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Milk Drinkers May Lose More Weight

Study Shows Milk and Other Dairy Products May Have Weight Loss Benefits

Vitamin D and Weight Loss continued...

"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."

The vitamin D effect seen in the study could be a result of sun exposure as we make vitamin D when we are exposed to sunlight, he says. "Perhaps the people who lost the most weight were the ones who spent the most time walking outdoors."

Katz is not sold on dairy as a miracle weight loss aid, but he does think it can be "a very nutritious choice that provides valuable nutrients at a low cost in calories or unwelcome nutrients such as added sugar, sodium, and harmful fats," he says. High levels of dairy have been linked to increased risk for certain cancers, he points out.

The new study was supported by the Israel Ministry of Health, the Israel Dairy Council, the Israel Chief Scientist Office, German Research Foundation and the Dr. Robert C. and Veronica Atkins Research Foundation.

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