Forget forcing yourself into gruelling exercise regime to shed those extra pounds, for a diet rich in calcium is more than enough to spur weight loss, say researchers.
A research team led by Angelo Tremblay from Universite Laval's Faculty of Medicine boosting calcium intake can aid in losing weight, but only in people whose diets are calcium deficient.
During the study, the team conducted a 15-week weight loss program on obese women.
The participants consumed on average less than 600 mg of calcium per day, whereas recommended daily intake is 1000 mg. In addition to following a low calorie diet, the women were instructed to take two tablets a day containing either a total of 1200 mg of calcium or a placebo.
The researchers found that those who took the calcium tablets lost nearly 6 kg over the course of the program, compared to 1 kg for women in the control group.
"Our hypothesis is that the brain can detect the lack of calcium and seeks to compensate by spurring food intake, which obviously works against the goals of any weight loss program," said Tremblay, holder of the Canada Research Chair in Environment and Energy Balance.
"Sufficient calcium intake seems to stifle the desire to eat more," he added.
Therefore, it is important to consume sufficient calcium to ensure the success of any weight loss program.
In previous studies Tremblay has shown that women who consumed diets poor in calcium had more body fat, bigger waistlines, and higher bad cholesterol levels than those who consumed moderate or large amounts of calcium.
In another study, researchers showed that the more people reduced their consumption of dairy products over the six-year period examined, the more weight and body fat they gained and the bigger their waistlines grew.
The study is published in the British Journal of Nutrition.