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The Power of Yogurt

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 relationship, researchers studied 38 obese, but otherwise healthy adults to determine if increased yogurt consumption could induce calorie restriction, thereby accelerating weight and fat loss.

Study subjects were randomized into two dietary groups for comparison. Each participant in the yogurt-diet group consumed 500 fewer calories per day than assessed at baseline, and ate three 6-ounce servings of fat-free yogurt; overall daily calcium intake for members of this group was 1,100 mg. Participants in the control group also consumed 500 fewer calories per day than assessed at baseline, but only 0-1 servings of dairy products; three servings of a sugar- and calcium-free, prepackaged, flavored gelatin were administered daily as a placebo. Total daily calcium intake for the control group totaled only 400-500 mg per member. 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% on the yogurt diet, while trunk fat loss was augmented by 81%, resulting in "a markedly greater reduction in waist circumference," compared to the control group. The amount of fat lost from the trunk region was also higher in those on the yogurt diet vs. controls.

The authors' conclusion: "Data from this study confirm and extend our previous observations that inclusion of dairy products, in this case three six-ounce servings of yogurt, in the daily diet markedly augments fat loss secondary to modest energy restriction and results in a selective increase in the loss of central adiposity."


  • 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.


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