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Nutrients. 2019 May 23;11(5). pii: E1157. doi: 10.3390/nu11051157.

Role of Calcium and Low-Fat Dairy Foods in Weight-Loss Outcomes Revisited: Results from the Randomized Trial of Effects on Bone and Body Composition in Overweight/Obese Postmenopausal Women.

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Institute for Successful Longevity, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL 32306, USA.
Nutrition Food & Exercise Sciences, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL 32306, USA.
School of Nutrition and Dietetics, University of Akron, Akron, OH 44325-6103, USA.
Retirement Research Institute, Samsung Life Insurance, Seoul 06620, South Korea.
General Nutrition Centers, Inc., Pittsburg, PA 15222, USA.
Nutrition Food & Exercise Sciences, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL 32306, USA.
Human Development and Family Science, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602, USA.
Faculty of Food Technology and Biotechnology, University of Zagreb, Zagreb 71000, Croatia.


Several studies have investigated the possibility of dairy foods and calcium (Ca) mediating weight and body composition, but a consensus has not been reached. We aimed to investigate weight-loss-related outcomes during intervention with low-fat dairy foods or Ca + vitamin D supplements, both as complements to hypocaloric diets. Overweight/obese Caucasian, early-postmenopausal women (n = 135) were recruited for a 6 month energy-restricted weight loss study complemented with either low-fat dairy foods (D; 4-5 servings/day), or Ca + vitamin D supplements (S); both to amount a total of ~1500 mg/day and 600 IU/day of Ca and vitamin D, respectively, or placebo pills (C). Bone mineral density (BMD) and lean and fat tissue were measured by Lunar iDXA. Serum and urinary markers of bone turnover were analyzed. Diet and physical activity were assessed with 3-day records. Participants on average lost ~4%, ~3%, and ~2% of body weight, fat, and lean tissue, respectively. The significantly better outcomes were noticed in participants in the D group regarding body composition (fat loss/lean tissue preservation) and in participants in the S group regarding the BMD outcomes, compared to those in the C group. Therefore, increasing low-fat dairy foods to 4-5 servings/day and/or increasing Ca & vitamin D intake by supplements (in those who are at the borderline dietary intake) may be beneficial for weight loss/maintenance and may lead to more favorable bone and body composition outcomes in postmenopausal women during moderate weight loss.


body composition; body fat; bone; calcium and vitamin D supplements; low-fat dairy foods; muscle mass; weight loss

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