Scientists are saying that prebiotic fiber can help overweight and obese people lose weight by modulating genes that promote good gut health.
Prebiotic fiber, or prebiotics, refers to any sort of non-digestible carbohydrate that helps make your “gastrointesinal microflora” a more friendly place for the beneficial bacteria known as probiotics. Foods classified as prebiotic — including artichoke, avocado, whole grain bread, garlic and red onion — are those that make it through the GI tract in tact and go on to stimulate the growth and activity of good gut microbes.
In a new review published in the British Journal of Nutrition, researchers explain that prebiotic fiber can ease gut “dysbiosis,” a fancy word for an imbalance of good and bad bacteria in the body. Such an imbalance is common in people who are overweight, obese or have metabolic syndrome.
“Highly fermentable carbohydrates, such as prebiotics, are able to counteract several metabolic alterations linked to obesity,” write the researchers, from Belgium’s Universite Catholique de Louvain. And high-prebiotic foods “could be helpful in the prevention of chronic diseases.”
“Appropriate human intervention studies with ‘colonic’ nutrients (dietary fibres, prebiotics and others) able to selectively promote beneficial bacteria, or with food containing colonic nutrients, are essential to confirm the relevance of those nutrients in the nutritional management of overweight and obesity,” they concluded.
For more examples of prebiotic-rich foods, see here.