Researchers say that higher intake of dairy products while on a reduced calorie diet can help fight obesity.
During the study, lead researcher Wendy Chan She Ping Delfos, from Curtin University of Technology, compared three serves of dairy food such as yoghurt, cheese and low fat milk, with five serves within a lower calorie diet prescribed to overweight participants over 12-weeks.
It showed that greater weight loss and reduced risk factors for heart disease and diabetes.
Consumed five serves of dairy per day resulted in more loss of weight and abdominal fat, and people also had lower blood pressure.
"Many people commonly believe that when trying to lose weight dairy products are key foods that they have to cut out of their diet, as they are high in fat," The Sydney Morning Herald quoted Dr Chan She Ping Delfos as saying.
"This study has shown that when trying to lose weight people can actually benefit by increasing the amount of dairy they consume beyond the normally-recommended three daily serves, as long as during the weight loss period total energy intake is less than their requirements.
"Increasing dairy intake to five serves per day as part of a reduced calorie diet has never been studied before, and such diets containing high levels of protein, calcium and vitamin D, among other bioactive nutrients, can be an important part of a prudent weight loss or weight maintenance diet," the expert added.
She also found that combining resistance exercise could have long-term benefits.
"Participants who had five serves of dairy and engaged in resistance exercise had similar health benefits to participants consuming five serves of dairy only," she added.