Already have an account?
Get back to the
Weight Loss

Prebiotics for Weight Loss: How the Fiber Is Helping Women Over 50 Get Slim Faster

Bonus: Studies show it also helps tame stress, improves sleep and balances blood sugar!

Good news for anyone sick of fighting that stubborn fat that piles up around our middle as we age: There’s a way to get rid of it without so much hard work. How? It turns out that ‘feeding’ fiber to the bacteria in the GI tract can help the body automatically shed ab flab. “The latest research is blowing the minds of doctors and scientists,” says Lose Your Belly Diet author Travis Stork, MD. A board-certified emergency medicine physician, he became focused on prebiotics after they worked better than traditional medicine to ease his own chronic GI trouble. He also lost 20 pesky pounds and resolved to pay his good fortune forward. Read on for simple tips for how you can use prebiotics for weight loss and make wellness soar.

What are prebiotics?

Mostly we hear about probiotics, the live microbes in food or supplements that bolster good bacteria already in our GI tracts. “Prebiotics are any type of soluble fiber,” explains Dr. Stork. “In the gut, soluble fiber turns to a gel-like food for good bacteria.” Without prebiotics, good bacteria die off and can’t help us do things like digest food, fight viruses and control blood sugar.

Top sources of prebiotics include onions, beans and greens, but most plants contain at least some prebiotic fiber. And we need lots of prebiotics to help good bacteria — and ourselves — thrive. (Click through to learn more about prebiotics vs. probiotics.)

What happens when we boost prebiotic intake?

Research shows that over 90% of us don’t get the bare minimum of fiber we need (either soluble fiber or the insoluble kind, which does important things like sweeping toxins from our systems). “If we start asking ‘How can I get more fiber in this meal’ when we eat, I believe we’d see a huge difference in our ability to stay healthy and maintain a healthy weight,” says Dr. Stork. “But in the real world, it can be tough.” (Click through to learn how viscous fiber boosts weight loss.)

To help, he worked with a lab to create a supplement loaded with prebiotics that you can stir in any drink. It’s already helping women like Verneal Dalton, 59. “I lost 10 pounds in three weeks and I could hardly believe it,” shares the New York retiree. And her husband jokes that she now has a lot more energy for shopping. Dr. Stork says this is just one example of how well women over age 50 can respond to extra prebiotics.

Resistant dextrin: A prebiotic super-fiber

Getting as wide a variety of prebiotics as you can from food or supplements promotes the growth of many different types of good bacteria that’ll help you in unique ways. So Dr. Stork’s GutRhythm brand contains a nice blend. But one of its prebiotic components is a standout. Called resistant dextrin, it’s a prebiotic fiber made from corn or wheat to create lots of food for good bacteria. Says Dr. Stork: “I learned about how great it is from scientists who spend their lives in the lab.”

Consider this: One study found a daily dose of resistant dextrin (also in supplements like Benefiber) cut hunger up to 800 calories a day. And folks given the most resistant dextrin lost 8.8 times more weight than those given the least. Plus, it’s shown to significantly decreases belly-fattening cortisol levels and, likely due to lower levels of stress hormones, significantly improves quality of sleep. It has also been shown to improve insulin resistance and inflammation. (Click through to learn how prebiotic fiber improves mood.)

Separate studies show resistant dextrin significantly lowers belly-fattening blood-sugar and stress hormone levels. No wonder postmenopausal women who sipped tea mixed with the special prebiotic fiber shrunk their waist up to 28 times faster than women given plain tea.

Related: Are Prebiotic Sodas Good for You? Top Doctors Weigh In

How prebiotics enhance over 50 weight loss

From blood sugar and stress to inflammation and insomnia, prebiotics have been shown to improve many belly-plumping issues that tend to worsen as we age. Also key: While our bodies get older, bacteria only live about 20 minutes. So they’re constantly brand-new. And Harvard research shows we only need to switch to a prebiotic-rich diet for about 24 hours before good bacteria surge.

“You should start feeling better in two, three days,” says Dr. Stork. “You get game-changing results that last.” He recommends at least one fiber-rich food per sitting. Consider a daily prebiotic supplement after talking to your doctor.

Prebiotics for weight loss success: Diana Sellers, 66

After leaning heavily on comfort food for decades, Diana Sellers’ weight slowly crept up to 245 pounds. Her list of health issues grew: arthritis, prediabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol. “My body hurt,” shares the Missouri grandmother.

So Diana joined her local TOPS weight-loss support group. They encouraged her to experiment. She found that cycling between higher- and lower-carb days helped — and so did prebiotics.

In addition to aiming for plenty of fiber from veggies and nuts, Diana added prebiotic-spiked drinks and prebiotic and probiotic supplements. “It helps with hunger, and I think my system burns calories better,” she shares. “I couldn’t lose weight before, and now it’s like my body is working to help me get healthy.” Diana even enjoyed weekly indulgences like fried chicken or pizza as the numbers on the scale kept going down. In about a year, she dropped 73.6 pounds. She’s no longer in pain and got off four meds. “Please don’t think you’re too old to turn your health around. I’m 66 and this worked for me!”

Prebiotics for weight loss results: Jamie Leiss, 57

Before and after photos of Jamie Leiss who dropped 104 lbs with the help of prebiotics for weight loss
Emily Taylor Photograph

Jamie Leiss had struggled with weight since she was a kid. By 41, she’d developed arthritis so severe, she had gastric bypass in hopes of taking pressure off her achy joints. It worked at first, “but as I got closer to 50, it was too hard to keep the weight off,” says the Pennsylvania grandmother. Jamie was on her way to regaining every ounce.

How did she end up eating meals loaded with prebiotics for weight loss? A friend’s success inspired her to try a weight-loss program that infuses its ready-made foods with prebiotics and probiotics. She also learned to make her own meals loaded with fiber-rich veggies. She ended up 104 pounds lighter, and after multiple joint replacements, her body seemed to heal like it never had before. Today at age 57, she’s convinced: “Gut health is huge. Before, I tried everything and nothing helped. Now my mood is better, my brain fog is gone, my sleep is better. I went from barely being able to walk to going 10,000 steps a day.” Her advice to others: “This could be the thing that helps you. Just start wherever you are today!”

Prebiotic-rich meals for weight loss

To get lean and healthy Dr. Stork’s way, consider a prebiotic supplement and begin building meals and snacks around fiber-rich plant foods. Emphasize prebiotic superstars like asparagus, onion, garlic, greens, beans, tomato, banana and berries. (Click through to learn more about prebiotic foods.) At each sitting, add moderate servings of lean protein and healthy fat. To speed slimming, eat beans freely but limit other starches to 1–3 servings daily. Check out the prebiotic-packed ideas below for inspiration.

Breakfast: Blitz 8 oz. Greek yogurt or kefir, 1 banana, 1 cup frozen berries, handful greens, 1 tsp. honey and fresh/dry mint to taste.

Lunch: Toss chickpeas, chopped tomato, onion and apple with lemon juice, olive oil, goat cheese and seasoning to taste.

Dinner: Make restaurant-style fajitas using shrimp, peppers, onion, olive oil, fajita seasoning and desired toppings

Bonus recipe: Pasta that slims!

Plate of pasta topped with prebiotic rich peas and asparagus
Joff Lee/Getty

This delicious prebiotic-rich dish comes together in just 30 minutes. Serves 6.


  • 1 (16 oz.) box bean-based pasta
  • 4 cups assorted raw veggies, such as asparagus, onion and broccoli, in bite-size pieces
  • 10 oz. frozen peas, thawed
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 8 oz. jarred pesto
  • 6 oz. cooked chicken breast


  1. Cook pasta per package directions; drain and set aside.
  2. Toss veggies with olive oil and seasoning to taste; roast at 425ºF until tender, 16 minutes.
  3. Combine all ingredients over medium heat until heated through. Garnish with Parmesan.

This content is not a substitute for professional medical advice or diagnosis. Always consult your physician before pursuing any treatment plan.

A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.

For more on healing the gut for weight loss, check out these stories:

Nutrition Pro: Hidden Food Sensitivities May Stall Weight Loss — This Gut Healing Diet Can Help

Aloe Vera Juice: Top Doc Reveals How It Heals a Gut Glitch to Make Weight Loss Effortless

Yeast Overgrowth Can Make It Hard for Women Over 50 to Lose Weight — MD’s Candida Diet Heals as It Slims

Use left and right arrow keys to navigate between menu items. Use right arrow key to move into submenus. Use escape to exit the menu. Use up and down arrow keys to explore. Use left arrow key to move back to the parent list.