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J Am Coll Nutr. 2011 Dec;30(6):484-90.

Dietary and total calcium intakes are associated with lower percentage total body and truncal fat in young, healthy adults.

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Department of Family Relations and Applied Nutrition, Macdonald Stewart Hall, Room 326, University of Guelph, 50 Stone Road East, Guelph, ON N1G 2W1, Canada.



To investigate the relationship between different sources of calcium intake (dairy [milk products only], dietary [all dietary sources including dairy], nondairy dietary [all dietary sources excluding dairy], and total [dietary + supplemental]) and fat mass in young adults.


One hundred ninety-seven healthy Caucasian men and women aged 18 to 28 years from southwestern Ontario underwent whole-body dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry to determine total body fat mass (%FM) and truncal fat (%TF). Calcium intakes, determined using a food frequency questionnaire, were divided into quartiles for each of dairy, dietary, nondairy dietary, and total sources. Physical activity scores were collected on a subset of subjects (n = 167). Mean %FM and %TF were compared between the lowest (Q1) and highest (Q4) quartiles of calcium consumers for each calcium source. Calcium intakes between subjects with %FM ≥ 50th and <50th percentile were also compared.


Mean calcium intakes were as follows: 568 mg/d dairy calcium, 312 mg/d nondairy dietary calcium, 881 mg/d dietary calcium, 68 mg/d supplemental calcium, and 948 mg/d total calcium. %FM was 3.9%-4.9% lower and %TF was 4.1%-5.0% lower (all P ≤ 0.05) for subjects in Q4 vs Q1, regardless of calcium source (dairy, dietary, and total). When adjusted for physical activity, lower %FM and %TF persisted (P ≤ 0.05) for subjects in Q4 (1113-1595 mg/d mean dietary and total calcium intakes) vs Q1 (116-393 mg/d mean dietary and total calcium intakes). Calcium intakes from dairy, dietary, and total sources for subjects with a %FM ≥ 50th percentile were significantly lower (all P ≤ 0.05); when adjusted for physical activity, dietary (P = 0.025) and total (P = 0.060) calcium intakes remained lower.


Our findings support a relationship, even after adjusting for physical activity, between higher dietary and total calcium intakes and lower total body and truncal fat in young adults. Results suggest an intake of approximately 1500 mg/d calcium could aid in the management of body and truncal fat. We recommend that young adults be encouraged to increase their total calcium intakes to at least the recommended daily allowance of 1000 mg/d for reasons extending beyond bone health.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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