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Dairy Helps Build Muscle Mass While You Shed Unwanted Fat

For people trying to lose weight, loss of muscle mass can be a real issue. How can you make sure to drop dangerous belly fat without losing the muscles you need to stay in shape and healthy? Researchers from McMaster University in Canada say that a high dairy, high protein diet paired with regular exercise will help you do just that.

The research was published in the Journal of Nutrition on August 1, 2011.

The study group included 90 premenopausal obese and overweight women. The participants were broken up into three groups: one following a high protein, high dairy diet; one following an adequate protein, medium dairy diet; and one following an adequate protein, low dairy diet.

Over the course of four weeks all of the participants exercised daily, completing five days of aerobic training and two days of circuit weightlifting each week. At the end of the study period, the low dairy group lost 1.5 lbs of muscle, the medium dairy group showed no loss in muscle mass, and the high dairy group gained 1.5 lbs of muscle. Additionally, the high protein, high dairy group lost twice as much belly fat as the low dairy group.

The scientists believe the mechanism behinds these results is the amino acid leucine, which is present in dairy products. Leucine helps protein molecules form, creating new muscles. They also pointed out that the calcium in milk combines with intestinal fat to create a “biological soap,” flushing the fat out of the intestine instead of absorbing it into the intestinal walls.

If you’re thinking about adding dairy to your diet to aid with weight loss, try to stick to the low fat dairy products, as too much high fat dairy could reverse the positive effects seen here. Also be sure to incorporate regular exercise into your daily routine.

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