Navigating through all the different diets available can seem like hacking your way through a jungle with a machete.
Dairy councils in the U.S and Israel would like you to think so, and a recently published industry-sponsored study by researchers at Harvard University, Leipzig University in Germany and Ben-Gurion University in Israel found that higher levels of vitamin D in blood and an increase in dietary calcium from dairy products were associated with a mild increase in weight loss over two years.
Of note: the amount of weight loss attributed to higher dairy intake or higher blood levels of vitamin D was a little under 5 pounds over a 2-year period and the amount of dairy calcium consumed was modest, a little over 500 milligrams per day, equal to about 2 glasses of milk.
An earlier study at the Mayo Clinic found that increasing dietary calcium from 800 milligrams a day to 1400 milligrams per day had no effect on weight loss in people on a low calorie diet. (Get free healthy updates in your inbox, sign up for our newsletter below.)
Obes Res. 2005 Aug;13(8):1344-53.
Effect of energy-reduced diets high in dairy products and fiber on weight loss in obese adults.
Thompson WG, Rostad Holdman N, Janzow DJ, Slezak JM, Morris KL, Zemel MB.
Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Medicine, Division of Preventive and Occupational Medicine, Rochester, MN 55905, USA. Thompson.Warren@mayo.edu
OBJECTIVE: Studies suggest that high-dairy and high-fiber/low-glycemic index diets may facilitate weight loss, but data are conflicting. The effects on weight loss and body fat of a high-dairy diet and a diet high in dairy and fiber and low in glycemic index were compared with a standard diet.
RESEARCH METHODS AND PROCEDURES: Ninety obese subjects were recruited into a randomized trial of three diets designed to provide a calorie deficit of 500 calories/d over a 48-week period. The study compared a moderate (not low)-calcium diet with a high-calcium diet.
RESULTS: Seventy-two subjects completed the study. Significant weight and fat loss occurred with all three diets. A diet with 1400 mg of calcium did not result in greater weight (11.8 +/- 6.1 kg) or fat (9.0 +/- 6.0 kg) loss than a diet with 800 mg of calcium (10.0 +/- 6.8 and 7.5 +/- 6.6 kg, respectively). A diet with 1400 mg of calcium, increased fiber content, and fewer high-glycemic index foods did not result in greater weight (10.6 +/- 6.8 kg) or fat (8.5 +/- 7.8 kg) loss than the standard diet with 800 mg of calcium. Lipid profile, high-sensitivity C-reactive protein, leptin, fasting glucose, and insulin improved significantly, but there were no significant differences between the experimental diets and the control diet.
DISCUSSION: We found no evidence that diets higher than 800 mg of calcium in dairy products or higher in fiber and lower in glycemic index enhance weight reduction beyond what is seen with calorie restriction alone.