Foods That Interfere with Probiotics
Within all of our bodies, there is a balance of good and bad bacteria. It's not bad to have any bad bacteria present — but when the bacteria falls out of balance and we have more bad bacteria than good, it can have major health consequences. When bacteria is out of alignment, probiotics — supplements with live good bacteria — can help balance things out, improving digestion and gut health, and preventing us from becoming ill due to being overwhelmed by bad bacteria that cause conditions like UTIs and yeast infections.
Probiotics work by having the good bacteria enter the gut and grow there, eventually reducing the present of bad bacteria. Many people use probiotics when they are experiencing issues with digestion, are taking antibiotics, or want to promote overall health of the digestive tract.
While no medical studies have definitively proven that specific foods interfere with probiotics, anecdotal evidence has suggested that some foods are better for probiotic absorption than others, while other foods can have a negative impact on gut health, as thus, probiotics as well.
One 2018 study suggested that the artificial sweeteners in diet soda might kill some good gut bacteria. In fact, artificial sweeteners in general — including stevia and sucralose — can have a potential negative impact on gut health, regardless of how they are consumed.
Processed foods — like pre-packaged chips, cakes, pretzels, crackers, cookies, and fast food like chicken nuggets or instant noodle soups — can interfere with gut health. The additives in these foods support the development of bad bacteria that are linked to poor metabolic health.
Consuming large amounts of red meat can increase the presence of seriously bad bacteria tied to an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes.
If you have a lot of red meat in your diet, chances are that your gut bacterial composition already has more bad bacteria than the good ones. So, if you are taking probiotics, eating red meat at the same time can prevent you from reaping the full rewards of your probiotic regimen.