Boosting calcium consumption
spurs weight loss, according to a study published
in the most recent issue of the British Journal
of Nutrition, but only in people whose diets
are calcium deficient.
Angelo Tremblay and his team at Université Laval's
Faculty of Medicine made the discovery in a 15-week
weight loss program they conducted on obese women.
The participants consumed on average less than
600 mg of calcium per day, whereas recommended
daily intake is 1000 mg. In addition to following
a low calorie diet, the women were instructed
to take two tablets a day containing either a
total of 1200 mg of calcium or a placebo. Those
who took the calcium tablets lost nearly 6 kg
over the course of the program, the researchers
found, compared to 1 kg for women in the control
"Our hypothesis is that the brain can detect
the lack of calcium and seeks to compensate by
spurring food intake, which obviously works against
the goals of any weight loss program," said Angelo
Tremblay, holder of the Canada Research Chair
in Environment and Energy Balance. "Sufficient
calcium intake seems to stifle the desire to eat
more," he added.
Consuming sufficient calcium is therefore important
to ensuring the success of any weight loss program.
According to the researcher, over 50% of obese
women who come to the clinic run by his research
team do not consume the recommended daily intake.
Professor Tremblay and his team have studied
the link between calcium and obesity for several
years. Their first findings, published in 2003,
revealed that women who consumed diets poor in
calcium had more body fat, bigger waistlines,
and higher bad cholesterol levels than those who
consumed moderate or large amounts of calcium.
A second study showed that the more people reduced
their consumption of dairy products over the six-year
period examined, the more weight and body fat
they gained and the bigger their waistlines grew.
In 2007, Angelo Tremblay and his team established
a direct link between calcium and a lower cardiovascular
risk profile among dieters.