New study findings suggest that replacing other foods with a few daily servings of yogurt may help obese adults trim their waistlines better than calorie cutting alone. These most recent findings add to recent evidence linking calcium and dairy foods to a slimmer waistline, including research showing that children and teens who get the recommended amounts of milk, yogurt and cheese tend to be leaner than their peers who shun dairy.
Though calcium is believed to be important for maintaining healthful levels of body fat, evidence is accumulating that dairy products may be particularly useful when losing weight.
This recent study had participants follow one of two diets for 12 weeks. One regimen slashed 500 calories from the dieters' normal daily intake and allowed no more than one serving of dairy and 500 milligrams (mg) of calcium per day. The other diet also cut out 500 calories, but included three daily servings of fat-free yogurt, which brought participants' calcium intake to 1,100 mg -- in line with the recommended intake for adults.
By the end of the study, both groups had lost weight and body fat, but those in the yogurt group shed 61 percent more in fat pounds, as well as 81 percent more abdominal fat. They also held on to more lean muscular body tissue compared with men and women in the low-calcium group.
It is thought that calcium may keep body fat in check through effects on hormones that help regulate the storage of calories as fat and the breakdown of fat cells. Low calcium levels in the body may result in larger fat cells, and more of them.
It is unknown whether a cup of yogurt and a calcium supplement, for example, produce the same fat loss as three servings of yogurt. However, regardless of these findings yogurt is not a magic recipe for melting fat, and as the weight-loss mantra goes, "calories count."
All research on this web site is the property of Leslie Beck Nutrition Consulting Inc. and is protected by copyright. Keep in mind that research on these matters continues daily and is subject to change. The information presented is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. It is intended to provide ongoing support of your healthy lifestyle practices.