Benefits of dairy and calcium during weight loss

Researchers investigated the changes that take place on low-calorie diets in combination with either low-fat dairy foods or calcium plus vitamin D supplements.

They recruited 135 overweight or obese, early postmenopausal women for a 6 month calorie-restricted weight loss study complemented with either low-fat dairy foods (4-5 servings per day) or calcium plus vitamin D supplements; both to amount to a total of about 1,500 mg/day of calcium and 600 IU/day of vitamin D, or placebo pills. 

Participants on average lost about 7 pounds of body weight (3% fat tissue, and 2% lean tissue). The dairy group had significantly better body composition results (fat loss/lean tissue preservation) when compared to the placebo group. The supplement group had significantly better bone mineral density results when compared to placebo.

Discussing the findings, researchers suggested to increase low-fat dairy foods to 4–5 servings/day and to increase calcium and vitamin D intake by supplements (in those who are at the borderline dietary intake). They said it may be beneficial for weight loss and weight maintenance and may lead to more favorable bone and body composition outcomes in postmenopausal women.

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