Calcium for Weight Control

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Filed Under: Weight Loss
Last Reviewed 02/06/2014

Numerous studies link a high calcium intake with a reduced risk of obesity. That’s because calcium deficiencies stimulate the release of hormones that not only help convert calcium, but also promote fat storage and retard fat burning. But does getting extra calcium help with weight loss?

Michael Zemel, PhD, of the University of Tennessee, divided overweight people into three groups and placed them on low-calorie diets containing varying amounts of calcium. After six months, the individuals with a daily calcium intake (mostly from dairy products) of 400–500 mg lost an average of 15 pounds. Those getting 800 mg lost 19 pounds, while those getting 1,200 mg lost 24 pounds, as well as a higher percentage of body and abdominal fat.

Although I’m not suggesting that calcium is the only answer, the fact that two-thirds of Americans are overweight and nearly three-quarters have inadequate calcium intake (a daily average of only 400–500 mg) does give me pause.

What I do suggest, not only for weight control but for overall health, is that you increase your consumption of dietary calcium (nonfat cottage cheese is an excellent source of both calcium and protein), and make sure your daily multivitamin and mineral contains at least 1,000 mg of calcium.
 

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