The £1 jar of pickle that could help you lose weight
Why fermented foods have this effect is unclear, but it may come down to their effect on inflammation. Professor Tim Spector, co-founder and author of the ZOE Personalized Nutrition Program Food for Life; The New Science of Healthy Eating (£15, Vintage Publishing) said: “We know from our own epidemiological studies that inflammation and body weight are closely linked and that people who eat fermented foods such as yoghurt are more likely to have a healthy weight.”
Other experts believe the weight loss benefits may be due to increased acidity. “Eating acidic foods, including fermented foods, inactivates enzymes produced in the salivary glands that slow carbohydrate digestion, leading to lower blood sugar and insulin levels,” says Dr. Jason Fung, author of The Obesity Code: Unlocking the Secret to Weight Loss“It helps with weight loss.”
How Often Should We Eat Fermented Foods? “Less and often” is a good approach, says Prof Spector, not least because “we don't think microbes from fermented foods stay in the large intestine for very long”. He personally “eats at least one fermented food every day,” but adds, “We are all different and our responses to foods are unique, so it's important to introduce these foods in a way that suits our own diet and lifestyle.” “.
An easy starter fermented food is natural full-fat (unsweetened) yogurt. “Any brand will do, but watch out for brands that have ‘life' on the packaging,” he says. He's also a fan of kombucha and recently featured MOMO kombucha on his Instagram (momo-kombucha.com).
Other fermented foods include canned sauerkraut and sauerkraut, such as those produced by CULTjar. It's important to check labels — not all store-bought fermented foods are equally good. Professor Spector said: “Avoid foods with added vinegar, which kills microbes, and avoid added sugar, artificial sweeteners or preservatives.
Fermented foods have historically been homemade, are super easy to make, and are inexpensive. “They're also a great way to reduce food waste,” added Prof Spector. “To make sauerkraut from cabbage or fermented leftover mixed vegetables, which I call ‘Tim-chi,' all you need is some chopped vegetables, a glass jar, some spices and some salt, and a little patience.”