Good Germs May Burn Belly Fat

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Good Germs May Burn Belly Fat

Single-celled organisms have no free will as we know it, and are therefore morally neutral. However, some of them by their nature cause us harm, while others do us good. We call the harmful ones “germs”; the beneficial bacteria we call “probiotics”  —  from the Greek words that mean “beneficial to life”.

Probiotics are tiny critters that live inside us, going wherever we go, and they pay for the ride by aiding our digestion and health. And, what’s more, they may also help women control belly fat during the period after pregnancy.

Researchers from the University of Turku in Finland studied a group of 256 pregnant women during their first trimesters. The group was subdivided into three groups:

•    Women in one of the groups received dietary counseling and capsules containing the probiotic bacteria lactobacillus and bifidobacterium

•    The second group also got the counseling, plus a selection of healthful foods to take home, but received placebo capsules

•    And the third group just got the placebo and nothing else.

One year after giving birth, women in all three groups were measured and weighed. The results: 25% of the women who had been given the probiotics and the counseling were obese – but 43% of the women who got only the counseling had become obese, as had 40% of the women who got neither probiotics nor dietary advice.

So do probiotics help fight belly fat? Researchers behind these findings think so, but stress the need for further study before definitively ruling on the question. It is also unknown what effect (if any) probiotics may have on the health of unborn children. As always, if you are pregnant, consult your obstetrician before making any dietary or lifestyle changes.

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