Weight Loss Study: Dairy Benefits Lean Mass

September 15, 2011

A new study on weight loss patients suggests that dairy protein can help preserve the lean mass usually lost during the transition.

A new study on weight loss patients suggests that dairy protein can help preserve the lean mass usually lost during the transition. The study is now available in the Journal of Nutrition.

Ninety premenopausal, overweight and obese women were assigned to an exercise and reduced calorie diet plan. The subjects were placed into one of three dieting groups: high protein and high dairy, adequate protein and adequate dairy, or adequate protein and low dairy.

All patients were deemed to be habitually low dairy consumers prior to the study.

Similar weight loss was recorded in each group, but lean mass saw significant differences within groups.

Compared to adequate protein and low dairy, high protein and high dairy intake resulted in greater loss of abdominal fat and even an increase in lean mass.

“While calorie reduction alone can lead to weight loss, the weight lost often includes not only fat, but also lean muscle,” said the Dairy Research Institute, which co-funded the study. “This research supports previous studies showing that higher protein diets during weight loss may help preserve muscle while losing fat. Additionally, this study demonstrates that this higher protein diet can be achieved through an increase in dairy foods.”

Dairy foods included in the study were low-fat milk, low-fat yogurt, and full-fat cheese.

Funding was provided by the Dairy Research Institute, Dairy Farmers of Canada, and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

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