A new weight loss study conducted in Israel has revealed that dieters who consume milk or milk products lose more weight on average than those who consume little to no milk products.
The two-year dietary intervention study, of 300 overweight men and women in middle age, was carried out by Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU). The researchers found that regardless of diet, dieters with the highest dairy calcium intake – equal to 12 oz. of milk or other dairy products, lost about 12 pounds (6kg) at the end of two years.
Dieters with the lowest dairy calcium intake – about half a glass of milk, only lost seven pounds on average.
The researchers, led by Dr. Danit Shahar, of BGU’s Center for Health and Nutrition, and the Faculty of Health sciences, also discovered that levels of vitamin D found in the blood, also affected the success of weight loss treatments. The results confirmed existing research showing that overweight participants have lower blood levels of the vitamin.
Higher vitamin D levels in successful dieters
“It was known that over-weight 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,” says Shahar. “This result lasted throughout the two years that the study was conducted, regardless of whether [participants] were on a low-carb, low fat or Mediterranean diet.”
Vitamin D increases calcium absorption in the bloodstream and in addition to sun exposure can be obtained from fortified milk, fatty fish and eggs. Americans generally consume less than the recommended daily requirement of Vitamin D which is found in four glasses of milk (400 international units).
The study, which was published in the current issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, was part of the Dietary Intervention Randomized Control Trial (DIRECT) held at the Nuclear Research Center in Israel in collaboration with Harvard University, the University of Leipzig, Germany and the University of Western Ontario, Canada.
Some 322 moderately obese people, aged 40 to 65, took part in the study evaluating low fat, Mediterranean or low-carb diets for two years.
In earlier findings, scientists discovered that low-fat diets aren’t the best way to lose weight, but that dieters are likely to lose more weight on a Mediterranean diet, or a low-carb diet.
The study was supported by the Israel Ministry of Health and the Israel Dairy Council, the Israel Chief Scientist Office, German Research Foundation and the Dr. Robert C. and Veronica Atkins Research Foundation.