A War of the Worlds Diet: Probiotics of Course!


…scattered about it, some in there overturned war machines, some in the now rigid handling-machines, and a dozen of them stark and silent and laid in a row, were the Martians – dead! – slain by the putrefactive and disease bacteria against which their systems were unprepared…

It's War of the Worlds week: Dieting with Probiotics

Orson Welles’ War of the Worlds broadcast. Could he get away with that now?

H.G. Wells: The War of the Worlds (Amazon UK)
Do you remember the science fiction novel ‘War of the Worlds’, by H.G. Wells?

I’ve always loved this visionary sci-fi classic, so of course I wanted to ‘honour’ it with a diet!

A search on Barnes and Noble shows so many new versions available: I love the cover art on this Nook Book, (but what are the Student Activities?!)

And I’m very curious about the graphic novels.

In America, The War of the Worlds was made famous by Orson Welles’ infamous hoax radio adaptation. Cheeky monkey.

But for those of us who grew up in Britain in the 1970s and 80s, this progressive rock concept album by Jeff Wayne was our War of the Worlds:

Jeff Wayne: Musical Version of The War of the Worlds
Jeff Wayne’s Musical Version of The War Of The Worlds, Audio from Amazon UK Also find this on Spotify

A bottle of Yakult should take this down: Michael Condron's sculpture of a Martian tripod from H. G. Wells' War of the Worlds, in Woking, Surrey. By Warofdreams  (CC-BY-SA-3.0)

A bottle of Yakult should take that down.
Michael Condron’s sculpture of a Martian tripod from H. G. Wells' War of the Worlds, in Woking, Surrey. Photo by Warofdreams (CC-BY-SA-3.0) via Wikimedia Commons.

I was staying the night with a friend when I first heard it and I must have been about 9 years old.

Who could forget the mad curate? The tragic sinking of the Thunder Child? The weird progressive rock whistling sounds the Martian tripods made? Ooh-laaa…!

I’m very excited to hear there is a new version now, featuring Liam Neeson, Joss Stone, Gary Barlow and others (Jeff Wayne’s Musical Version of The War of the Worlds – The New Generation, from Amazon UK), with a live arena tour coming soon!

For updates, check out Ticketmaster: Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds tour here, and the Jeff Wayne War of the Worlds Tour Facebook page here.

You have to hear it 🙂

But I’m getting distracted again: science fiction is so much more fun than dieting.


How is the War of the Worlds going to help us lose weight?

The same way the Earth lost the Martians: with microbes. Because as Jeroen Raes says in this TED talk,

“You are not human. You are a walking bacterial colony”

It’s interesting that he mentions the roles of birth and breastfeeding in establishing microbes in the body.

But back to diet and weight loss (bleurgh – science is also more fun than dieting!):

According to Michelle Schoffro Cook, Ph.D., author of ‘The Probiotic Promise‘,

“If you want to lose weight, you must address what’s going on in the gut.”

(quoted in that illustrious supermarket-checkout-distributed non-academic journal, First For Women)

For more of the interesting health science about gut bacteria, see “How Gut Bacteria Help Make Us Fat and Thin” in Scientific American, and “How gut bacteria affects your health: What we know, what we don’t,” from MPR News.

And although they aren’t explicitly linked with a weight loss diet, either by scientists or in their own advertising, probiotics do claim to address what is going on in the gut, while being relatively cheap and easy to get hold of:

So, what a happy coincidence that this is the week that Yakult is doing a big taste testing promotion in my local supermarket, King Soopers!


Enter our Probiotic Heroes:

Trying out Yakult for a Probiotics Diet. The Conquering Heroes: 4 Flavours of Yakult

The Conquering Heroes: 4 Flavours of Yakult
Photo by Dezzawong (Own work) (CC BY-SA 3.0), via Wikimedia Commons

I tried both regular Yakult and the light version. Of course I preferred the one with more calories, but I don’t think there’s that much difference between them 🙂

At this point, I should probably mention that, while any links from this blog could be affiliate links, Yakult isn’t endorsing or sponsoring this post (and neither are Jeff Wayne or the late H.G. Wells), and that when I first saw Yakult I thought it looked disgusting.

But it isn’t: it’s actually really nice.

I’ve always like orange flavoured yogurts the best, and regular Yakult tastes like a drinking version of that.

I should also point out that Yakult themselves make no claims about losing weight. What they do say is,

“Only Yakult products contain the exclusive L. casei Shirota probiotic strain. It’s backed by 80 years of research and is great for the whole family!”

And just to clarify, the ‘whole family’ means anyone over 8 months, which is fair enough since there are all kinds of things you don’t feed to babies.

They recommend drinking 1 or 2 bottles daily to help balance your digestive system and help you maintain overall health.

So I did.


Other Foods With Probiotics

Sauerkraut: the 'King of Probiotics?" Ready for Battle!!

Sauerkraut: Ready for Battle!!

I also ate some other things that I’ve heard had probiotics in: I ate fruit with natural yogurt, and I ate sausages with sauerkraut, which I’d heard contained acidophilus (though that didn’t mention probiotics on the jar so I could have been mistaken).

I wondered when the best times to drink the Yakult would be. First thing in the morning? Last thing at night? With meals? As snacks? The leaflet and bottles didn’t say.

My brother, who is a biologist, is quite skeptical about the ability of probiotics to survive stomach acid anyway.

So I ended up drinking them as snacks, and they were pretty good as snacks. I liked them.

They took the place of less healthy snacks, and I wouldn’t mind adding them to my shopping budget on a regular basis.

But for the diet? How did probiotics do? Did they kill my inner aliens? I was surprised:


Results of my Diet: Probiotics and The War of the Worlds

Beginning of the week: 226.2 (I know, ugh!)
End of the week: 223.4

So my easy diet / probiotics week lost me nearly 3 pounds – Hooray for Yakult and the War of the Worlds!

Recommended: Yes 🙂



It's War of the Worlds week: Dieting with Probiotics. Martian Tripod: Now safe, thanks to yogurt drinks.

War of the Worlds Martian Tripod: Now safe, thanks to yogurt drinks.
Photo by Steve Jurvetson (CC-BY-2.0) via Flickr

“For so it had come about, as indeed I and many men might have foreseen had not terror and disaster blinded our minds. These germs of disease have taken toll of humanity since the beginning of things – taken toll of our prehuman ancestors since life began here. But by virtue of this natural selection of our kind we have developed resisting power; to no germs do we succumb without a struggle, and to many – those that cause putrefaction in dead matter, for instance – our living frames are altogether immune. But there are no bacteria in Mars, and directly these invaders arrived, directly they drank and fed, our microscopic allies began to work their overthrow.”

H.G. Wells: The War of the Worlds (Amazon UK)



Will yogurt save us in an alien invasion? Post your comments here…


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27 Responses to A War of the Worlds Diet: Probiotics of Course!

  1. Comments should be here
  2. Probiotics are so important. I love the Yocult drinks :).

    • Me too – I’d never tried them before so I’m glad I did! A friend of mine has a health food business and she keeps saying how great acidophilus is so I often get natural yogurt too.

  3. True…Probiotics is very important. Thanks for sharing

  4. Of course I remember War of the Worlds. I even listened to the radio show when I was little and was obsessed with it. What a fun way to introduce this post.

  5. This is really cool I have never read anything like this before and I love findiing new things to read! thanks so much for posting!

  6. Awesome post! I started taking probiotics about a month ago, and I can already see positive differences in my body.

  7. I like the way you introduced this topic. Probiotics are very helpful–I’ve tried them in supplement form. I will have to try the drinks. Three pounds in one week is pretty good.

  8. Awesome quote and awesome geek tie in to health! Love it!

  9. I’m going to have to read war of the worlds. Did you ever read the Tripod Trilogy? It’s very similar, and made for a great 7th grade year.

    I’m bookmarking this for the links. We love our probiotics! I use Udo’s. More and more is being linked to the importance of gut health. Thanks for the reminder!

  10. I am not much of a reader, but I’ll take ya’lls word for it 😉 Although I am a fan of Probiotics! very important for keeping the gut functioning properly!

  11. I never knew there was a musical version of war of the worlds. Cool.

  12. Such a great post! I loved the TedTalk too. Most of our immune system is in our gut so it only makes sense to get the good vs. bad bacteria in check.

  13. Pingback: Shark Week Food: Blue Soup with Toast Shark Fins and Surfers » Club Adipose

  14. Greetings! Very helpful advice within this post! It’s the little changes that make the most significant changes.
    Thanks a lot for sharing!

  15. I read a news article about a year ago that stated probiotic drinks were useless. So, I’d take their blurb with a pinch of salt. hehe, The best thing to lose weight is to eat less. Here’s the evidence: You didn’t see any fat survivors in concentration camps.

  16. I take probiotic pills and eat yogurt several times a week. I’m a firm believer in them. I haven’t seen those drinks and will look out for them. Incidentally, in 7th grade, my English teacher read the first part of the War of the Worlds script to us in one class – it was chilling and I could so see how radio listeners could have been freaked out. Scary, scary, stuff.

  17. Very nice blog post. I absolutely love this website. Keep it up!

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