the front label.

LEAH: Yep.

CASSIE: Now I would not recommend buying foods like that, where they're just throwing some probiotics into the mix. That's not a natural way to get your probiotics, but I think it really speaks to the fact that, wow, probiotics are top of mind with a lot of people. And a lot of times these advertisements for probiotics are focusing on the support that they have on our digestive system and on our immune system. And both of those are big reasons why we should be getting probiotics in our daily routine. And let me just stop there a minute and say, you know, for people that want to add probiotics to their daily routine, we'll be talking today about some high quality supplements, but there are several foods that naturally contain probiotics. So not the granola bars that I saw at the grocery store, but foods like sauerkraut that's made the old fashioned way. That's probably my favorite with my German heritage. So made the old-fashioned way meaning it is heated at a very low temperature for a really long time. Bubbie’s is a great brand that we talk about that's made that old-fashioned way. Yogurt, if it's full-fat, organic, plain yogurt is a great source of probiotics. There's a Korean sort of condiment you might've heard of called kimchi, which is a good source of probiotics. Miso is a Japanese seasoning that gives us probiotics. So there are several foods that we can turn to as a natural source. And we'll talk more about those as we go throughout the show. And like I said, probiotics have been touted as helping with digestion and helping with our immune system. But because of the large percentage of our American population who is now either overweight or obese, researchers have started to look at the connection between probiotics and weight loss. And while this is a new area of study… so we're likely going to be seeing a lot of research done on this topic in the coming years, but it is a new area of research. So we don't have a lot of solid conclusions yet. What we do know today from clinical experience and from theories that experts in this area are proposing is that probiotics help improve our digestive health, and having healthy digestion is a piece of the puzzle to achieving our ideal weight. And that's what we want to talk about today.

LEAH: Yep. No, I love what you said there, Cassie, is like probiotics and having a healthy gut just in general is one of those foundational things that's going to help that metabolism work a lot better. And as dietitians and nutritionists at Nutritional Weight and Wellness, we look at many different factors that affect metabolism. When we sit down with clients or we get them on Zoom or talk to them on phone, you know, I, sometimes I questioned what the expectation is coming into it, but for our clients, sometimes they're surprised when we don't just sit down and pull out the calculator, plug in their height and their weight, and then tell them how many calories that they're supposed to eat. Instead, our approach is getting everybody on board with that eating real food, eating in balance, so that protein/carb/fat balance every couple of hours. And then we start to look at the health history and look at the individuality for every person sitting down in front of us, and looking at those factors that play into metabolism. So last week on Dishing Up Nutrition, Kara and Joann talked about excess estrogens and estrogen dominance being one aspect that can slow metabolism. And we've talked many a show about having, you know, there's connections between high blood sugar, insulin resistance, and that slowing down metabolism. So, many different things that can go into that picture.

CASSIE: Right. We've also shared how eating gluten grains for some people can slow down their metabolism. So like you said, Leah, there are a lot of different reasons for a slow metabolism. It is simply not calories in, calories out. That is no longer a valid statement. We're going to take a quick commercial break and then come back and keep discussing this topic. You're listening to Dishing Up Nutrition brought to you by Nutritional Weight and Wellness. If you're just tuning in, Leah and I are discussing the role that probiotics play in weight loss and in reducing cravings. And we'll be back shortly. So stay with us.


LEAH: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. There are trillions of bacteria living in your digestive tract at any moment. You have a mix of species and strains living in both your large and small intestines, which can affect everything from your digestion up to your brain. And one of the many, one of the main families of probiotics is called bifidobacteria. In healthy babies, bifidobacteria is there from the very beginning. So babies who experience a vaginal birth and are breastfed have been shown to have an increased amount of bifidobacteria. And these babies often go on to score a little better on certain growth and development measures than bottle-fed babies. And so bifidobacteria, we just know this: that it is an important probiotic from birth until the end of life, which is one of the many reasons why this is a probiotic or a strain that I typically look at to start clients with. You know, sometimes we look at that history and we know that they may just be short on that bifidobacteria.

CASSIE: Right; look at the history. That's a good point. I mean, I think of my history. I remember learning all this for the first time. And I was not breastfed. It wasn't the thing to do back, you know, because I asked my mom about it and she said, “Well, nobody really breastfed back then.” You weren't even really asked. The nurse just came around and gave you a shot to make you stop producing milk, which sounds so institutional to me. But, but anyway, so long story short, I think I started out behind the eight ball. And so if that's part of your history, just another reason why you might need to get a high quality bifido supplement in the mix.

LEAH: Yup, absolutely. So coming back into break here, we were just going over some of the many areas that can affect a person's metabolism. We mentioned really briefly, excess estrogens or estrogen dominance, insulin resistance. Cassie, you, you mentioned eating gluten grains can slow metabolism. And the whole story is, again, not as simple as, again, pulling out that calculator and saying, “This is how many calories you're eating. This is how many calories you're expending.” It's so much more complex than that. And we understand, again, that there's a multitude of reasons behind a slow metabolism. And for the past 25 plus years, nutritionists at Nutritional Weight and Wellness, we've been explaining the concepts of good digestion, gut health and how certain probiotics, especially that bifidobacteria, can be helpful to support metabolism and to reduce inflammation and reduce cravings for those carbs and those sugars.

CASSIE: Absolutely. And we have seen it time and again in clinical practice that when clients take bifidobacteria, either in a capsule form or in a powder form, just a few minutes before each meal, they have fewer cravings. Now it doesn't always happen overnight, but usually within a few days or a week, they notice fewer cravings. And so then they can avoid those high sugar foods and those processed carbs. And when you can avoid high sugar foods and processed carbs and eat balanced meals so that your blood sugar stays balanced… Here's some good science for the biochemistry junkies out there: then your body can release glucagon. So again, when you can avoid the processed carbs, eat protein, vegetables, and healthy fat at each meal, and then you balance out your blood sugar… when your blood sugar is balanced, your body releases a hormone called glucagon, and glucagon is our fat burning hormone. We need it to lose weight.

LEAH: Yep. That's a great point. And, so before we get just a little too far ahead of ourselves, again, let's pose that question to the listeners. You know, “How would I know if I, if a probiotic may be helpful for me?” And we, we kind of alluded to a little bit of that. Cassie mentioned, you know, if you know that you were not breastfed as a baby, if you were born via C-section, those could be indicators that you just might be missing out on some of that good bacteria. If you're looking just at digestive symptoms in general, do you have heartburn, gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, indigestion in general? That's an indication that you may have an imbalance of good and bad bacteria. And some of this stuff may start after a round or several rounds of antibiotics, or I always ask my clients like what their health was like as a kid. Were you on antibiotics frequently for ear infections, strep throat, sinus infections, bronchitis, anything like that? I also ask clients, you know, taking anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDS) like ibuprofen, especially if they have chronic pain, like maybe it's lower back pain or knee pain or shoulder pain. Or just perhaps, just eating for maybe years or decades, eating more of those processed foods, the fast foods that contain a lot of, of chemicals and, and those things really disrupt the gut microbiome. And also, part of my story of how I, kind of looking back hindsight is 2020; looking back for myself, I think one thing that really disrupted my gut was I had a strong history of, of getting into over-exercising, of really overdoing it in the gym, and not recovering well. So we know there is research out there that says too much strenuous activity or too much strenuous exercise can cause a shift, not a great shift in those gut bugs.

CASSIE: That's a great point. So basically your exercising excessively was very stressful on your system. So whether it's exercise or whether it's stress at work or whether it's stress from this pandemic that we're in right now, any type of chronic stress can kill that good bacteria over time.

LEAH: Absolutely. And, and stress from eating crappy foods for a long time: Our body interprets that as another stressful situation, as another stressful input. So, absolutely. And when we have that imbalance, when we have more bad gut bugs than we have good gut bugs, more of that inflammation starts to occur. So then people really start to notice symptoms. Like, they feel bloated. They feel like they retain fluid easily. And then that metabolism just kind of grinds to a halt. And many of our clients have found that taking probiotics in addition to eating in balance, kind of getting out the junk foods, getting in those real foods, that starts to really help rebalance their gut bacteria. They have less inflammation in the digestive tract. They really start to feel better because they're actually getting their nutrients out of their foods. And then they start to lose weight. They start to lose weight and then they also tend to have fewer cravings. And with some time and with some practice, they can also start to say no to the leftover Halloween candy or the goodies on the Thanksgiving table.

CASSIE: And those are huge, right? I mean, we always say “It starts with Halloween.” And then things start going downhill the rest of the year. But if you can start saying no now to those junky foods, that's a good thing. And, and the good news about probiotics certainly doesn't stop there. Besides helping to reduce cravings, probiotics help break down and digest our foods fully. And you sort of mentioned that just a couple of minutes ago, Leah. So if we're fully breaking down and digesting our food, then we're able to get all of the vitamins and minerals and phytochemicals that those foods were meant to provide us. So just to put this into a practical scenario, if tonight for dinner you fry some steaks, or maybe you broil some fish, if you have enough probiotics or good bacteria, especially that bifidobacteria in your intestines, you'll break down that meat or that fish into its very smallest building blocks, which we call amino acids. And then something really magical happens. Our body uses those amino acids to create energy and to create brain chemicals and just to keep us really healthy. The other thing is when we are able to break down our food fully, those animal proteins especially, we get vitamin B12. And vitamin B12 is really important for supporting our energy and for supporting a healthy metabolism. And it is already time here for our second commercial break. If you're just tuning in, you're listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. Before we go to break, I just want to let all of the listeners know that today, November 14th, 2020, is the last day to take advantage of our 15% savings on all Nutrikey supplements. So if you order by the end of today, you'll get 15% off. This is also a great time to shop for the Nutrikey probiotics because again, you'll get 15% off if you order by the end of today. And we're offering either curbside pickup at any one of our locations, or you can order online at And we'll be back on the other side of this commercial.


LEAH: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. For the month of November, we are offering all of our individual online nutrition classes for only $10 per class. We have 15 different classes to choose from. And I would like to just point out or suggest two or three classes that contain some really important nutrition information for the stressful times that we're all kind of living and coping in right now. And the three classes are: the first one being Immune-Building Foods and Nutrients. So our immune systems are first and foremost at everyone's mind these days. Getting a Good Night's Sleep, which is really important for that immune system and for helping our resilience. And Gut Reaction: Restore Digestive Health Through Nutrition. So that ties in nicely with our topic today of gut health and probiotics. So you can sign up for any of these classes by calling our offices at (651) 699-3438 or online: And I like to tote these classes as a way to dip your toe in, find out a little bit more about what we're about, or if you're already kind of drinking from that real food fountain, this is a way to get other people: family members, friends, coworkers on board, or kind of help them ease into that real food message as well. So I'd love to just, I love it when we run this type of sale cause it just makes these classes so accessible for everybody. So, before we went to break, Cassie was just sharing with us that we need enough of that good bacteria in our intestinal tract to be able to break down our foods well and to access some of our nutrients like that vitamin B12, but also some of our minerals like iron and zinc and calcium: all those things that we know are important. And so we're also going to talk about other reasons why taking probiotics may help with metabolism and with weight loss. So not only being able to break down and access those good foods that we are eating, but there's some studies that are linking certain probiotic strains with just having better energy overall and better glucose metabolism. Or basically it means that your body is able to handle carbs and sugars a little bit better. So that's just one factor that researchers have found that is linked to a slow metabolism. When you just, when you have more of that insulin resistance and poor glucose metabolism, but now they're also looking at the diversity of bacteria in our digestive system. So, low diversity has been linked to a slower metabolism. And what's really coming to light now is that what we want is we want a wide variety. We want a diverse ecosystem in our intestinal track. And that is really one of the major hallmarks of a healthy digestive system.

CASSIE: Right, so hearing that makes me think right away and probably some of the listeners are thinking this. “Okay. So how do we get more diversity of bacteria in our intestines?” Which then leads me to think of our Weight and Wellness series and you know, Leah, that in our 12-week Weight and Wellness series, we bring our food samples when we're able to teach it in person, or else we're showing our food samples on Zoom. And when we come to this topic of increasing diversity of good bacteria in our intestines, I have my, I believe it's Stonyfield organic, full-fat yogurt that I show. There are a lot of different good brands out there. That's the one that's in my bag of food samples. We show a container of kimchi. So that is the spicy fermented Korean side dish that I mentioned early on in the show. That's a good source of probiotics. You can make your own or you can buy it at pretty much any grocery store. Miso is a Japanese seasoning made from fermented soybeans that contain probiotics. I talked about the Bubbie’s brand of sauerkraut. That is a great way to get your probiotics in. So those are some great natural ways to improve the diversity of bacteria in our intestines. And if you're going to go that food route, really you should be eating a food or two each day that contains some of those key probiotics. And some of you might be thinking, “Why, why do I need to focus on these foods? Or why should I take a probiotic supplement?” The short answer is we don't eat as well as our ancestors did. Not for the most part anyway. If you look back 150, 200 years ago, pretty much every culture had a food that they ate daily that provided them with probiotics. They didn't know the word probiotic, but they knew intuitively that they needed to be eating that food to have a healthy digestive system. So for example, in Germany, it was sauerkraut. In Korea, it was the kimchi. There were a lot of cultures: Bulgaria is one of many that comes to mind that would make their own yogurt and eat a little bit of yogurt with each meal, a good full-fat, plain yogurt. So they knew intuitively that these foods provided them with something that they needed for good digestion. Also, another reason why a lot of us do need to supplement with probiotics in today's age is that we take a lot of antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs, versus if we go back 150 years, there weren't antibiotics. There wasn't ibuprofen and Advil. Antibiotics, ibuprofen: yes, they have their place. But by and large, we take them too often and they negatively affect that diversity of good bacteria in our intestinal tract.

LEAH: Yeah, I think Cassie, what you said about, just over time through the centuries and through the millennia, these, a lot of these cultures, whether they knew it or not, whether they, you know, a lot of them had this intuition that these fermented foods had some medicinal properties to them. So it's kind of like some of this eating real food goes back to tapping into some of that ancient wisdom that our ancestors used to have. Or your stories are some from earlier of what I talk about with clients. “How did your grandparents eat? Why did your parents eat?” And just kind of going back and saying, maybe we had it right at one point, and bringing that back into our modern times. And despite what many people think, not all of the bacteria that we have in our body is bad bacteria. You hear that word “bacteria” you kind of think about it as being anti-health or, or being a bad thing. And we actually have trillions, even hundreds of trillions of bacteria living in our digestive tract. And it just needs to have that balance of good versus the bad bacteria. And this balance really supports everything just from that simple digestion to even our mental health. So again, some of that bacteria is good bacteria and some of it is unhealthy. We always just want to have a balance of more good guys than bad guys.

CASSIE: Great point. Now, if any of you are listening and thinking, “Okay, but could you just please tell me what is the real connection here between probiotics or good bacteria in other words and weight loss?” Well, I wish I had a straightforward answer to that question, but the benefit of taking a probiotic for weight loss is kind of complex. And like I said, it's an ongoing area of research. So the answers to that question are still going to be coming out in the, in the future. But I will tell you that one thing we think goes on when you take probiotics is that you attack any yeast overgrowth. So oftentimes, if you've been on antibiotics or if you've been taking a lot of ibuprofen, or if you weren't breastfed, the yeast in your gut, which is just a part of the natural flora sort of starts to take over because now you don't have enough good bacteria to keep it in check.

And when we have too much yeast, yeast feeds on sugar. So too much yeast equals more intense cravings for high sugar foods or processed carbs. And that can sabotage our efforts for weight loss. And there's another connection I want to make for you on this topic. But I want to do that when we come back from break. You're listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. Before we go to this final break, with the number of COVID cases on the rise, I'm wondering how many of you are thinking, “How can I stay healthy during this pandemic? And how can I keep my family healthy throughout this time?” So before we go to commercial, Leah and I want to share with you key steps for maintaining a strong immune system that our team at Nutritional Weight and Wellness has put together. First, keep your blood sugar in a normal range. How do you do this? Just remember that the magic number is three. Every time you stop to eat, when you eat protein, healthy carbs, and healthy fat: those three things: that helps to balance out your blood sugar.

LEAH: So another point is making sure your vitamin D level is in a good range. So that means we're talking about somewhere around 50 to 80 when you get that blood test done. All of the research recommends an adequate level of vitamin D as a way to support that immune system and be able to fight off any bugs that are coming in.

CASSIE: Get adequate sleep! Most every adult needs at a minimum seven and a half hours of sleep a night. Some adults need eight or nine. But that is so important. And there’s not a day goes by that we don't help a client achieve better sleep. So I think all of us at Nutritional Weight and Wellness have become sleep experts. So if you're struggling to get a good night's sleep, don't hesitate to call our office and set up an appointment with one of our registered dietitians or licensed nutritionists.

LEAH: Absolutely. We also encourage you to move your body at least 30 minutes a day. If you can get outside and do it in a safe way and stay warm, then great: move outside. Even if you need to move indoors, still get that movement in every day.

CASSIE: Avoid or at the very least really limit your alcohol consumption.

LEAH: And avoid the extra sugar. Find those areas where you're willing to make some substitutions out, such as, you know, instead of having a pumpkin spice latte, just choosing regular black coffee and put in that good, heavy whipping cream instead.

CASSIE: And take probiotics throughout the day. And it's good to take them before bed too. We often recommend Bifido Balance during the day. So one or two capsules before each meal, and then the probiotic called Biotic 7 at bedtime.

LEAH: And tagging onto the probiotics, taking a good quality multivitamin at breakfast, just to make sure you have all of those foundational nutrients and you kind of have that little something to fall back on. And if you find that you really need more energy or energy is something that you really struggle with, Mitocore from Ortho Molecular can be a great multivitamin choice for you. Otherwise, I also like the Nutrikey Twice Per Day multivitamin because it's really high in B vitamins and designed specifically to just make up some of those nutrients that women tend to be short in.

CASSIE: And last but not least, we can't forget vitamin C. For adults to really help boost your immune system, we typically recommend somewhere between 4,000 to 6,000 milligrams of vitamin C a day. So there you have it. At this time we’re on the cusp of cold and flu season. We're in the middle of a pandemic. I think all of us could use a plan; a plan to have a strong, healthy virus resistant body. So there's our plan that the team at Nutritional Weight and Wellness has put together. And stay with us. We'll be back after this break.


LEAH: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. It is reported that 80% of adults today are feeling highly stressed and anxious, understandably. But rather than reaching for an anti-anxiety medication or antidepressant, why not just reach for your phone and make an appointment with one of the dietitians and nutritionists at Nutritional Weight and Wellness. We believe the first step, that first foundational step for managing anxiety is to feed your brain the nutrients it needs to function well. And the second step to managing anxiety is to sleep eight hours most nights. So just as Cassie said before the break, like we have so many tricks up our sleeves to help people get that better night's sleep, that it really is worth talking to a dietitian about sleep. Many people just need that little help or a little guidance or a little direction for making these changes on their own. And if you're one of them sign up for an appointment either online or at or give us a call at (651) 699-3438. We're offering some great discounts on our packages of appointments right now, our personalized wellness package, you can save $135. So please just give our front desk a call and get those details.

CASSIE: All right. So before we went to break, I was doing my best to answer the question, “What is that real connection between probiotics and weight loss?” I talked about how for many people, they have that yeast overgrowth and that can lead to intense sugar cravings. So then when you start taking a supplement of bifidobacteria or some other probiotic, over time, that will, the plan is that will replant in your intestinal tract and crowd out that yeast overgrowth, so that those cravings go away. The other connection that is important is that if you are currently somebody struggling with bloating or gas or fluid retention or any other digestive issue, those are signs that your digestion is not working as it should. And so you're likely not breaking down food efficiently. And if you're not breaking down food as your body was meant to, you're likely not getting all of the energy and the vitamins and the minerals that food is supplying. And this in essence can hinder your metabolism. So there too, taking probiotics or choosing to eat foods that naturally contain probiotics on a daily basis can rebalance that gut flora and help with your digestion, which is a piece of that big puzzle when it comes to having a healthy metabolism.

LEAH: And there are research studies out there that I've found that certain strains of those probiotics and that good bacteria may promote weight loss, but perhaps the real reason is that it just, it creates more of that diversity of bacteria in the intestinal tract. I mentioned earlier that we want diversity. We want variety. We want lots of different strains and kinds of probiotics in our system. And so when we, when we eat those foods, if we take a supplement that can help promote that diversity, which is more of a hallmark of a healthy gut. And there was one study that was published in the British Journal of Nutrition. They found that obese women who ate a lower calorie diet, but then also supplemented with a probiotic lost more weight than the obese women who were just taking a placebo. They were kind of just basically kind of taking a sugar pill.

So it would seem that probiotics do actually support metabolism. And as we were preparing for the show here today, Cassie came across some preliminary research that was just presented at a European conference a couple of months ago. And this particular study was done on overweight and obese children and adolescents. So we talk a lot about adults in obesity and adults and poor metabolism, but we have to think about our kids also. And what this particular study showed was that they took a group of a hundred obese children and adolescents. They put them on a calorie controlled diet, but then also randomly gave one group a bifidobacteria supplement. And one group got a placebo. And after eight weeks they found that the children who had also taken the probiotics had bigger reduction in their waist circumference. They had a bigger reduction just overall in their BMI, and their insulin resistance got much better than the group who just took a placebo. So this all really lines up with some of the things we've been talking about that probiotics, (that we've known clinically for awhile) that probiotics can be helpful in that weight loss story; but also helping our body with glucose metabolism and being able to use those foods in a more efficient way.

CASSIE: I love that research study because we need to remember our kids. What we feed our kids matters, and we are the parents. We need to teach by example. And also with our words and explain some of this to them because what they're eating now and what their gut flora is now can either set them up for disease as an adult, or it can put them on a really great healthy road. So let's not forget about those kids. And also being that we're at the, in the beginning stages of cold and flu season, and we have this pandemic, certainly to give them probiotics to boost their immune system is a good idea as well. But, back to metabolism; back to weight loss. Just in case we're not making it clear. I just want to bluntly tell our listeners before the show is over that probiotics are definitely not a magic bullet for weight loss, but the research is pointing in the direction that if your gut is not healthy, that can hinder your weight loss efforts. But besides cravings, besides weight loss, probiotics are beneficial for so many different aspects of our health. For example, if you have been on antibiotics recently and it's caused some ongoing diarrhea that you're struggling with, which is kind of common, taking probiotics in supplement form have been shown to get rid of that diarrhea. And this makes sense when you think about what's going on here. When you take an antibiotic, it kills off that bad bacteria that are making you sick, but it kills off the good bacteria too. Antibiotic: if we dissect that word, “anti” means against. “Biotic” means life. Antibiotics are against all life in your intestines. They don't know how to discriminate. So after you take a round of antibiotics and you've killed off the good bacteria with the bad, your digestion is off. And for some people, this means diarrhea. For other people, it means constipation. It just kind of depends on your own unique biochemistry. But the key takeaway here is that supplementing with probiotics can help to replant the good bacteria so that you can digest your food better and have normal bowel function.

LEAH: Yeah, Cassie, that brings to mind a story actually, that I was thinking about for a client; just kind of highlighting exactly what you just said. So this particular client, I saw her, you know, towards the beginning of my career, but I just remember her story so clearly, that she came in to see me for the first time, we sat down, we talked. For her digestion was, was something we were focusing on. Weight loss was something we were focusing on, but for her, she was also really struggling with carbohydrate cravings and sugar cravings that she had never experienced like this in this kind of intensity in her life before. And especially around the holidays, she found herself really struggling in that way of really craving that sugar, craving those carbs, craving those processed foods in a way that she had never done in the past years. And when we, when we kind of started talking about what had been going on with her in her history, I found out that she actually had been hospitalized at one point, you know, in the not so distant past for an infection in her kidney. She had to be hospitalized. I believe it was for several weeks and had many rounds of heavy-duty antibiotics. And so it made absolute sense that those antibiotics came through. They did their job. They got rid of that infection in the kidneys, but then it wiped out that good bacteria in her gut. So then she had these consequences down the road of just having some residual gut issues, but also more of those sugar cravings. So as part of her plan, we added in those good probiotics just to help that gut replenish and rebalance. I, you know, I don't remember the exact details, but I'm sure it included bifidobacteria, probably taking, you know, at least one or two bifidobacteria capsules with each meal for a while. We probably added some L-glutamine in there. But, like for her, I really think that made all the difference with just helping to reestablish and rebalance that gut, and get fewer cravings for her.

CASSIE: That is a great story. I'm so glad you shared that. And we could certainly talk more, but we are coming here to the end of the hour. So I just want to remind our listeners that our goal at Nutritional Weight and Wellness is to help each and every person experience better health through eating real food. Yes, it's a simple message, but it's a powerful message. Eating real food is life-changing. Thank you for listening today and be safe and be well.


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