The bacteria that can help you lose weight

Germs haven't always had the best of reputations -- but lately, they've been getting a much-needed makeover, as word gets out that not all bacteria are bad.

Some of them are downright essential!

Now, the latest research shows how the right blend of bugs in your belly could quite literally make one of your dreams come true: It could help you lose weight and shave a couple points off your BMI.

And it can help even if you make no other changes to your diet!

Too good to be true? Not at all! Those bacteria in your belly help digest food.

If they're not doing their job right, you end up with sluggish and inefficient digestion -- leading to extra fat around your middle and a tough time burning it off even if you eat right.

But if you've got a wide range of healthy bacteria working together, your belly will turn into a lean, mean calorie-burning machine.

That's why I wasn't surprised at all when I read in the International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition that supplements with more than one type of probiotic bacteria can lead to real weight loss.

The more strains of healthy bacteria in the supplement, the more of a benefit you can get.

Your gut isn't just powered by bacteria, but by a wide range of different strains -- and the more you have working together, the more benefits you can expect.

Sure, the overall weight loss was relatively small, amounting to just a pound or so over eight weeks.

But that's not bad when you consider that the study didn't even look at diet and exercise.

This means you can drop a couple of pounds without lifting anything heavier than the glass of water you'll need to swallow your probiotic supplement.

But why be happy with just a couple of pounds?

You can do so much better, because the right blend of bacteria in your stomach can help ensure your next attempt at a diet doesn't end in frustration and failure.

Switch to a back-to-basics Mediterranean diet with a quality probiotic supplement today, and the pounds will be melting away by Labor Day.

Just make sure you get the right stuff -- because most of the probiotic supplements out there are worthless, and the little "probiotic" yogurt shakes they sell in the supermarket contain too much sugar and not nearly enough of the healthy bacteria you're looking for.

Look for a formula that contains multiple human-tested strains of healthy bacteria, and make sure you get the right levels. Don't be impressed by millions... you'll want BILLIONS of colony-forming units (CFUs).