Friday, March 7, 2014

Can Probiotics Curb Sugar Cravings?

Did you know that the ratio of healthy bacteria to bad bacteria in your digestive system can be the issue behind your sugar cravings and difficulty losing weight?

I just watched a video and read an article, both by eProbiotics, that claim probiotics can curb sugar cravings.

Watch the video to see the relationship between sugar cravings and probiotics. (It's long but you really only need to see the first 4.5 minutes. The rest is an advertisement.)

In short, probiotics are good bacteria that live in and support the digestive system which is where 80% of our immune functions begin. One awesome thing our GI tract does- and probiotics support this- is create hormones that curb sugar cravings. When probiotics flourish, and crowd out sugar craving bad bacteria (ideally by 9:1), so does our health.

(If you wanna know the long version of how this works, continue reading after the signature.)

I'm curious to see what consuming more probiotics would do for me. I'm not into supplements so I'll pass on the pills in the video. I generally think we need to eat more food grown and prepared with love rather than popping pills- even healthy hippie pills.

Studies show you get more probiotic bang for your buck from fermented foods. One cultured food enthusiast writes that ancient Chinese medicine has taken note that the unique flavor of cultured foods actually has a balancing effect that neutralizes our cravings for sugar.

I'm ready to experiment with some homemade kefir and kraut. How about you?

Check out these 56 Awesome Fermented Food & Drink Recipes. 

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Wanna nerd out and get extra credit? Keep reading for longer, detailed story of how probiotics support health and weight loss.

Probiotics are the microscopic organisms that defend, or support against, over 170 disease and health conditions. Most of what probiotics do start in the digestive system. The digestive system is closely connected with the immune system; with nearly 80% of all immune function starting in the stomach and intestines. This includes releasing hormones that curb the craving for sugar, this is where probiotics are proving to be very effective. Probiotics thrive, and outnumber bad bacteria 9:1, in a healthy digestive system.

Among the many ways probiotics support health is through reducing cravings for sugar and sweets.  Researchers guess this is because probiotics feed on resistant carbohydrates, or prebiotics. A prebiotic is a specialized plant fiber that beneficially nourishes probiotics and acts as a fertilizer to promote their growth. (More on prebiotics here.)

As probiotics feed, they essentially use up the body’s excess supply of sugar, stabilizing blood sugar and minimizing the “highs” and “lows” that result in mood swings, energy loss and weight gain.

Bad bacteria feeds on sugar too, which is why you wanna have more good ones (probiotics) in there so they can starve 'em out! Otherwise bad bacteria grows, begs you for more sugar, and causes health issues.

The lack of probiotics in our bodies, and the diseases and poor health that results from this lack, is directly related to the Western diet of excess sugars, artificial sweeteners, processed foods, as well as pesticides and pollution.

Supplementing with probiotics has demonstrated a significant decrease in sugar cravings. The decreased craving for sugar essentially starves harmful bacteria, parasites and yeast; all of which thrive when sugar is present. Eating less sugar = weight loss and better overall health. How about that!

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