A 2004 study concluded that people who consume three servings of dairy each day while on a reduced-calorie diet lose more weight than individuals consuming the same calorie-level, low-dairy diet.2
A review of research published in 2008 looked at more than 90 studies—including randomized clinical trials, metabolic experiments and observational studies—and found a link between high calcium intake and better body composition and weight maintenance across a range of ages.3
A review of 16 randomized clinical trials—the ‘gold standard’ of nutrition research—concluded that including dairy products in weight loss diets improves weight, body fat mass, lean mass and waist circumference compared with low-dairy weight loss diets.1
Another study found that adequate calcium intake--specifically from milk and dairy foods--decreases the risk of overweight people becoming obese or developing metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.4
A 2008 study analyzing National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) data found that adolescents who ate more dairy food had less body fat and a lower body mass index (BMI) than those who ate less.5
Adolescent girls whose diets more closely resembled the DASH eating pattern—rich in low-fat dairy products, fruits, vegetables and whole grains—had smaller gains in BMI (body mass index) over 10 years. Their dairy and fruit intakes were most closely linked to lower weight gains.6
Calcium, specifically from dairy products, may help burn fat which could result in less fat being stored.
Components (such as protein) in dairy products may lead to earlier satiety.
Calcium in the intestine may bind with fat, preventing its absorption.
1 Abargouei AS et al. Int J Obes (Lond). 2012 Jan 17. doi:10.1038/ijo.2011.269.
2Zemel et al. Obesity Research. 2004; 12(4): 582-590.
3 Heaney R., Rafferty K. Nutrition Reviews 2009;67(1):32-39.
4 Pereira et al. J of Am Med Assoc. 2002; 287:2081-2089.
5 Moore LL et al. Journal of the American College of Nutrition. 2008;27:702-710.
6 Berz JP et al. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2011 Jun;165(6):540-6.
7 Louie JC et al. Obes Rev. 2011 Jul;12(7):e582-92. doi:10.1111/j.1467-789X.2011.00881.x.