Calcium, dairy products and weight control
A substantial body of evidence has emerged over the last three years to
support a significant role of dietary calcium and dairy products in the regulation
of energy metabolism and in modulating obesity risk. We first observed an
anti-obesity effect of dietary calcium accidentally, during the course of a study
investigating the anti-hypertensive effect of dairy products in African Americans.
We noted that adding calcium-rich dairy foods (yogurt) to the daily diet resulted
in significant reductions in body fat and circulating insulin (ZEMEL et al., 2000) in
addition to a sustained reduction in intracellular Ca and an antihypertensive
effect (ZEMEL, 1994; ZEMEL et al., 1990). This observation has now been supported
by a number of epidemiological and clinical studies, as well as by recently
published observations from the CARDIA study demonstrating an inverse relationship
between dairy consumption and all components of the insulin resistance
syndrome, including body mass index (PEREIRA et al., 2002).
Michael B. ZEMEL