Natural Foods Merchandiser

Got milk, lose weight

A recent study found that consuming low amounts of dairy versus recommended amounts of dairy had no weight loss advantage in adults. Low dairy is defined as less than one serving per day; recommended dairy as three or more servings daily. The study implies that, at least with dairy, consuming recommended levels is not only efficacious for weight loss and maintenance, but it can provide more protein and calories which may help individuals maintain energy levels and lifestyle.

Scientists from the University of Tennessee and the University of Kansas conducted a randomized nine-month, two-site study on 338 men and women with an average age of 40 years and BMI of 34.5.

The first three months focused on weight loss and the last six on weight maintenance. Primary outcomes measured were weight and body composition, secondary outcomes blood chemistry, blood pressure and physical activity.

Following the weight loss phase and during the weight maintenance phase, no overall differences in weight and body composition between the low and recommended dairy groups were observed. However, the recommended dairy group was able to eat more and burn more energy than the low-dairy group.

"When you converge the data from the two sites, the take-home message is that the people in the higher dairy group were able to consume more calories without gaining weight," said lead researcher Michael Zemel, professor of Human Ecology at UT, Knoxville. "Also, the higher dairy intake is associated with a higher degree of fat burning."

"There have been studies that show that three servings of dairy each day can aid in a good weight management program," said Beth Jauquet, R.D., spokeswoman for the Colorado Dietetic Association. "Consuming low-fat dairy is a great way to get protein without a lot of fat."

Jauquet also said that restrictive diets have worse long-term, weight-maintenance outcomes than moderate eating plans.

"I recommend a non-dieting approach to weight loss," Jauquet said. "People who try fad diets or extreme variation and restriction will tend to gain weight over the long term, but people who set realistic goals and follow the recommended daily allowances for nutrients and food groups will succeed over time."

The study implies that, at least with dairy, consuming recommended levels is not only efficacious for weight loss and maintenance, but it can provide more protein and calories which may help individuals maintain energy levels and lifestyle.

"This was really good news because it shows that, with dairy in their diets, people could eat more without gaining weight," Zemel said.

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