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1 December 2011
Dairy products vital for dieters

Women on calorie restricted diets need to be aware of the importance of diet composition to the maintenance of bone health during weight loss, stress dieticians in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism. The study notes that bone health improvements were best achieved with bone-supporting nutrients such as calcium, vitamin D and dairy-based protein.

In the McMaster University study, three groups of overweight and obese premenopausal women each consumed either low, medium or high amounts of dairy foods coupled with higher or lower amounts of protein and carbohydrates.

The findings, said study author Andrea Josse, demonstrate the importance of diet composition to the maintenance of bone health status during weight loss. "Our data clearly show dairy-source protein is important when aiming to avoid harmful consequences such as accelerated bone loss during weight loss. In our view, young women attempting to lose weight should consume a diet higher in dairy-source protein."

Interestingly, in a previous study from the same research team, there were identical total weight losses across the groups, but very different results for body composition change with the higher-protein, high-dairy group experiencing greater whole-body fat and abdomen fat losses and greater lean mass gains.

The same subjects consuming higher-protein and high-dairy diets for this study also showed the greatest improvements in markers of bone formation, no change in bone loss, an increase in circulating vitamin D levels, and a decrease in levels of parathyroid hormone, which when elevated is typically associated with bone loss.

"Our data provide further rationale to recommend consumption of dairy foods to aid in 'high quality' weight loss, which we defined as loss of fat and sparing of muscle, and the promotion of bone health in young women," noted co-researcher Stuart Phillips. "These women are not only at the age when achieving and maintaining peak bone mass is of great importance, but in whom adequate dairy consumption would offset sub-optimal intakes of calcium and vitamin D."

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Source: McMaster University

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