Adding more milk, yogurt and cheese to an already healthy and low-calorie diet could help with weight loss and fight obesity, new research suggests, countering assumptions that the high-fat content in dairy products is related to weight gain.
Scientists from the New Curtin University of Technology in Australia studied a group of overweight people and found that when they consumed more dairy products in an otherwise calorie-restrictive diet, they lost more weight, their abdominal fat decreased and their blood pressure declined.
Over a 12-week period, participants were given a low-calorie diet that included dairy products. Those who ate five daily servings of cheese, yogurt and low-fat milk lost more weight than those who ate three servings of dairy products, which is traditionally recommended.
"Increasing dairy intake to five servings per day as part of a reduced calorie diet has never been studied before, and such diets containing high levels of protein, calcium and vitamin D, among other bioactive nutrients, can be an important part of a prudent weight loss or weight maintenance diet," wrote Dr. Chan She Ping Delfos who led the research, which was published as part of her PhD thesis earlier this month.
Dairy products are recognized as good sources of protein, calcium and vitamins and can increase the feeling of fullness and speed up the body's metabolic activity. But when added to a high-calorie diet, consuming more of them will not provide any weight loss benefits, Delfos said.