Calcium Intake and Weight Loss: Can Calcium Boost Weight Loss?

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Calcium Intake and Weight Loss

Did you know that calcium can help keep your weight in check? Does that take you by surprise? Well, now drinking milk is all you need to do to regulate your weight.

Obesity: An Overview

Obesity has become a serious health issue worldwide, affecting people from literally all age groups and social demographics. Health experts are on tenterhooks regarding obesity and related health issues wreaking havoc on the human population. It is tough to pinpoint a single issue behind its growth, though growing dependence on junk foods, sedentary lifestyle, and nutritional choices are often blamed for the unprecedented rise of obesity. While resorting to special diets and working out may help, it is also important to know how taking in specific nutrients can play a role in controlling obesity. A number of research studies indicate that calcium intake may help people in combating weight gain in the long run.

Calcium is a must for everyone, but when cutting calories, dieters may run the risk of not getting enough. 

Learn about studies that show getting your daily requirement might boost more than bone health — it could also help with your weight loss.

Calcium And Weight Loss

Does Calcium Help You Lose Weight? 

Calcium is a key mineral that plays a vital role in the well-being and sustenance of the human body. Calcium, along with key minerals like magnesium, also controls a number of physiological functions. The deficit in calcium intake can lead to several health problems in the long run. A number of studies and clinical findings indicate its absorption can also be vital in losing excess body weight.

Studies Indicating Calcium’s Role In Weight Loss

In the last few decades, a number of studies have been conducted on calcium and its role in various aspects of human health including weight loss. Below listed are some such examples:
  1. A study conducted by British Journal of Nutrition revealed that calcium deficient people can benefit in weight loss if they take in the mineral in adequate amounts. The study was carried out on a group of calcium deficient obese women. It was found that those women lost weight when they increased calcium intake while sticking to a low-calorie diet.
  2. A study, which was published in the coveted American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 5 years ago, showed that an increased intake of calcium with vitamin D helps you lose weight better. This occurs when you adhere to a low-calorie diet.
  3. A study published in 2005 in Obesity Research indicated that consuming high-calcium food while maintaining a regular calorie intake level helps in body fat reduction.

Studies Showing The Opposite Trend

As a matter of fact, not all clinical trials and studies indicate calcium is ideal for weight loss. Some studies have revealed less encouraging results:
  1. Rutgers University’s researchers, belonging to the Department of Nutritional Sciences, carried out a study on 100 women for a duration of 25 weeks. Half of the candidates were given a placebo, and the rest were given calcium. All of them were put on a low-calorie diet. At the end, the study authors did not find any major difference in both groups, as far as obesity is concerned.
  2. A study published in 2013 in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed eating dairy-rich diet and taking calcium supplements did not have a large impact on weight loss.

The Theory Linking Calcium And Weight Loss

  • Director of University of Tennessee’s The Nutrition Institute, Michael Zemel, conducted several studies on the impact of calcium on weight loss and came up with the theory of calcium intake boosting weight loss.
  • Zemel and his colleagues conducted studies on both rodents and human candidates. They showed how calcium preserved in fat cells plays a vital role in regulating fat metabolism. According to him, more calcium stored in a fat cell ensures more fat is burnt. The mice study showed obese mice losing significant body fat while they were fed a low-calorie and calcium-rich diet. The human trial showed a diet rich in dairy food and calcium is most effective in aiding weight loss.
  • Another theory linking calcium intake and weight loss supported by a section of the medical community is that eating calcium-rich foods reduces food cravings. When you suffer from calcium deficiency, it results in hunger pangs, leading to binge eating. It persists in you, thus making weight loss a tedious objective.

Ideal Food Sources For Calcium Intake

Diet experts advise you to eat more calcium-rich foods rather than taking calcium supplements if increasing intake of this mineral is your target? Ideally, an adult man or woman should intake 1000 mg of calcium per day. Those with the risk of bone density loss may require the mineral in increased amounts.

While you can absorb calcium from numerous food sources, it is also important to keep a tab on the overall calorie intake by your body. The basic formula for weight loss is burning more calories than what you take in per day. Even the clinical studies revealing calcium’s weight loss benefits agree that enhanced calcium intake boosts weight loss prospects when the calorie intake is within limits. So, you should stick to vegetable sources and low-fat dairy products for calcium intake for weight loss. For example, a cup of skim milk contains about 83 calories, while the same amount of whole milk has 149 calories. You need to be careful about selecting cheese variants as well. Eating vitamin D-rich foods is also important as the body needs this vitamin to absorb calcium optimally.

The ideal low-fat calcium food sources include:

  1. Non-fat yogurt
  2. Skim milk
  3. Low-fat cheese variants
  4. Eggs
  5. Tofu
  6. Sardines
  7. Green, leafy vegetables like spinach, broccoli

Read the labels of dairy foods when you shop, to get the best results. While most people have no difficulty in absorbing calcium from foods, those with lactose intolerance may need to take calcium supplements. However, a doctor can help you in selecting the aptest product in this regard.

Calcium Absorption Issues You Should Be Aware Of

You may eat calcium-rich foods, but be aware that eating specific foods actually hinders the process of calcium absorption by the human body. Foods that are rich in oxalate, phytate sodium and caffeine may actually interfere with the absorption of calcium. You may limit the intake of foods like wheat based ones, beet greens, Spinach, etc. It is also wise to reduce coffee intake if calcium absorption is a requirement.

This is all about calcium and weight loss. The bottom line is when calcium is consumed in moderation; it can indeed help in regulating your weight within permissible numbers. All you need to do is drink up that tall glass of milk each morning to stay healthy and fit.

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