Dairy Products and Weight Loss

Dairy products are a good source of vitamin D and calcium and these are important nutrients. Milk, cheese, and yogurt may make it easier to lose those extra pounds, breakdown fat cells faster, and burn fat without cutting back drastically on calories. They’re low fat. Obese adults who ate a high-dairy diet lost significantly more weight and fat than those who ate a low-dairy diet containing the same number of calories.

The calcium in these foods may actually help you lose weight. Calcium is a critical factor in controlling what your body does with calories, and dairy is an even more critical factor. Calcium provides small increases in thermogenesis, the body’s core temperature, Zemel explains. This creates a metabolism boost, which prompts our bodies to burn fat.

Increasing dietary calcium could increase the loss of weight and body fat by 50 to 70 percent.Research showed that a high level of calcium limits the ability of fat cells to acquire and store fat during periods of overconsumption (i.e., Christmas dinner) and accelerates fat and weight loss during caloric restriction. If you compare a dairy-rich versus a dairy-poor diet you can nearly double the rate of weight and fat loss with the same level of calorie restriction.

To get these weight-loss results, researchers suggest you get about 1,200 mg of calcium a day, which is about three glasses of milk or 3 to 4 servings of low-fat, calcium-rich foods. Conveniently, that’s the same amount of calcium that the USDA already recommends for adult minimum consumption.

“Two glasses of milk each day will help lose weight,” reported the Daily Express. The newspaper said that “adults who drank the most milk – almost two glasses a day – and had the highest vitamin D and calcium levels, lost an average of almost 12lb after two years.”

It’s important to include some  dairy products like milk, cheese and yogurt in the diet as they are packed with  essential nutrients that help to keep us healthy. As well as being good sources  of protein, zinc and some B vitamins, dairy products are one of the main  sources of calcium in the diet, a mineral that helps to build strong, healthy  bones.

Calcium-fortified foods such as orange juice and cereal may be convenient, but these synthetic sources of calcium are not absorbed as efficiently as nature’s preferred calcium source of dairy products, which also deliver a whole host of beneficial vitamins and minerals from riboflavin to vitamins A and D. And to make good news even better, recent studies have shown calcium may reduce high blood pressure, ease PMS symptoms and possibly lower the risk of developing colon cancer. Dairy products contain high quality proteins that help suppress appetite.

Keep in mind that many dairy products are high in calories which could hinder weight loss. The best plan may be to eat more low fat dairy products in the context of a calorie controlled diet. There are now plenty of low fat alternatives available, such as  skimmed or semi-skimmed milk, low-fat yogurts and reduced-fat cheeses. A pint of low fat skimmed milk, for example,  contains just 190 calories and 0.6g fat! Switching to low-fat dairy  products doesn’t mean you’ll get less calcium either. In fact low fat milk  actually contains slightly more calcium than full fat milk.

Better still, most of this weight is lost from the waist, which not only makes  us look slimmer but also reduces the risk of diseases such as heart disease and  type 2 diabetes.

Taking calcium supplements may also offer some benefits for those who are deficient in calcium; but it’s best to get calcium from natural food sources whenever possible. Some recent studies have questioned the use of calcium supplements after a study showed an increase in risk in heart attack risk in older women who took them. Until this issue is clarified, get calcium from food sources such as dairy products instead of supplements.

The current RDA/RNI for calcium is 1000mg/day for those 19 to 50 years, and 1200mg/day for those 51 years and above. To get this you should aim for 2-3 servings of dairy foods each day.

A serving is equal to:

1 cup (8 fl oz) of milk 
1 cup of yogurt 
1.5 oz of cheese (such as Cheddar)

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