Weight Loss Study Focuses on Dairy Foods
By Marcia Wood
April 27, 2007
Determined northern California dieters
are helping Agricultural Research Service (ARS) nutrition researchers learn
more about the role that low-fat, calcium-rich dairy foods play in healthful
weight-loss regimens. The volunteers--men and women aged 22 to 45 who are
nonsmokers and are 45 to 100 pounds overweight--are completing 15-week stints
in which they eat varying amounts of dairy foods as part of their everyday
meals and snacks.
Earlier studies, conducted elsewhere, suggest that calcium from low-fat
dairy foods enhances loss of unwanted pounds--and fat. The California study,
led by ARS research physiologist
D. Van Loan, focuses on the number of servings of dairy foods eaten per day
and, as such, may shed new light on previous findings.
For example, for three weeks of the study, volunteers will eat
"low-dairy" meals and snacks as is typical of their normal diets,
eating only one serving of dairy foods a day, according to Van Loan. For
another 12 weeks of the study, they will be assigned to either a high-dairy
diet with three servings of dairy foods (milk, yogurt and cheese) or stay with
the low-dairy plan of one daily serving.
One serving of dairy equals either one glass of milk, two ounces of cheese
or one cup of yogurt, for example.
Van Loan is based at the agency's
Human Nutrition Research Center, Davis, Calif. She's doing the work with
H. Adams and chemist
L. Keim, both of the nutrition center, and with co-investigators at the
University of California-Davis,
UC Davis Medical
Center, and Iowa State University at
This ARS study is being supported in part by the
National Dairy Council of
Rosemont, Ill., and the Dairy
Council of California, in Sacramento. Van Loan expects to have preliminary
results by early 2008. The findings may help combat America's obesity epidemic.
An estimated 97 million adults in this country are overweight or obese.
ARS is the U.S. Department of
Agriculture's chief scientific research agency.