Weight loss programs are enhanced with calcium rich products, especially from dairy products. Some dieters shy away from dairy products, believing that eating yogurt, cheese and sour cream or drinking milk will undermine their weight loss programs.
Weight Loss Programs Benefit from Dairy Products
But, studies show that eating calcium rich foods, particularly from dairy products, will help weight loss programs.
Myths persist that dairy sabotages weight loss, but science proves this couldn’t be further from the truth. Research shows that those who have deficiencies in calcium hold a greater fat mass and experience less control of their appetite. What’s more, studies have found that dairy sources of calcium — like yogurt, low- or nonfat cheese, and milk — are markedly more effective in accelerating fat loss than other sources.
In one study out of the University of Tennessee, researchers showed that eating three servings of dairy daily significantly reduced body fat in obese subjects. If they restricted calories a bit while continuing with the same dairy servings, it accelerated fat and weight loss.
- Adding yogurt to your diet may rev up your body’s fat-burning engines, speed weight loss, and trim your tummy, according to a new study.
- Researchers found that obese adults who ate three servings of fat-free yogurt a day as part of a reduced-calorie diet lost 22% more weight and 61% more body fat than those who simply cut calories and didn’t bone up on calcium.
- Yogurt eaters also lost 81% more fat in the stomach area than non-yogurt eaters.
- Researcher Michael Zemel, PhD, professor of nutrition at the University of Tennessee, concluded that “Not only did yogurt help the study participants lose more weight — the average weight loss was 14 pounds — they were about twice as effective at maintaining lean muscle mass. This is a critical issue when dieting — you want to lose fat, not muscle. Muscle helps burn calories, but it is often compromised during weight loss.”
Dietitian Kathleen Zelman, MPH, RD, LD., agrees that calcium helps you lose weight. “Really exciting research shows that if you get three servings of dairy daily, you’re not only preventing osteoporosis, but you’re enhancing weight loss. But, she points out that that study only involved dairy products and suggests that there may be a synergistic relationship between protein and calcium.
Here is more information about adding calcium to weight loss programs.
Recommendations for Calcium Intake
Milk ads have taught us that calcium builds strong bones and teeth. But this essential substance does a lot more than that for our health. It’s the most abundant mineral in our bodies and 99% of the amount we ingest is stored in our teeth and bones. Since our bodies don’t produce calcium, getting adequate amounts for foods is a must. The recommended daily allowance (RDA) for calcium ratchets up as we get older. The standard RDA is 1,000 mg per day. That increases to 1,200 mg for women after age 50, and for men after age 70. Skimp on calcium and you run the risk of developing osteoporosis which can lead to falls causing a broken hip and force you to move out of your home.
The remaining 1% of the calcium is dispersed among nerve cells, body tissues and in the blood, and performs many vital functions. This miniscule percentage is so important that in order to maintain the supply, your body will extract it from your bones, setting you up for a weakened skeleton.
Calcium has been called the most essential mineral in our bodies because it is indispensable to maintaining normal physiological functions. Calcium plays a role in constricting and relaxing blood vessels, transmitting nerve impulses, and secreting hormones like insulin. Calcium ions are also necessary to activate the blood clotting mechanism. Perhaps most importantly, without calcium your muscles wouldn’t be able to contract and relax. And that includes the all-important function of keeps our hearts beating in a regular rhythm.
Eat These Calcium Rich Foods
Add these calcium rich foods to your diet. Calcium in any form is good for your body. Some of the top calcium-rich foods are:
- Dark leafy greens like spinach, kale, turnips, and collard greens
- Fortified cereals such as Total, Raisin Bran, Corn Flakes (They have a lot of calcium in one serving.)
- Fortified orange juice
- Fortified soymilk (Not all soymilk is a good source of calcium, so it’s best to check the label.)
- Enriched breads, grains, and waffles
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