I was reading this article on Netscape and thought it was very informative for people who don't realize how beneficial milk and dairy is when loosing weight...
Drink Milk. Lose Weight? Some Say Yes
Drink milk. Eat yogurt. Snack on cheese. Low-fat dairy products may help control body fat, according to the Nutrition Institute at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville.
How? Lead researcher Michael Zemel says that a diet rich in low-fat dairy foods will change the way the body's fat cells do their job. "A diet high in low-fat dairy causes fat cells to make less fat and turns on the machinery to break down fat, which translates into a significantly lower risk of obesity," he explained in a news release announcing the study results. In other words, dairy foods burn fat.
The researchers gave four groups of mice four different diets. The diet with the most low-fat dairy foods had the best results in controlling body fat. To apply these findings to the American human population, the researchers analyzed the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III) data set. After controlling for caloric intake, physical activity, and other factors, body fat was markedly lowered in people who consumed more dairy.
Who benefits the most from a diet rich in low-fat dairy products? Women. "What we found is that women who consumed at least three servings of low-fat dairy foods per day were at the lowest risk of becoming obese," said Zemel. "In fact, there was an 80 percent reduction in risk for any given level of calorie intake."
It's tempting to cut out the dairy foods when we want to lose weight, but when you do this, Zemel says it sends a signal to your body to conserve calcium, which in turn creates higher levels of the hormone calcitriol. It's calcitriol that triggers the production of fat cells. When the calcitriol levels are boosted, fat cells expand and store themselves in the body. Translation: You get fat. But when you eat dairy foods, you get more calcium. And calcium suppresses the calcitriol. That in turn breaks down more fat.
The best foods to eat are real dairy products--milk, cheese, and yogurt--rather than calcium-fortified foods because the real deal contains more vitamins and minerals. Previous research has shown that dairy products also reduce the risk of osteoporosis, high blood pressure, and possibly colon cancer. Now they'll help you lose weight. But do remember this: Drinking milk is not a magic diet. Calories DO count.
Zemel's latest study was published in the Journal of Nutrition.