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Drink Milk, Lose Weight

Fat-free milk may help keep the pounds off in more ways than one, according to a study published in the July 2009 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Researchers from the University of Western Australia recruited 34 overweight but otherwise healthy men and women for the study.

The participants attended two sessions, separated by one week.  They ate the same breakfast at both sessions.  In the first session they drank 21 oz of skim milk and in the second they drank 21 oz of a fruit drink. Both of the drinks contained approximately 250 calories.

The participants then gauged their level of fullness during the four hours between breakfast and lunch. The researchers found that following the breakfast that included fat free milk, self reported feelings of fullness were much higher.  Additionally, the participants ate around 9% less (about 50 calories) during the lunch that followed the fat free milk breakfast.

The researchers theorize that the satiety benefits of milk stem from its protein content (16% of the daily value per cup), the lactose in milk and/or the thickness of the beverage.

Although 50 calories may not seem like very much, it adds up in the long run.  Studies have shown that Americans are gaining weight as a results of an average increase in consumption of less than 100 calories per day.

The main reason many people are reluctant to drink milk is because of its high saturated fat content, which can lead to weight gain.  However, these findings show that drinking low fat milk may not only help you avoid gaining weight, it may also help you lose weight.

In addition to possible weight loss benefits, milk has also been shown to reduce the risk of osteoporosis, hypertension, tooth decay, and colon cancer.
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