In a two-year weight loss study, milk drinkers had an advantage over those who skipped the milk, reports the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Researchers led by Danit Shahar from the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel, found that adults who drank nearly two glasses of milk daily, which provided the highest Vitamin D levels at six months, lost more weight after two years than those who had little or no milk or milk products -- nearly six kilograms weight loss, on average.
More than 300 overweight men and women aged 40 to 65 years, took part in the study following low-fat, Mediterranean or low-carb diets for two years, according to a Ben-Gurion statement.
Regardless of diet, researchers found participants with the highest dairy calcium intake six months into the study (averaging about 580 mg daily- the amount in nearly two glasses of milk) lost about six kilograms at the end of the two years, compared to about 3.5 kg for those with the lowest dairy calcium intake (averaging about 150 mg, or about half of a glass).
Beyond calcium, the researchers also found that Vitamin D levels independently affected weight loss success and in line with previous research, milk and milk products were the top contributors to Vitamin D in the diets of the study participants.
Despite the potential health benefits, many Americans are still not getting the recommended 400 international units (IU) of Vitamin D daily -- the amount in four glasses of fat free or low-fat milk.