Dairy's role in weight loss doubted

September 14, 2005 in Nutrition Topics in the News, Weight Management

Dairy's role in weight loss doubted

While dairy has been in the news lately for its role as a diet aid, recent study findings from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester suggest that high levels of calcium do not seem to boost weight loss beyond the effects of calorie restriction.

Past study findings have indicated that a high calcium intake, especially in the form of dairy products, helps to burn fat and speed weight loss. To investigate whether a dairy-rich diet might help people drop pounds faster, researchers compared three different reduced-calorie diets in over 70 obese adults.

One group followed a standard diet including two servings of dairy each day, the second ate a similar diet but included four servings of dairy daily, and the third group ate a high-fiber, low glycemic index diet that also included four daily helpings of dairy.  People who ate two servings of dairy each day took in about 800 mg of calcium, while those who ate twice as much dairy consumed about 1400 mg.

After 48 weeks on the diet, there was no significant difference in the amount of weight lost among the three diet groups. All study participants lost about 22 pounds of total body weight and about 17.6 pounds of fat. All also showed improvements in levels of blood fats and sugars, but again there were no differences seen among people on the different diets.

Researchers indicated the need for larger trials in multiple centers to more accurately answer the question regarding the link between calcium intake and weight loss.

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