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Calcium and Weight Loss

Q. I’ve been hearing a lot lately about a connection between drinking milk and losing weight. Can milk really help me lose weight?

A. It’s sure beginning to look that way. There’s been lots of research suggesting that people who get more calcium, especially from dairy products, weigh less and have less body fat than those who get little calcium or shun milk altogether. We talked about the dieting and dairy connection in The Dish (pg. 52), but even more research has come out since we wrote the book, making the link look even stronger. Most studies suggest that milk can help you lose weight if you get 24 ounces (3 servings) every day as part of a reduced-calorie diet. However, some studies have found that only one serving a day can make a difference. Of course, those calories count (80 calories for an 8-ounce glass of skim milk), so you’ll need to make allowances if dairy is an add-on to your diet. Calcium supplements don’t seem to be as effective as getting calcium from dairy. How does it work? No one knows just yet, but one theory is that when you’re short on calcium, a hormonal response is triggered in your body that increases the amount of fat you store and slows down the rate that you’re able to break down fat and use it for energy. Get enough calcium and you prevent that whole unwanted chain of events from taking place.


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