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Can Sauerkraut Help You Lose Weight?

How can eating fermented food /sauerkraut help you lose weight? There may well be a link, though further studies need to be carried out to confirm early research.

Though it’s early days, there’s some evidence that sauerkraut can help play an important role in a weight loss regime. Some studies suggest weight can be kept off as long as the fermented food is consumed regularly.

We at Gutsy think that sauerkraut may be a factor in helping you to lose weight, but only as part of a balanced diet.

Avoid the “lose weight fast” diets!

As you will know there are countless diets designed to get you to lose weight “fast”. Many promote a single food as their secret to weight loss or advocate a program that is too regimented to follow for very long. While often successful over the short term, it’s long term weight loss that’s best for our health and wellbeing. Crash diets rarely work.

And that is the key. For any weight loss or health program to succeed, it must be a program that can be adhered to over many years. It’s not a diet as such, but a lifestyle change, combined with regular exercise, that will promote overall health. For more information, check this fact sheet from the Western Australia’s government site HealthyWA.

In this week’s article, we’ll look at the ways in which sauerkraut may help you in the battle to keep off the kilos and help keep you healthy as part of a healthy diet. First though, let’s take a quick look at the obesity crisis and the connected health issues that have been linked to it.

The scourge of obesity-related illnesses

Obesity has played a major role in the health epidemic of our time. The so-called Western diet. Highly processed food, high in sugar, that is energy-rich, may have helped lead the way to a deterioration in our health in recent decades. Obesity has been linked to conditions such as the increased risk of Type-2 diabetes, poor heart health, high blood pressure and osteoarthritis.

Healthy eating is a key way back to better health, according to this report from the Victorian government’s Vic Health program.

“A combination of food system factors (e.g. the increased availability of highly processed, high-kilojoule foods), environmental factors and individual behavioural factors are likely to be contributing to the global obesity epidemic. In many countries, an increase in food energy supply appears to be a key driver of increasing obesity rates,” says the report.

As this study says, we live in an “obesogenic” food environment.

It argues that the easy availability of fast, highly processed, energy-dense foods and drink has lead to “excessive consumption of calories”. We tend to consume more food and drink than we need, particularly outside the traditional three meal times. There are a number of reasons for this, including excessive advertising and easy access to fast, calorie-rich food and drink.

How could fermented food help you lose weight?

So let’s assume that sauerkraut can help you lose weight. How would this occur? It’s possible that, combined with a balanced diet, sauerkraut may be able to help you lose those kilos. There are many reasons why this is possible. 

High in fibre

Sauerkraut contains around 3.1 g of dietary fibre per two-thirds of a cup serving. Most nutrition advice says you should consume more fibre in the diet. Not only does this aid digestion, but it also helps feed the good gut bacteria in your digestive tract. This leads to better overall physical and mental health.

However, eating more fibre also gives you the feeling of being more full, meaning you are likely to eat less. The more fibre and protein that you eat, the less likely you are to snack on fatty, sugary foods in between meals. This is known as the satiety effect and may help you lose weight.

 Low in calories

Sauerkraut, fermented food, and its Korean cousin kimchi are both low in calories, meaning the fullness you will feel from their consumption will not translate into high calorific intake.

Gut bacteria and appetite & fermented food

It has been shown that beneficial gut bacteria will help in the regulation of appetite. This occurs through the release of certain hormones which trigger whether or not you feel hungry. Some studies have shown that bacteria found in fermented foods can help influence when and how much of the “hunger” hormones are released to the brain through the gut-brain axis.

As always, we recommend that you stick to a balanced diet, as recommended by nutritionists, with plenty of exercise. 

However, bear in mind the latest research on sauerkraut and other fermented foods. Consider incorporating sauerkraut into a balanced diet, if you haven’t already. Talk to your health professional to discuss changing your diet. 

But, there are few things you should check if you are interested in incorporating sauerkraut into your diet. One is to check if the kraut has been pasteurised. If so, the good bacteria will be destroyed in the heating process of pasteurisation.

At Gutsy, we guarantee that our kraut and kimchi not only hasn’t been pasteurised but is organic and sourced from local farmers. Our team understands the tradition of making sauerkraut, meaning you will get the finest (and healthiest) kraut possible. 

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