Food & Drink

Can Eating Kimchi Make You Lose Weight?

Is there anything worse than a fad diet? Of course there is, don't be silly. Even so, most fad diets end in disappointment, anger, and acceptance of the fact that you'll only ever be comfortable in pants with elasticated waistbands.

But wait! A new study from South Korea suggests that individuals looking to lose a few pounds may have a new weapon in their fight against flab: kimchi, aka the fermented vegetables ubiquitous in Korean cuisine.

Researchers from Dongguk University and ChunLab Inc. randomly assigned 24 obese women an eight week diet of either fresh or fermented kimchi. The group that consumed the fermented kimchi saw a measurable change in their metabolic processes -- either through altered levels of expression in certain genes, or altered gut microbe composition. 

Now, before you go stocking up on kimchi and fermenting it in your backyard, it's worth noting that the study draws no explicit correlations between kimchi consumption and weight loss. Additionally, a sample size of 24 obese Korean women is hardly what you'd call "exhaustive."

Still, even though eating kimchi alone won't take you from a 42 waist to a 32 waist, adding kimchi into your diet could very well augment the weight loss effects of regular exercise. Toss in the anxiety-relieving effects of pickles and sauerkraut, and you'll be comfortable in a crowd even if you don't end up losing weight after all.


Gianni Jaccoma is a staff writer for Thrillist, and he's not the biggest fan of kimchi. Follow his diabeetus on Twitter @gjaccoma, and send your news tips to news@thrillist.com