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A New Way to Lose Weight

A new study from Brazil published in the August 2008 issue of the journal Nutrition found that not getting enough calcium in your diet may make it harder to lose weight. Milk and other dairy products are our main sources of dietary calcium.

Researchers from the University of Sao Paulo recruited 1,459 adults age 20-59 to study how calcium affects obesity.

Nearly 30 percent of the participants were overweight and 13 percent were considered obese. Obesity is defined as having a Body Mass Index (BMI) over 30 and overweight is associated with a BMI between 25-30.

In the study, each participant was given a questionnaire in order to measure physical activity levels and general lifestyle habits. Participants were then asked to recall what they ate each day.

After reviewing the data, researchers identified that the average intake of calcium was 448 mg per day. They found that people who consumed the lowest amount of calcium per day (under 265 mg per day) were 24 percent more likely to be obese than those who consumed the highest amounts (594mg per day).

The researchers noted that the association between calcium consumption and lower body weight was likely attributed to two factors. The first is that calcium seems to inhibit fat absorption by binding to and removing fats from the intestines. The second is that calcium may have an effect on certain hormones that play a role in fat buildup in cells.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Obesity Task Force, nearly a quarter of US citizens and almost 300 million people worldwide suffer from obesity today.

Only about 20 percent of Americans consume the recommended daily value of calcium. Calcium has been shown to aid bone health, help with weight loss, skin health, and reducing the risk of ccolorectal cancer and stroke. Some studies have even suggested that calcium intake is associated with longevity.

Consuming more low fat and non-fat dairy products, like yogurt and skim milk, is an easy way to get your daily dose of calcium because they are relatively inexpensive and easily absorbable.
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