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Vitamin D and Weight Loss continued...

"Low vitamin D is associated with weight gain, and raising vitamin D is looking more and more like it is able to help with weight loss," says Vincent Pera, MD, director of the Miriam Hospital Weight Management Program in Providence, R.I.

"I am more and more convinced that there is something helpful about vitamin D at regulating weight," he says.

"Milk is a great source of vitamin D, and it is also taking the place of other foods that are higher in fat and calories," he tells WebMD.

"This study is part of an emerging body of research that suggest boosting key milk nutrients like calcium and vitamin D could aid weight loss," says Constance Brown-Riggs, RD, a diabetes educator in Massapequa, N.Y.

"The 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend three cups of milk daily and this study provides consumers another good reason to grab a glass of low-fat milk -- especially if you are trying to lose weight," she tells WebMD in an e-mail.

"A lot of times with weight maintenance and management, there is so much focus on what you should not eat, but we have to look for more tools in the box," says Carolyn O'Neil, MS, RD, an Atlanta-based dietitian and the author of The Dish on Eating Healthy and Being Fabulous.

Milk is chock full of important vitamins and nutrients, she says. "It's rich in vitamin D, protein for satiety, and is one-stop-shopping for nine different nutrients, which can fill in gaps that may be created when cutting back on calories."

Second Opinion

Some weight loss experts, including David Katz, MD, MPH, director and co-founder of the
Yale Prevention Research Center and an adjunct associate professor of public health at Yale University School of Medicine in New Haven, Conn., urge caution in interpreting these new findings.

"This is not a cause-and-effect study," he tells WebMD in an email.

"It may mean the dairy helps with weight loss or it may be that what is not being eaten helps with weight loss," he says. "For instance, more dairy intake may mean less soda intake."

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