Youngsters who forego calcium-rich foods because they think they're fattening are mistaken, say researchers based on findings of a recent study .
Researchers say 9-year-old girls who consumed diets high in calcium were no more likely to put on additional pounds than kids the same age who ate typical diets. Instead, girls with diets high in calcium significantly improved their intake of essential nutrients. According to the researchers, girls on the high-calcium diet -- about 1,500 milligrams per day -- consumed more protein, vitamins A and D, phosphorus, potassium, and magnesium than those on the normal diet. Conversely, girls on the normal diet consumed more iron and zinc.
Eating foods rich in calcium is especially important for growing because about 40 percent of bone mass is formed during adolescence. Girls who increase their calcium intake may protect themselves from bone loss and osteoporosis later in life, and they could even help ensure they reach their full potential in terms of height. Data from the study show most girls ages 9 to 13, only take in about 70 percent of the daily recommended amount of calcium and older girls those age 14 to 18 do even worse, consuming just 55 percent of the recommended amount.
Thus researcher say that calcium-rich diets do not cause excessive weight gain in pubertal girls but do contribute positively to overall nutrition and they call for programs aimed at promoting a calcium-rich diet among youngsters.