The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend a daily intake of three servings of dairy, where milk, yogurt, cheese and fortified soy beverages are included in the group, but many Americans do not consume the recommended amount. A new study indicates that premenopausal women who are dieting need to consume adequate dairy when trying to lose weight to help prevent bone loss due to weight loss.
The study, from McMaster University in Hamilton Ontario, in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, followed 90 overweight or obese women, ages 19 to 45, for 16 weeks. The study consisted of calorie-restricted diets and daily exercise with three subgroups.
One group ate a high dairy diet, one group had a medium dairy and one a low dairy intake. The high dairy group consumed 1,600 milligrams (mg.) of calcium each day, the medium group 1,000 mg. (the current daily recommended intake) and the low groups 500 mg/day. All groups lost an average of 10 pounds, but the high dairy group lost more body fat and less muscle, and they showed better bone formation and less bone loss.
If you are like many Americans and you need to lose some weight, make sure you don’t cut out the dairy foods to save calories. Choose dairy foods that are lower in fat but maintain the nutrition of the dairy group like skim milk or skim milk yogurt and low-fat cottage cheese while limiting or avoiding full-fat cheese, ice cream, cream or cream cheese.
Weight loss is a good goal, but the real goal is loss of body fat while maintaining adequate muscle mass. A healthful eating plan, including three servings of dairy, should be the base of your weight loss plan.