Weight loss is an ongoing battle for many Americans. A recent UT study
revealed a new ally in this struggle: lowfat dairy foods. These lowfat
dairy products include skim milk, yogurt and cheese.
Calcium from these foods elicits a hormonal response that both inhibits the
body's fat cell production and increases the breakdown of fat, said Michael
Zemel, head of UT's nutrition department.
"We have found that a diet rich in lowfat dairy foods affects the way human
fat cells do their job," Zemel said. "This is good news for all Americans,
especially the 97 million who are overweight and struggling to lose extra
Information from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey
supports the UT study. The survey tracks the eating habits of thousands of
U.S. residents and found that women were 80 percent less likely to be obese
if they consumed lowfat dairy foods.
Zemel demonstrated how calcium from dairy products decreased the number of
fat cells grown in a tissue culture. Another study placed four groups of
mice on diets equal in calories, protein and fat, but with varied amounts
of lowfat dairy foods.
Mice on a diet with half the calories from lowfat milk had a 39 percent
body fat reduction, while those with no dairy foods had a 24 percent
increase in fat. Zemel said calcium from dairy foods worked better than a
calcium supplement alone; the cause behind this effect is uncertain. High
fat dairy foods do not provide the same benefits because of the additional
fat calories in those foods, he said.
Zemel's findings were presented this week at the North American Association
for the Study of Obesity Annual Meeting in Charleston, S.C.
The National Dairy Council funded the study. Council Vice President Jean
Ragalie said dieters should think twice before cutting milk, yogurt and
cheese when trying to lose weight.
"We've known for some time that lowfat dairy foods may help reduce the risk
of osteoporosis, high blood pressure and possibly even colon cancer,"
Ragalie said. "Now we can add to that list the important role lowfat dairy
plays in a healthy weight loss plan."
UT study finds new help from dairy foods
Published: Tue Nov 23, 1999 | Modified: Sat Aug 06, 2005 02:04 p.m.