Dairy and Calcium Helps You Stay Trim

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Several studies have shown that having calcium rich diet helps with weight loss. Studies have associated dietary Calcium with weight loss. Calcium has been thought to facilitate fat loss, excretion of dietary fat, the reversal of gradual weight gain, the prevention of fat storage, raising metabolism, increasing high density lipoproteins, and the reduction of kidney stones. New researches has proven obese individuals who ate a dairy rich diet lost significantly more weight and fat when compared to obese individuals who follow a low dairy diet containing the same number of calories.

According to the study reported in the April issue of Obesity Research, eating three to four servings of dairy products a day is more effective for weight loss than calcium supplementation alone with pill or other calcium fortified foods.

In the study, the researchers compared the effects of three different calorie-restricted diets on weight loss in 32 obese adults. The participants were divided into three groups and they reduced their calorie intake by 500 calories per day for 24 weeks. The groups were as follows:

  • High-dairy. Total calcium intake of 1,200-1,300 milligrams per day from three to four servings of dairy foods, specifically milk, hard cheese, and yogurt.
  • High-calcium supplemented/low-dairy. Total calcium intake of 1,200-1,300 milligrams per day made up of no more than one serving of dairy per day plus an 800-milligram calcium supplement.
  • Low-calcium/low-dairy. Total calcium intake of 400-500 milligrams per day with no more than one serving of dairy per day and a placebo supplement.

Researchers say participants were free to choose from fat-free, low-fat, and regular milk, cheese, and yogurt. They typically picked fat-free and low-fat milk and yogurt and regular cheeses, while keeping their overall fat intake the same.

The study showed that all of the groups lost weight, but those who ate the dairy-rich diet lost the most with an average of 24 pounds compared with 19 pounds in the calcium supplement group and 15 pounds in the low-calcium/low-dairy group. This means that the high dairy group lost and average of 11 percent of total body weight as compared to 6 percent in the low calcium and low dairy group. This study also showed that the high dairy group lost more body fat when compared to other groups, particular from the midsection. Excess fat in the abdominal area is linked to higher risk of heart attack and other health problems.

Previous studies have shown that calcium can boost weight loss by increasing fat breakdown in the adipose tissue. Other minerals such as phosphorus and magnesium and Vitamin D enhance the effect of calcium on fat cells, thus increasing fat loss. Also, the protein from the dairy helps preserve the muscle mass and increases metabolism.

While dairy and calcium is very beneficial in weight loss, pay attention to the total caloric intake to achieve weight loss. Be sure to choose the dairy products within your caloric limitations. Be sure to stay active while on a diet to strengthen your muscle and bone mass.

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