A new study suggests that boosting key milk nutrients calcium and vitamin D could aid weight loss.
In a 2-year weight loss study, milk drinkers had an advantage over those who skipped the milk.
Israeli researchers found that adults who drank the most milk (nearly 2 glasses per day) and had the highest vitamin D levels at 6 months, lost more weight after 2 years than those who had little or no milk or milk products-nearly 12 pounds weight loss, on average.
They also found that each additional 6-ounce serving of milk or milk products (about 3/4 of a glass of milk) was associated with 10 pounds successful weight loss above the average, at 6 months.
More than 300 overweight or at risk men and women ages 40 - 65 participated in the study following low-fat, low-carb diets for 2 years.
Regardless of diet, researchers found participants with the highest dairy calcium intake 6 months into the study (averaging about 580mg per day - the amount in nearly 2 glasses of milk) lost about 12 pounds at the end of the 2 years, compared to about 7 pounds for those with the lowest dairy calcium intake (averaging about 150mg, or about half of a glass).
Beyond calcium, the researchers also found that vitamin D levels independently affected weight loss success and in line with previous research, milk and milk products were the top contributors to vitamin D in the diets of the study participants.
Emerging science suggests vitamin D may also help protect against diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and certain cancers. It also supports a healthy immune system.
Fat free milk is packed with nine essential nutrients that people need, including calcium and vitamin D, and contains 80 calories per 8-ounce serving.
Research suggests eating right, getting active and drinking the recommended three glasses of low-fat or fat free milk daily can help one maintain a healthy weight.
The new study is published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.