(photo credit: Bob Fila/KRT/MCT)
Daily drinking of generous servings of milk or eating milk products that are
rich in calcium and vitamin D can help you lose weight better than any diet that
excludes such dairy components or includes only a minimum of them.
surprising fact was revealed by Ben-Gurion University of the Negev researchers,
who published their study in the latest issue of the American Journal of
Regardless of the diet, researchers found that study
participants with the highest dairy calcium intake – about 580 mg. of dairy
calcium or 340 grams of milk or other dairy products – lost about six kg. by the
end of the two years of this diet.
In comparison, those with the lowest
dairy calcium intake averaging about 150 mg. dairy calcium, or about half of a
glass, lost only three kg. on average.
Beyond calcium, the researchers
also found that blood levels of vitamin D independently affected weight loss
success. Vitamin D levels increased among those who lost more weight.
dietary intervention study also confirmed other research that overweight
participants have lower blood levels of vitamin D.
In the US and many
other Western countries, milk and milk products are enriched with vitamin D. In
Israel however, despite years of promises by the Health Ministry, only
one-percent-fat milk is required to have vitamin D added; there is higherfat
milk in cartons that is also enriched with the vitamin, but the prices are
significantly higher even though the vitamin is cheap. One can also enrich one’s
diet with vitamin D drops bought in pharmacies and health food
More than 300 overweight men and women aged 40 to 65 participated
in the study evaluating low-fat, Mediterranean or low-carbohydrates diets for
two years. Senior lecturer Dr. Danit Shahar, of the Beersheba University’s
Daniel Abraham Center for Health and Nutrition and the Faculty of
Health Sciences, led the study. It was part of the Dietary Intervention
Randomized Control Trial (DIRECT) conducted at Israel’s Nuclear Research
“It was known that overweight people had lower levels of serum
vitamin D, but this is the first study that actually shows that serum Vitamin D
increased among people who lost weight. This result lasted throughout the two
years that the study was conducted, regardless of whether they were on a
lowcarb, low-fat or Mediterranean diet,” said Shahar.
Vitamin D increases
calcium absorption in the bloodstream and in addition to sun exposure can be
obtained from fortified milk, fatty fish and eggs. Israelis and Americans
generally consume less than the recommended daily requirement of Vitamin D found
in four glasses of milk (400 international units).
The study was
supported by the Health Ministry, the Israel Dairy Council, the Chief
Scientist’s Office in the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Employment, the German
Research Foundation and the Dr. Robert and Veronica Atkins Research Foundation.