Weight Loss For Kids
New Gastroenterology research finds prebiotics prevent obesity in children by altering the gut microbiome (composition of bacteria). The research published in Gastroenterology, suggests there may be new tools coming in the fight against childhood obesity, one of the most prevalent and costly conditions afflicting children in the developed world.
“This is a well-designed trial that demonstrates how a prebiotic could potentially help combat obesity — by targeting the gut microbiome,” said Geoffrey A. Preidis, MD, PhD, a member of the AGA Center for Gut Microbiome Research and Education scientific advisory board. “It is promising to see this evidence that alteration of the gut microbiota can be used to restore health. As a clinician, I hope that continued research into prebiotics will lead to a new strategy for the treatment of obesity.”
“Powdered fiber, mixed in a water bottle, taken once a day is all we asked the children to change, and we got, what we consider, some pretty exciting results — it has been fantastic,” added Raylene A. Reimer, PhD, RD, professor and researcher in the Faculty of Kinesiology at University of Calgary, who led the study.
Why it matters...
This is the first randomized controlled study to look at changes in gut microbial composition with prebiotic intervention in children who are overweight and obese. Excess weight in childhood tends to persist into adulthood and is an early risk factor for obesity-associated morbidity and mortality, highlighting the importance of early intervention.
The findings from this study provide a promising foundation for further research among a broader population. Meanwhile prebiotics are inexpensive and noninvasive and are an easy treatment in overweight or obese children that can safely be used even before further research is done. Read the full report here
So what is Prebiotic and where does it come from?
Prebiotics are indigestible dietary fibers that probiotic bacteria use as a source of fuel to flourish, grow and proliferate. Made up of non-living organic matter, prebiotics are basically the main food source that nourishes the beneficial bacteria lining your gut. Since the 1990's when the term Prebiotic was coined, numerous studies have shown that maintaining adequate prebiotic intake has many potential benefits that include:
- Decreasing pathogenic gut bacteria
- Building and strengthening healthy gut flora
- Improving bowel movement regularity
- Maximizing dietary mineral absorption (especially calcium and magnesium)
- Increasing immune factors
- Enhancing control of appetite
And we might also add, combating childhood obesity.
For a deeper dive into which foods contain prebiotic fiber, read, Prebiotic fiber (What it is and where to find it). Or if you'd like to learn more about the monumental benefits of dietary fiber to your wellbeing, read 8 Great Reasons to Get More Prebiotic Fiber In You.