There has been an interesting shift in newspaper journalism. In the good old days, it used to be all about the news. Now the stories are encased in bubble wrap so nothing can cause offense. Everything has two sides and, to achieve balance, both sides must be given equal prominence. Except when it comes to stories that might boost the sales of the corporations buying ad space in the newspapers and magazines. In these stories, readers are given only the bright side – the side that sells the products or services. Who needs balance when it builds the profits of a good customer. Which brings us to the coverage of probiotic yoghurt drinks. Here everything is sunshine and light. Did you know there are bacteria living in your stomach? Wow, tell me more. It’s probable these bugs are what makes us fat!
This story is connected with the research being carried out at the Schools of Medicine at Washington University and the University of Colorado. This is a perfectly respectable project with funds provided by the National Institutes of Health. Their latest papers were published through the peer review system and are legitimate. But they do not conclude that high-fat diets and sugar cause obesity and the research does not mention any of the probiotics. In fact, the project experiments on the microbes in the guts of mice. It may be scaled up to humans in the future. But, for now, the researchers colonize “ordinary” mice with human microbes and then feed half a low-fat diet. The other half receives a traditional Western high-fat, high-sugar diet. Not surprisingly, the mice eating the Western diet gain weight. When the microbes from the fat mice are transferred to thin mice, the thin mice gain weight. It seems the Western diet transform the microbes into new varieties encouraging weight gain in any mouse.
There is much to follow up in this research but, just to be clear, there is no suggestion that the same diet changes the microbes in human guts nor that eating yoghurt will cause weight loss. The way the story has been presented misrepresents the science to sell the named probiotic drinks. In fact, there is no evidence published in any peer-reviewed journal to suggest that yoghurt changes a bad diet into a healthy diet. The only way to lose weight remains eating a healthy balanced diet alongside a regular program of exercise. If you find yourself feeling hungry while eating healthy food and working out in the gym, use phentermine – the only drug with a fifty year track record for suppressing your appetite. This drug has proved to be a miracle worker in being able to modify the messages coming out of the stomach and calming down the call for more food. So, to keep your motivation high when dieting, buy phentermine and feel satisfied with smaller portions. Continued over several months, you will find the weight dropping away and a new healthy body emerging. This is hard work but it pays off. Trust what you read in the newspapers about probiotics and the only thing you lose is your hard-earned dollars.