Fat Calories Still Count
Dairy isn't a weight-loss miracle, says Zemel. Calories still count. But even if you don't restrict calories, taking in more calcium will change your body composition. You're shifting calories from fat to lean body mass. "On the scales, you may not see a change. But we've seen a loss of body fat," he says.
"We need to think of milk as more than a calcium-delivery vehicle," he says. "It's more than just calcium. It's high-quality protein, a collection of amino acids that provides positive effects on skeleton, muscle, and fat."
Zemel's research holds water, says Lara Hassan, MS, a nutritionist with the Cooper Clinic in Dallas. Indeed, "studies are showing that high calcium increases fat oxidation or fat burning, and that results in greater fat loss -- and weight loss if it's a reduced-calorie diet," she tells WebMD.
She cites one study in which obese men consumed two cups of low-fat yogurt a day -- and made no other changes in their diet. They lost an average of 11 pounds over the course of a year, she tells WebMD.
Filler-Up With Juicy Foods
Tomato juice, tomato soup, vegetable soup -- water-heavy foods like these seem to trigger receptors in the stomach that tell the brain you're sufficiently fed, says Barbara Rolls, PhD, a professor at Pennsylvania State University and author of The Volumetrics Weight-Control Plan: Feel Full on Fewer Calories.
In fact, satiety -- that "I'm full" feeling -- is the secret ingredient to weight management, Rolls tells WebMD. "People don't like to deny themselves. They feel a sense of failure when they deprive themselves."
Broth, soups, and juices -- along with whole fruits, vegetables, and grains -- are high in fiber and water content, and low in fat and calories. "If you have soup before a meal, it helps control hunger and you eat less," Rolls says. "Low-calorie soup takes the edge off your hunger." Just be careful not to eat rich, cream-based soups -- they could add calories to your diet, she says.
How it works: Water dilutes the calories in food. You can then eat more for the same calories. When you add water-rich blueberries to your breakfast cereal -- or water-rich eggplant to your lasagna -- you add food volume but few calories, Rolls explains.
Grapes have more water content than raisins. For a 100-calorie snack, you can eat more grapes than raisins. It's just that simple.
Fat has less water than any food element at 9 calories per gram, alcohol is next at 7, followed by protein and carbohydrates each at 4, Rolls says.