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Yogurt Consumption Helps Reduce Weight, Body Fat

Recent studies have shown that calcium intake plays a role in weight loss, especially when the source of calcium comes from dairy products. To further assess this, researchers studied 38 otherwise healthy obese adults to determine if yogurt would induce calorie restriction, thereby accelerating weight and fat loss.

Study subjects were randomized into two outpatient regimented dietary groups for a period of 12 weeks. The yogurt-diet group's food intake consisted of 500 fewer calories per day than assessed at baseline; three 6-ounce servings of fat-free yogurt; and a calcium intake of 1,100 mg per day.

The control group's diet consisted of 500 fewer calories per day than assessed at baseline; 0-1 servings of dairy products per day; 400-500 mg of calcium per day; and three servings of a sugar- and calcium-free, prepackaged flavored gelatin, as placebo. In both groups, calcium came from food sources. Body weight, body fat, fat distribution, blood pressure and circulating lipids were measured at baseline and at the conclusion of the 12-week study.

The researchers found that "all participants lost body weight and body fat due to the daily energy deficit of 500 kcal/day. However, both weight and fat loss were significantly increased by the yogurt diet compared to the control diet." The researchers note that lean tissue loss was reduced by 31 percent on the yogurt diet, while trunk fat loss was augmented by 81 percent on the yogurt diet vs. the control diet, resulting in "a markedly greater reduction in waist circumference," and the amount of fat lost from the trunk was higher in those on the yogurt diet.

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Zemel MB, Richards J, Milstead A, et al. Dairy augmentation of total and central fat loss in obese subjects. International Journal of Obesity 2005;29:391-397.