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Got Milk? Get Lean

Calcium may turn off fat cells

That’s right. New research finds that milk and other dairy products can reduce your fat cells’ tendency to store calories. In other words, dairy products can supercharge your diet’and you probably thought just the opposite.

Michael Zemel, chairman of the nutrition department at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, is one of the leading researchers delving into the phenomenon. In one study he put 32 people who needed to lose weight on reduced-calorie diets, but some of the diets included three to four servings of dairy daily. Six months later all the subjects had lost weight, but those who were eating dairy lost 70 percent more’about 19 pounds of fat compared with only 11 pounds in the group who didn’t eat dairy. Zemel says the reason is that when there’s plenty of calcium in the blood, fat cells get the message to quit storing fat and start burning it. On the other hand, when calcium levels are low, the cells hoard fat.

Other studies verify those findings. In the mid-’90s Connie Weaver and Dorothy Teegarden conducted a study at Purdue University. They observed the bone health of women between the ages of 18 and 31, but they noticed something interesting: Women who ate a diet that included milk, cheese or yogurt lost or maintained their weight, while those who didn’t put on pounds.

As Zemel puts it: ‘If people are cutting calories and not including dairy in their diet, they’re making a big mistake.’

Bottom line: Be sure you’re getting enough calcium in your diet. Check your meal replacement for balanced calcium and magnesium. That’s a good first step.

Editor’s note: Muscle-Link’s Muscle Meals meal replacement has a balanced mineral profile’with plenty of calcium’along with whey and micellar casein protein. See page 16 for more information.

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