100 lb. Club - Calcium and Fat Loss

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07-12-2004, 01:56 PM
On another thread, the topic of calcium came up briefly and indirectly when Sandi asked how many dairy servings we were taking in, as WW was encouraging 3 servings/day. There's been a lot of research over the last several years on calcium's impact on weight loss -- particularly fat loss. Most of the funding for these studies has come from the dairy industry, understandably. I'm pasting an article that I thought was good and sort of all-encompassing for those who are interested. I do want to remind everyone that dairy is by NO means the only source of calcium, as pointed out in this article. Dark, leafy vegetables, broccoli and more are loaded with calcium. Just an FYI.

Copyright 2004 Priya Shah

Are you dieting your way to bone loss?
Are you aware that the diet you follow may be depleting your bones of essential nutrients and increasing your chances of developing osteoporosis? Popular diets may promise quick weight loss, but calcium and other important nutrients are often missing from the menu, which can lead to bone loss.

And women who consistently limit what they eat to avoid gaining weight may undermine the health of their bones, according to a study by ARS researchers in California. (1)

The study looked at the eating behavior of women between the ages of 18 and 50 and found that those classified as "restrained eaters" had significantly lower bone mineral density and bone mineral content (key indicators of overall bone strength and health) than women who said they weren't concerned about what they ate.

"Exercise and eating a well-balanced diet with adequate calcium, are two of the best ways to keep your bones strong and healthy." advise the researchers.

Calcium is not only good for your bones but can help you maintain a healthy, low fat diet too. There has been increasing media coverage about numerous studies showing that a diet rich in calcium helps reduce body fat.

Why is calcium important in weight loss?

Calcium is a fat burner. High-calcium diets seem to favor burning rather than storing fat. Researchers say this is because calcium stored in fat cells plays an important role in fat storage and breakdown.

Calcium changes the efficiency of weight loss . In fact, study after study has shown that the people with the highest calcium intake overall weighed the least, and the people with the lowest calcium intake had the highest percentage of body fat. (2,3,4)

When overall calorie consumption is accounted for, calcium not only helps keep weight in check, but can be associated specifically with decreases in body fat. A low daily calcium intake is associated with greater tendency to gain weight, particularly in women. (5)

Researchers found that adolescent girls who consumed more calcium weighed less and had less body fat than girls who consumed the same amount of calories from other sources. (6)

Previous studies have shown that a higher calcium intake can block body fat production in adults and preschool children (7), but this was one of the first studies to show that it might have the same effect in body-conscious preteen and teenage girls.

But aren't dairy products fattening?
Some dieters consider dairy products to be fattening, but the evidence suggests the opposite is true.

Consumption of calcium-rich dairy foods can actually help to reduce and prevent obesity. Over 20 recent studies show that milk products actually contribute to weight loss.

A new study in obese adults, presented at the First Annual Nutrition Week Conference, showed that increasing calcium intake by the equivalent of two dairy servings per day could reduce the risk of obesity by as much as 70 percent. (8)

The study provided clinching evidence that calcium in low-fat dairy products can help adjust your body's fat-burning machinery and help keep your weight under control.

In another study, obese subjects placed on a high-calcium diet, with yogurt as the calcium source, showed markedly greater fat loss than those on a low-calcium diet. (9)

Numerous studies have shown that dairy calcium is more effective in reducing body fat than other forms of calcium. (10)

Why does diary calcium work so well?
Researchers believe that other nutrients found in milk products act in synergy with calcium to reduce fat more efficiently.

Glycomacropeptides (found in whey proteins derived from milk) in particular, are known to create feelings of satiety and fullness and decrease food intake. (11,12,13)

Foods that are a good source of calcium include cheese, milk, ice cream, baked beans and other dried legumes, dried figs, broccoli, most dark-green leafy vegetables, and soft fish bones like those in canned salmon.

Disclaimer: If you are under 18, pregnant, nursing or have health problems, consult your physician before starting any weight loss plan. The information here is not provided by medical professionals and is not intended as a substitute for medical advice. Please consult your physician before beginning any course of treatment.


1. Dieters May Lose Bone Density. April 1999; Agricultural Research magazine
2. Regulation of adiposity by dietary calcium. Zemel MB et al. [2000. FASEB J 14:1132-1138.]
3. Regulation of adiposity and obesity risk by dietary calcium: mechanisms and implications. Zemel MB. 2002. [J Am Coll Nutr 21: 146S-151S.]
4. Effects of dietary calcium on adipocyte lipid metabolism and body weight regulation in energy-restricted aP2-agouti transgenic mice. Shi H et al. [2001. FASEB J 5:291-293.]
5. Calcium intake, body composition, and lipoprotein-lipid concentrations in adults. Jacqmain M et al. [2003. Am J Clin Nutr 77:1448-1452.]
6. Higher dairy intake is associated with lower body fat during adolescence. Novotny R et al. [2003. Poster Presentation, Experimental Biology Meeting, April, San Diego, CA.]
7. The role of dietary calcium and other nutrients in moderating body fat in preschool children. Carruth BR and Skinner JD. [2001. T Int J Obesity Relat Metab Disord 25:559-566.]
8. Calcium and Dairy Acceleration of Weight and Fat Loss during Energy Restriction in Obese Adults. Zemel MB et al. [Obes Res. 2004 Apr;12(4):582-90.]
9. Dairy (yogurt) augments fat loss and reduces central obesity during energy restriction in obese subjects. Zemel MB et al. [2003. FASEB J A1088:679.3]
10. Calcium and Weight: Clinical Studies. Heaney, R.P., Davies, K.M., Barger-Lux, M.J. [Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 21(2), 2002, pages 152S-155S.]
11. Cholecystokinin decreases food intake in rats. Gibbs J, Young RC, Smith GP.J Comp [Physiol Psychol 1973 Sep;84(3):488-95]
12. Cholecystokinin antibody injected in cerebral ventricles stimulates feeding in sheep. Della-Fera MA, Baile CA, Schneider BS, Grinker JA. [Science 1981 May 8;212(4495):687-9]
13. Peptides with CCK-like activity administration intracranially elicit satiety in sheep. Della-Fera MA, Baile CA. [Physiol Behav 1981 Jun;26(6):979-83]


About the Author:
Priya Shah is the Editor of The Glutathione Report http://www.glutathione-report.com and the webmaster of http://www.1whey2health.com Visit Natural Weight Loss Tips for more articles, tips and resources on weight loss. http://www.natural-weight-loss-tips.com

(C) Priya Shah

Copyright 2000 - 2004 HowToDoThings.com - all rights reserved.

07-12-2004, 02:05 PM
Thanks for the article Sarah, I have seen several commercials on TV lately that take the same direction of that article. I get most of my calcium from milk. I love milk. But, I think it is great for all those that don't care for milk to much that they can get their calcium from alternative sources.

07-12-2004, 03:19 PM
Thanks for this article Sarah! I was really curious about this and now things are clearer for me. I really have to get more calcium in my diet, the only calcium I'm having right now is Yogourt, and some dark veggies but not nearly enough I'm sure. I should try to challenge myself to have at least 1 glass of Milk per day and see if it helps! :) Thanks again sweetie! I found this article very helpful.

07-12-2004, 04:53 PM
Thank you miss encyclopedia. :lol:

07-12-2004, 04:57 PM
Well, now, you're very welcome, Madame Butterfly. ;)

07-12-2004, 06:10 PM
Thank you so much for posting this! I discovered on my own that a bedtime snack of 2 cups of skim & a piece of fruit did wonders for my weight loss.

I've been told to knock out the dairy b/c of my kidney cysts, but I can't afford to drink 3 cups of soy milk a day, yet.

I think next time I make tuna salad I'm going to use half lowfat mayo, half nonfat yogurt. I will let you know how it goes.

Ivanna B. Skinny
07-12-2004, 10:55 PM
I have a hard time drinking milk. I like it on cereal, but thats about it. Im not a huge yogurt fan either. Im really glad to know that broccoli and such has alot, b/c I eat the heck outta some broccoli! Thank you Sarah for posting this!

07-13-2004, 05:27 AM
This is interesting.......the my eating plan includes 1 or 2 servings of dairy a day, precisely because of the calcium effect. I had never really understood the science behind it though. Mind you, it makes me happy 'cos I get to munch on low-fat cheese.....

09-09-2005, 03:56 PM
Other than consuming calcium through food what about a calcium supplement such as coral calcium or something with a high absorbtion rate on top of eating items with calcium?

09-10-2005, 11:24 AM
I don't like milk so I only eat it on cereal (and then I really just drain the milk off and eat the cereal) and then I use it when I make smoothies.

I used to faithfully take a calcium supplement but had stopped when I got pregnant with my first b/c it has Vitamin K in it (which is something to avoid when pregnant, I had read). But, after tracking what I'm eating with FitDay, I really realized HOW deficient I was being with my calcium intake and now I'm taking the supplement religiously. :)

09-10-2005, 12:04 PM
I've always loved dairy products and don't have much trouble getting 1000 mg of calcium each day without a supplement. I believe, without a doubt, that it has helped me lose weight. First of all, I find dairy products filling and satisfying so they help in keeping me from feeling hungry or deprived. Second, there are lots of great sources that are low calorie.

The good news for those that aren't dairy fans is that calicum can be had through a variety of other foods - tofu is an excellent source, for example.

In the diet industry theorys are proven then debunked and then recycled again. I think this one unique and is here to stay.

09-10-2005, 02:42 PM
Great thread!

The other thing is that if you're including weight training in your exercise plan, you need more calcium. Weight training causes calcium to be deposited in your bones (which is a good thing), but if you aren't taking in enough calcium, you don't have any left over for your nervous system and metabolic function -- which both need a certain amount of calcium to function properly. I found this out the hard way because I've been weight training religiously for 3 years and recently developed Restless Leg Syndrome, which some researchers think may be linked to a deficiency in the amount of calcium available to your nervous system, which results in some of your nerves being unable to function and/or be regulated properly. I don't know if this is "officially" true (I'm not a doctor) but I DO know that ever since I started taking calcium supplements (and eating cottage cheese and yogurt regularly) I sleep much better because my legs don't feel like they want to take off and run a marathon without me :lol: .

Also, I have seen the EXTREME effects of "dieting" and calcium loss in my Mom. Again, this is EXTREME because she was anorexic for nearly 15 years. And now -- at the age of 55 -- she suffers from osteoperosis (sp.?) so badly that her doctor told her she had the skeletal structure of an 85 year old. Back when she was anorexic, she snapped her wrist in two places while WEEDING THE GARDEN. She broke a rib once skiing. Actually, she wasn't technically "skiing." She was trying to adjust her boot buckle in the lift line and fell over -- and her rib cracked when it hit a small Tupperware container of tofu she had in her pocket. She's also broken her back. TWICE.

So get your calcium in ladies!!! Take care of yourselves!!! :)

09-10-2005, 07:11 PM
Thanks for the article. I worry about getting enough calcium, especially now that I'm in my 40s. I drink milk and eat yogurt every day. And eat broccoli. Probably am still not getting enough!

Terrible story about your mother, LB. That must have been incredibly hard for the entire family to deal with.

09-12-2005, 09:06 AM
Ditto on the article, Sarah. I have noticed in myself when I have upped my intake of calcium, the weight loss is much better for the week. :D

09-12-2005, 10:17 AM
Basset -- I too have RLS and take a calcium/magnesium sup before bed along with a vit E and this helps me a LOT in falling asleep... I know I haven't taken a sup before bed when I can't fall asleep.

Thanks for the article Sarah!