After following women for one year, Indiana researchers
found that those who ate the most dairy -- equivalent
to 3 to 4 glasses of milk per day -- were no more likely
to gain or lose weight than people who took in no more
than the equivalent of 1 glass of milk per day.
These findings suggest that if dairy products have any
effect on body weight, it may take longer than a year
to make a noticeable difference, study author Dr. Dorothy
Teegarden of Purdue University in West Lafayette stated.
"It is likely that the effect of calcium or dairy products
on preventing gain of body fat is relatively small, and
therefore it will take a long time to see the changes,"
"However, a small difference, potentially by consuming
calcium or dairy, may make a big difference over several
years," she added.
Now that obesity has become a major public health concern,
researchers are looking for ways to shrink the nation's
growing waistline. An increasing amount of evidence has
suggested that the more calcium people get, the more likely
they are to lose weight.
For instance, in one study that followed 54 young women
for 2 years, investigators found that the more calcium
women consumed, the more weight and body fat they lost.
However, not all studies have linked calcium to weight
loss, with some showing that it appears to have no effect
on body fat or weight. To investigate further, Teegarden
and her colleagues followed 155 women between the ages
of 18 and 30 for one year, noting their intake of calcium
and whether their weight changed.
Women's preference for calcium appeared to have no effect
on their body fat or weight, the authors report in the
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Teegarden explained that it was "not surprising" that
women didn't lose weight, given that they were all young,
active, and already at a healthy weight. "We expected
women of this age to gain weight," she said. She noted
that the original purpose of the study was to determine
if calcium helps stop women from gaining weight. However,
since none of the women - even low-calcium consumers -
appeared to gain weight, this study sheds little light
on whether calcium has any impact on weight gain, she
"We can definitely say that adding dairy to your diet
does not increase weight or body fat," Teegarden said.
SOURCE: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, April