Calcium needed to assist Weight Loss
New research shows that calcium -- three or four daily servings of
dairy products -- can help adjust your body's
Affect of Calcium on body weight and fat?
While its true that 99% of the 1.2kg of calcium in the average human body
goes to make up bone tissue, the remaining 1% is vitally important. Calcium is
needed to switch muscles on and off without it no muscular contraction would
be possible and is also vital to the release of neurotransmitter chemicals,
such as serotonin, acetylcholine and norepinephrine. Calcium is also an
important co-factor for blood clotting and activates numerous enzyme systems in
A recent research has hinted at a more intriguing function of calcium in the
body. Although it has long been known that all cells require calcium to function
and that calcium also regulates the transport of other nutrients in and out of
cells, there is growing evidence that calcium plays an important role in the
regulation of energy metabolism and body composition and, in certain
circumstances, may help reduce
body fat and
prevent weight gain. The
meta-analysis of five studies showed that, the calcium-to-protein ratio of the
diet was inversely linked to either body mass index (BMI) or weight change
i.e. a high calcium-to-protein ratio predicted a lower BMI or
weight loss, and
vice versa. In fact, a difference of 1,000mg per day of calcium intake was
associated with an average difference in body weight of 8kg! The researchers
found that women in the low (less than 600mg per day) calcium group had
significantly higher body weight,
percentage body fat, total fat mass, BMI,
waist circumference and total abdominal adipose (fatty) tissue than those in the
other two (medium(600-1,000mg) and high (more than 1,000mg) intake) groups.
Flow chart: the link between calcium and fat reduction
Calcium & Metabolism
get more Calcium in diet
Start your day with a Calcium fortified
cereal, topped with skim milk and almonds.
Snack on low-fat string cheese or low-fat
Top pancakes or waffles with low-fat yogurt
and sliced fresh fruit instead of syrup.
For dessert, try instant pudding made with
Add Calcium fortified fruit
juices to your
meals instead of soda.
Top a sandwich with a slice of reduced-fat
Mix up a fruit smoothie with low-fat frozen
yogurt and skim milk.
If milk is a problem, look for Calcium
fortified soy milk and tofu.
Add steamed broccoli to a
Use nuts, such as almonds, as
snacks or to
add a crunchy texture to foods.
The Food Standards Agency recommends a maximum level of
calcium supplementation of 1,500mg per day, and it would seem wise not to
exceed a combined food/supplement calcium intake of 2,000mg per day
High Calcium Foods
Moderate Calcium Foods
100 - 250mg
Low Calcium Foods <100mg
1 cup plain non/low-fat yogurt
1 cup skim/low-fat milk
1 cup calcium fortified soy milk
1 oz swiss cheese
1/2 cup tofu processed with calcium
3/4 cup calcium fortified orange juice
1 oz cheddar or mozzarella cheese
1 tbsp blackstrap molasses
1/2 cup pudding
1/2 cup frozen yogurt
1/2 cup cottage cheese
3 dried figs
1/2 cup broccoli
1 oz milk chocolate bar
1/2 cup pinto beans
*Be sure to read the food label as the above are
only estimates. Ingredients and fortification may vary.
Too many dieters tend to immediately jettison dairy foods from their
because they're just sure they're going to make them
fat. In fact, they're
shooting themselves in the foot, because they subject themselves to more
empty-calorie sources. They would be better off if they would substitute
high-fat dairy products with low-fat dairy.
Note: Caution is required when considering study results. For one thing,
many of the studies conducted were not specifically designed to investigate the link
between calcium and body composition; for another, there is speculation that
other compounds found in dairy products may act in concert with dietary calcium
to produce weight loss effects, including whey proteins, conjugated linoleic
acid (CLA) and branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs).