The Consumer Education Project of Milk SA

Should I exclude dairy if I am trying to lose weight?

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No, a weight loss programme should not exclude milk from the diet. It is a myth that milk is fattening and leads to weight gain. In fact, the opposite is true: use milk and low-fat dairy in slimming diets to achieve good results, without losing lean muscle mass or developing deficiencies.

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No, a weight loss programme should not exclude milk from the diet. It is a myth that milk is fattening and leads to weight gain. In fact, the opposite is true: a diet rich in milk and low-fat dairy allows a reduction in body fat and promotes weight loss.

Research has shown that the combination of nutrients in dairy, especially calcium and protein, promotes weight loss and can help to maintain a healthy target weight through their effect on energy metabolism.

  • A diet rich in calcium suppresses the influx of calcium into fat cells, which, in turn, stimulates the breakdown of fat and inhibits fat storage.
  • Including dairy in your diet may help you to feel satisfied for longer, which can contribute to controlling energy intake.
  • Taking in protein from milk and dairy products also helps you to lose total and visceral fat but gain lean body mass, which is considered a more favourable body composition.

In addition to the beneficial effect on weight management in a kilojoule-restricted diet, low-fat and fat-free dairy products also provide a valuable source of nutrients to maintain a healthy body and control energy levels. Excluding dairy products during a weight loss programme may lead to a nutrient deficiency that could hinder optimal health.

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