Three servings of dairy foods per day is linked to a doubling in weight loss, research finds.
The weight loss may be caused by the vitamin D and calcium contained in dairy products like yoghurt.
People in the studies typically lose weight without major changes to their lifestyle or diet.
One study has found that eating around 3 servings of yoghurt per day can double weight loss.
Yoghurt is rich in calcium, which is thought to aid weight loss.
Calcium signals the body to start burning fat and stop storing it.
Professor Michael Zemel, that study’s first author, said:
“When we put people on diets that include three servings of yogurt a day, we-re able to nearly double the amount of fat that is lost, compared to people on a low-dairy diet.”
The current study included 63 obese African-Americans in two separate randomised controlled trials.
In each one, participants were put on either a high-dairy or low-dairy diet for 24 weeks.
The high-dairy diet involved eating three servings of dairy each day.
This is equivalent to around 1200 mg of calcium per day.
The results of the first trial showed that those on the high-dairy diet lost around 4 pounds while those on the low-dairy diet did not lose anything.
In the second trial, both groups lost weight, but those on the high-dairy diet lost twice as much.
The study’s authors summarise the results:
“This study suggests that three servings of dairy foods per day produce significant reductions in total and central adiposity in obese African‐American adults—an outcome achieved without weight loss or caloric restriction.
We also found that dairy foods accelerate loss of weight and total and central adipose tissue mass secondary to energy restriction.”
About the author
Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology.
He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book “Making Habits, Breaking Habits” (Da Capo, 2003) and several ebooks:
- Accept Yourself: How to feel a profound sense of warmth and self-compassion
- The Anxiety Plan: 42 Strategies For Worry, Phobias, OCD and Panic
- Spark: 17 Steps That Will Boost Your Motivation For Anything
- Activate: How To Find Joy Again By Changing What You Do
The study was published in the journal Obesity Research (Zemel et al., 2012).