Before writing about probiotic supplements, I need to correct something from a recent post that may have led some of you astray. In fact, after recently reviewing the post, I was surprised that no one responded with questions or concerns. I’m referring to the post about Liping Zhao, the Chinese microbiologist, who lost a bunch of weight by switching to a probiotic/prebiotic diet. At the time, I was immersed in the subject of the metabolic effects of probiotics and simply reported the story as it was told. He changed his diet to a predominance of foods with prebiotic content and also added some traditional Chinese “medicinal” foods which were fermented. The problem with the post was that it promoted the kind of magical thinking that leads so many people astray. “Take this supplement and lose that stubborn fat” or “Buy this (insert wacky as seen on TV exercise device) and watch those pounds melt away overnight.” In the Liping Zhao weight loss story, there is evidence that a change of gut bacteria played a role in disease reversal but that wasn’t all. He changed his eating habits from the consumption of lots of junk food to a diet composed of whole foods with plenty of fiber and also fermented foods. Fermentation, among other things, burns off much of the sugar leaving a food with very low glycemic load. So, it should be clear that the change of eating habits played a profound role in Zhao’s transformation. In preparing to write about probiotic supplements, I certainly don’t want to stoke the therapeutic mindset that we have worked so hard to tear down. Bottom line: lifestyle change for disease reversal and robust health requires deep personal motivation, knowledge and support leading to disciplined action over time. But it’s worth it in more ways than I can count! Yes, there is lots of evidence for tremendous health benefits related to gut bacteria, but, as always, let’s keep first things first!