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Dairy may help with weight management

A diet high in dairy calcium may aid weight loss, according to a recent study published in the International Journal of Obesity.

Dr Judith Bryans, Director of the Dairy Council and Registered Nutritionist says: “Previous studies have shown that consuming low-fat dairy, as part of a calorie controlled diet, may have a beneficial effect on weight, but how it may do this is unclear. It has been proposed that calcium may reduce fat absorption. This study therefore investigated the effect of dairy calcium on fat excretion.”

In this study the Danish men and women were given a high-calcium diet for seven days, followed by a one-week break, and then a low calcium diet for a further seven days. The fat levels excreted by the participants during both calcium diets were analysed and recorded.

Low-fat dairy foods were the main source of calcium given to the participants, and the researchers found that increasing dairy calcium from 700 mg/day to 2,300 mg/day more than doubled the fat excreted by the participants. They suggested that the calcium may decrease the amount of fat absorbed by the body and this could potentially lead to weight loss.

Another new study, published in Nutrition & Metabolism, found that consuming three portions of dairy a day, as part of a healthy balanced diet may help with weight maintenance.

The subjects were put on a weight-loss diet for the first three months. Those who lost 10 kg or 10% of their body weight, were then divided into two groups and followed for a further six months to see if they would maintain their weight. The first group ate three servings of dairy each day, while the second group ate less than one.

At the end of the study, both groups had similar weight and body composition despite a greater calorie intake by the group which had more dairy.

Dr Bryans continued: “This is another very positive study, as the researchers concluded that recommended levels of dairy may be included as part of a weight maintenance diet without contributing to weight gain.”
Unfortunately, 1 in 5 men and 2 in 5 women in the UK are failing to meet the recommended daily intake for calcium of 700 mg/day.

Dairy Council