Weight-Loss Tip: Add Extra Calcium to a Low-Fat Diet
WebMD News Archive
"Calcium is no magic bullet. What the study says is that ...
higher-calcium diets favor burning rather than storing fat. Calcium changes the
efficiency of weight loss," Zemel tells WebMD.
The human body's metabolism makes weight loss difficult, he explains.
"Many people who stick to a calorie-reduced diet don't lose weight as fast
as they think they should. That's because they activate metabolic protection
... Their bodies sense starvation and hang on to energy -- fat -- more
Too many dieters tend to immediately "jettison dairy foods from their
diet, because they're just sure they're going to make them fat. In fact,
they're shooting themselves in the foot, because they subject themselves to
more empty-calorie sources. They would be better off if they would substitute
high-fat dairy products with low-fat dairy," says Zemel.
Keeping in mind that the mouse study is preliminary, it is very well done
and shows promise, Pamela Meyers, PhD, a clinical nutritionist and assistant
professor at Kennesaw State University near Atlanta, tells WebMD. "But the
calcium amounts the study suggests are effectively equal to what the USDA
already recommends as a minimum for adults," she adds.
While nonfat dry milk was used in this study, few people buy that product,
says Meyers. "Also, there are people who are lactose intolerant who can't
consume dairy products. That's why we need to look at other food sources of
calcium, [such as] ... dark leafy vegetables, salmon, mackerel, almonds, and
oats. ... They also are very high in fiber, which helps in terms of weight
If using calcium supplements, it's important to choose those with added
vitamin D, zinc, and magnesium, which help the body to better absorb calcium,
This study was supported in part by the National Dairy Council.
- According to a recent study in mice, a diet that includes low-fat dairy
products can aid weight loss.
- Researchers say this is because calcium stored in fat cells plays an
important role in fat storage and breakdown.
- Current recommendations encourage men to consume 1,000 mg to 1,200 mg of
calcium per day and women to consume 1,000 mg to 1,300 mg daily.