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Anabolic Yogurt?

Research suggests that calcium and vitamin D can spur increases in muscle size and strength.


A study presented at the 2007 International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN) conference included some interesting information on eating yogurt. Previous studies point to a connection between eating dairy foods and adding lean mass while losing bodyfat. The active ingredients in the process are calcium, for aiding fat loss, and vitamin D, for a boost in muscle mass. The new study examined the effects of eating yogurt while engaged in a weight-training program (though not at the same time!).

Thirty-five untrained women, average age 19, all of whom were considered calcium deficient because they got less than the minimum suggested daily intake of 800 milligrams of calcium, trained with weights for eight weeks. They were placed in three groups based on diet: yogurt, protein and carb.

The yogurt group ate three servings of yogurt containing 200 milligrams of calcium and 40 units of vitamin D per serving. The other two groups continued to follow their usual low-calcium diet.

Immediately after they trained, the yogurt group ate a serving of fat-free yogurt; the protein group drank a commercial sports drink that didn’t contain any calcium or vitamin D, just 19 grams of carbs and five grams of protein; and last group drank a carb-only beverage containing 25 grams of carbs. The yogurt serving and the drinks contained the same number of calories, 100 per serving.

As expected, the yogurt group boosted levels of calcium and vitamin D above the daily recommended allowances. While the groups were all getting similar amounts of protein in their diets, those in the yogurt group showed the greatest lean-mass gains. Though all the women lost bodyfat during the study (proving that weight training does stimulate fat loss), those in the yogurt group again came out on top. Finally, the yogurt group experienced the greatest strength gains, even though all of the subjects used the same exercise program.

Since all the groups got the same amount of protein, the greater progress made by those in the yogurt group indicates that the yogurt provided something that the others weren’t getting, namely added calcium and vitamin D. IM

White, K., et al. (2007). Yogurt consumption during resistance training increases muscle mass and strength in young women. Presented at the 2007 ISSN conference, Las Vegas, Nevada.

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