It can be difficult to sort out which foods should be part of a sensible and healthy weight loss plan. Milk and dairy products are often said to be one of the food types that should be cut out, particularly whole milk which contains saturated fat. However, research has shown that milk can actually contribute to weight loss.
The Benefits of Milk
There have been several studies where the results have shown that dairy products can contribute to weight loss. A study of children in school concluded that the ones that drink milk were less likely to be obese. However, this could be because they drank milk, which is high in protein, in preference to sugary drinks. Some studies have followed adults and conclude that those who habitually drink milk are less likely to be obese, whereas other studies which added milk to the food plans of dieters demonstrated that they lost more weight than people who didn't drink milk. While not every study has shown this result, a majority of them have. Even better, the people in the studies tended to lose weight from their abdominal region, which is the most dangerous place to carry extra weight.
Calcium is thought to be one of the beneficial qualities of milk and dairy products. People who increase their calcium intake in other ways may also lose more weight. Drinking milk is one of the best ways to increase calcium uptake, as lactose is thought to increase its absorption.
However, there are other factors in milk that might be contributing to weight loss. Milk contains protein which, along with its high water content, can keep you full for longer than most other drinks, and lead you to eat less. Milk also contains conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) which has been shown to reduce body fat in obese individuals by increasing lean muscle mass.
The Drawbacks of Milk
Milk contains saturated fat, which is one of the biggest culprits in heart disease. While milk is available in low fat varieties, many diary products such as cheese also contain saturated fats. Milk doesn't contain as much fat as some junk food products, but it shouldn't be consumed to excess and skim milk and low fat varieties of diary products should be preferred.
Many people are lactose intolerant, meaning that drinking milk can upset their stomachs and cause other symptoms like skin breakouts. Lactose intolerance can appear in adults who drank milk without symptoms as children. A solution to this is for people with lactose intolerance to try drinking goat milk. Goat milk is easier to digest, and often people with lactose and/or soy intolerance can drink goat milk without problems. It has also been shown to provide even more calcium and other nutrients than cow milk, although it has not yet been used in many studies concerning obesity.
Studies have shown milk to be an effective addition to a weight loss plan, and drinking milk will provide many benefits aside from weight loss. Drink milk as part of a healthy, balanced diet for the best results.