Monday, September 2, 2013
Good Bacteria and Obesity
I don’t pay much attention to the morning news shows. They seem to consist of only headlines and fluff, but as I have said before, we get the news we ask for. A couple of days ago I did catch a story on CBS about a new study from Belgium linking obesity-related complications to the amount and types of good bacteria in a person’s digestive system. In this two-and-a-half-minute video they interview their medical advisor about the story, which was presented as a new scientific finding, supposedly giving new hope to overweight people. Those in the study with more good bacteria seemed to be less susceptible to ailments traditionally linked to obesity.
During my research I found that not only is this not a new finding – CBS actually came out with a similar headline over 3 years ago – but also that it’s in no way conclusive. The text of the study itself states clearly that: “The question that remains is whether these results also translate to other countries and populations.” Larger scale studies “are crucial to confirm the insights.” Apparently the findings are merely a limited step forward for a current working hypothesis.
Near the end of the interview, the anchors asked the guest what could be done to get some of these good bacteria into your system. How do you get and keep the good bacteria to take advantage of this “new” discovery? The guest answered with his advice: practice a good, high-fiber and low-calorie diet by varying your food and eating plenty of fruits and vegetables; eat at regular times and exercise. It's a discipline issue, the same advice we have been hearing for years!
So nothing is really new or earthshaking, but watch out for advertisers taking advantage of this publicity by portraying their yogurt or dietary supplement containing probiotics as the next magic bullet allowing you to eat whatever you want and as much as you want without a care. It’s never as simple as they make it sound, but too many people are still looking for an easy way out.