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target=_blank>Calcium for Weight Loss
Calcium for Weight Loss
Calcium for Weight Loss
Psst, got milk? Calcium may be the newest weight-loss
secret. A new study provides more evidence that
calcium can fight body fat and help keep your weight
Researchers found that adolescent girls who consumed more
calcium weighed less and had less body fat than girls
who consumed the same amount of calories from other
sources. Previous studies have shown that a higher
calcium intake can block body fat production in adults and
preschool children, but this is one of the first studies
to show that it might have the same effect in
body-conscious preteen and teenage girls.
The study, presented this week at the Experimental Biology
2003 meeting in San Diego, involved an ethnically mixed
group of 321 girls aged nine to 14.
Each of the girls recorded everything she ate and drank,
along with any calcium or vitamin supplements, for three
days. Researchers also measured the girls' physical
activity, weight, and amount of body fat just above the
hipbone -- a measure of abdominal fat.
Not surprisingly, they found that the girls who consumed
more total calories and exercised less weighed more and
had more body fat. But when researchers compared girls
with similar calorie intake, physical activity level,
and size, they found that the girls who consumed more
calcium on average weighed less.
Researchers say most of the calcium in the girls' diet came
from dairy sources, and it didn't take much to make a
difference in their body fat and weight. The study found
an increase of one serving of dairy, such as a cup of
milk or thumb-sized piece of cheese containing about 300 mg
of calcium, was associated with about half an inch less
abdominal fat and nearly 2 pounds in lower weight.
But researcher Rachel Novotny, PhD, RD, says the findings
shouldn't be interpreted as an excuse to add more cheese
and other calcium-rich dairy products to your diet in
the hopes of stimulating weight loss.
"It doesn't mean that just eating more dairy can help you
lose weight," says Novotny, professor and chair of the
department of human nutrition, food and animal sciences
at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.
Calories are still the bottom line
His findings, published in this week's Journal of the
"Calories are still the bottom line," Novotny tells WebMD.
"Does the composition of calories matter? Yes, having
more of them come from calcium-rich foods is associated
with lower weight and lower body fat."
In light of the current obesity epidemic, Novotny says these
findings might provide a new way to help set up children for
a healthy body weight later in life. Although reducing
overall calorie intake and increasing physical activity
are the most effective means to promote weight loss
and reduce body fat in people of any age, she says a
relatively small change in calcium intake might also
lower body fat.
"What perhaps is important about this is that they are in a
period of rapid growth, and because of that growth there is
an opportunity to modify their body composition," says
Novotny. "It sets the stage for future body composition."
High body fat and obesity is associated with many health
risks such as high blood pressure, heart disease, cancer,
Calcium's fat-fighting power is not fully understood
The exact mechanism behind calcium's fat-fighting power is
not fully understood, but previous research in animals
suggests that high levels of calcium in the bloodstream
slow down fat production and help shift the body's focus
from accumulating fat to breaking it down.
Registered dietitian Althea Zanecosky says the old adage,
"like mother, like daughter" usually doesn't apply to
weight control methods, but this study shows that it can.
"As a dietitian, I'm really thrilled because here's a food
we're trying to get them to eat for other reasons, and now
here's this added bonus," says Zanecosky, who is also
spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association.
"Preventing bone disease coming years down road might not be
an incentive for girls," Zanecosky tells WebMD. "But for
those concerned about their weight, this is one more reason
for them to drink their milk because it may also have this
beneficial effect on their weight."
Sneak extra doses of calcium-rich foods into your children's
Zanecosky says it's not hard for parents to sneak extra
doses of calcium-rich foods into their children's diet. As
a mother of two adolescent daughters herself, she finds
the following "tricks" especially effective in her own
Grab a decaffeinated cappuccino with your teenager as an
Send yogurt along with their lunch, as a snack, or have it
for breakfast (no-fat or low-fat versions of many yogurts
are also available for weight-conscious kids).
Whip up fruit smoothies with skim milk or yogurt.
Sprinkle reduced-fat grated cheeses on salads.
Incorporate low-fat shredded cheese blends into dinner
entrees, such as Mexican cheeses on fajitas and tacos,
Italian cheeses on pasta, etc.
If your child doesn't like plain milk, offer flavored milks
such as chocolate or strawberry.
"This is one potentially trendy diet that's healthy. You can
control fat and get strong bones at same time. I don't know
of any other diets can make that claim," says Zanecosky.
"You can't lose anything but pounds."
About the Author
About The Author
Michael Lewis has been collecting articles and information
on Weight Loss and HGH (Human Growth Hormone) and related
health benefits. He has created and edits numerous web
sites about this subject. Michael is a staff writer for
www.ageforce.com and several other websites.
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