CalciumE. DIETARYObesityVitamin D

Should you drink milk to lose weight?

Researchers from the US and Israel studied the effects of dairy calcium and vitamin D for weight loss.

First, the details.

  • 322 overweight or at risk adults participated in the study.
  • They followed a low-fat, Mediterranean or low-carb diet for 2 years.

And, the results.

  • Regardless of diet, participants with the highest dairy calcium intake 6 months into the study (averaging 580 mg/day; nearly 2 glasses of milk) lost about 12 pounds at the end of the 2 years vs about 7 pounds for those with the lowest dairy calcium intake (averaging 150 mg/day; half a glass).
  • Vitamin D levels independently affected weight loss success.

The bottom line?

The authors concluded, “Higher dairy calcium intake and increased serum vitamin D are related to greater diet-induced weight loss.”

Last year, researchers at Virginia Tech, in Blacksburg, reviewed beverage consumption and adult weight management. They reported what we know intuitively. Based on limited research, in the short-term, energy-containing beverages increase energy intake. If not offset by reduced consumption of other foods this leads to weight gain.

The long-term effect of energy-containing beverages on body weight was uncertain according to this review. But it’s possible, according to this latest study, that 2 glasses of milk per day might aid weight loss over the long term.

It would be interesting to know whether the increase in vitamin D levels was accompanied by increased physical activity, and this was actually responsible for the weight loss success.

9/28/10 00:05 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.