The National Dairy Council has spent more than $200 million claiming consuming more milk and dairy helps people lose weight. The basis of this claim rests largely on studies done by Dr. Zemel at the University of Tennessee. Michael Zemel also has written a book that was published by John Wiley & Sons called The Calcium Key in which he advocates a diet with more dairy products and calcium to aid weight loss. Zemel?s proposed mechanism involves calcitrol (the active form of vitamin D) to explain why diets higher in calcium promote weight loss. However, if this mechanism is correct then calcium supplements should work just as well as dairy products. His own data from a small study found more weight was lost with dairy products than calcium supplements.1 A much larger study published in the February 2004 Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism showed no impact on weight from calcium supplements.
Another large new study further undermines the dairy industry?s claim that milk and other dairy products help people lose weight. This study found that children who drank more than three servings of milk each day were actually significantly more prone to becoming overweight. The study looked at 12,829 children nationwide between the ages of 9 and 14 years old and found that the more milk they drank, the more weight they tended to gain over time. According to Catherine S.Berkey of Harvard Medical School, who led the study, ?The take-home message is that children should not be drinking milk as a means of losing weight or trying to control weight,? Her study is published in the June issue of the Journal Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.
When asked to comment on this study?s results, Dr. Zemel said, ?There are a number of studies that show a positive effect of milk and increasing dairy augments the effects of cutting calories?. True, but Dr. Zemel did most of them and he receives some funding from the dairy industry and has written a book touting more dairy products as one key to weight control.
1 Obesity Research 2004;12:582
By James J. Kenney, PhD, RD, FACN
Judy’s passion for cooking began with helping her grandmother make raisin oatmeal for breakfast. From there she earned her first food service job at 15, was accepted to the world-famous Culinary Institute of America at 18 (where she graduated second in her class), and went on to the Fachschule Richemont in Switzerland where she focused on pastry arts and baking. After a decade in food service for Hyatt Hotels, Judy launched Food and Health Communications to focus on flavor and health. She graduated with Summa Cum Laude distinction from Johnson and Wales University with a BS in Culinary Art, holds a master’s degree in Food Business from the Culinary Institute of America, 2 art certificates from UC Berkeley Extension, and runs a food photography studio where her love is creating fun recipes.
Judy received The Culinary Institute of America’s Pro Chef II certification, the American Culinary Federation Bronze Medal, Gold Medal, and ACF Chef of the Year. Her enthusiasm for eating nutritiously and deliciously leads her to constantly innovate and use the latest in nutritional science and Dietary Guidelines to guide her creativity, from putting new twists on fajitas to adapting Italian brownies to include ingredients like toasted nuts and cooked honey. Judy’s publishing company, Food and Health Communications, is dedicated to her vision that everyone can make food that tastes as good as it is for you.