Losing pregnancy belly fat

May 8, 2009 3:30:51 PM PDT
They're called probiotic foods. They contain healthy bacteria that heal the body rather than harm it. A new study presented at the European Congress on Obesity in Amsterdam says that these foods not only help pregnant women avoid too much weight gain. They help them lose belly fat after delivery.

Christa Scott-Reed is nine months pregnant. All her weight gain appears to be in her tummy, not the hips or thighs. As a first time mom, she's got some questions about that belly fat.

"What happens to all the rest of it when the baby is gone? Do you just fold it up and put some masking tape over it? You don't know," she said.

For Christa and other pregnant women with the question, there's yogurt.

"I do eat a lot of yogurt. I don't have any brand that I stick to really," Kristina Collado said.

Maybe Kristina should look out for yogurts with live bacterial cultures -- bacteria that normally grow in the intestine.

They're called probiotic foods and the new study says not only can they reduce body fat during pregnancy, but also they can help women lose it around the belly area.

Losing belly fat is hot now. A best-selling diet book says olive oil and other unsaturated fats are the key.

"You're going to lose weight because it's a calorie controlled diet and you're going to lose weight, especially in the belly specifically," said liz vaccariello, editor of prevention magazine.

Not all diet experts agree with the idea, but these oils are healthy. And so is yogurt -- a rich source of protein, calcium and probiotics.

Another recent article says that probiotics like yogurt can control insulin levels and sugar in the blood of pregnant women and the effect lasts 12 month after delivery.

Probiotics to lose belly fat appeals to Latham Thomas, a nutritionist who works with expectant mothers. She speculated on how they might work.

"The probiotics help to restore hormonal balance so that certain cravings may taper off," Thomas said.

One weight loss specialist we spoke to said skeptically that nothing will make you lose weight in one particular body area. On the other hand, he agreed that probiotics were an interesting subject of weight loss research.

The bottom line is all these products -- yogurt, olive oil, avocados -- can be part of a healthy diet for a number of reasons.