Dairy is usually one of the first things to be sacrificed when people start a calorie, cholesterol control diet. The jury on dairy seems to be still divided.
The anti-dairy lobby has several explanations for abandoning dairy, while, most scientific evidence and dietary guidelines do include low fat dairy as an integral part of a healthy diet. Interestingly, alongside its commonly known benefits including bone building and extremely valuable nutrition profile (calcium, magnesium, vitamin A, B vitamins and proteins), its role in weight management has been investigated.
Contrary to fears regarding its obesity promoting property, dairy seems to be doing completely the opposite. Calcium, one of the most abundant nutrients in dairy has been found to be useful in weight loss. A recent study reported that people who consumed low fat dairy products had lower body fat percentage and body mass index (BMI) compared to their counterparts.
Another study stated that a diet comprising high calcium foods resulted in an average weight loss of 24.6 pounds (11.2 kg.) in 16 weeks, which is greater than the average weight loss in one year in trials using weight loss drugs like dexfenfluramine, sibutramine or orlistat. (This study was carried in International Journal of Obesity & Related Metabolic Disorders, Sep 16, 2003)
Increasing calcium intake could reduce the risk of becoming overweight substantially, perhaps by as much as 70 percent. Studies state that each 300 mg increment in regular calcium intake is associated with approximately 1 kg less body fat in children and 2.5-3.0 kg lower body weight in adults.
Adequate calcium intake has also been shown to play a role in maintaining blood pressure, blood clotting, and nerve impulse transmission. It may also help in reducing pre-menstrual symptoms and risk of colon cancer.
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