Drinking a pint of low-fat milk each day could help double weight loss, researchers have found.
The healthy drink has been linked to halving fat and reducing the chance of type 2 diabetes.
Critical nutrients in milk include calcium and vitamin D, both of which have been linked to weight loss.
About 50 percent of people are deficient in vitamin D and around 50 percent of obese people have a calcium deficiency.
Low calcium levels may prompt the brain to increase food intake to get more of this mineral.
Milk may also be protective against type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome.
Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of problems including excess belly fat, high blood pressure and low levels of ‘good’ cholesterol.
Milk can lower levels of insulin — the hormone that helps control blood sugar — between meals.
Dr Michael Yafi, the study’s first author, said:
“Our findings indicate that obese children who consume at least the daily recommended amount of milk may have more favorable sugar handling and this could help guard against metabolic syndrome.
Worryingly, only one in 10 young people in our study were consuming the recommended amount of milk.”
The study included 353 children who were tracked over a two-year period.
Their milk intake, along with blood glucose and other key measures, was assessed.
The results showed that drinking two cups of milk a day — roughly a pint — was linked to lower insulin levels.
Insulin is the hormone that helps stabilise blood sugar levels, with higher levels linked to type 2 diabetes.
Professor Mona Eissa, study co-author, said:
“The link between sugary drinks and childhood obesity is well-documented.
Vitamin D deficiency has also been connected to this.
By contrast, from a preventive perspective, our pilot study suggests that milk intake is not only safe but also may protect against development of metabolic syndrome.”
At least two previous study have linked milk to doubling weight loss.
The study was presented at the European Congress on Obesity in Vienna (Yafi et al., 2018).