dairy foods healthy weight loss diet

Dairy Foods, Nutrition and Weight

Dairy Food is Good For Weight Loss

Calcium-rich dairy foods are valuable additions to any weight loss diet. Some recent research indicates that healthy calcium levels may assist weight reduction. In addition, dairy foods contain a wide range of nutritients to help maintain an efficient metabolism. For lactase-deficient individuals who cannot digest the dairy sugar lactose, there are a wide variety of lactose-free sources of calcium.

Nutritional Value of Dairy Food

Dairy foods (eg. milk, cheese, yogurt) supply a range of essential vitamins and minerals. They are rich source of vitamins B1 (thiamin), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B6 and B12, plus vitamin A, complete protein, calcium and zinc. The micronutrients in dairy food are a major contributor to healthy growth, strong bones and teeth, and help prevent osteoporosis among post-menopausal women and the elderly. Live “bio” yogurt is associated with improved digestion, improved immune system and helps prevent urinary tract infections. For people with lactase deficiency who cannot digest lactose in milk, non-dairy soy foods offer a range of nutritional health benefits.

Cheese is packed with nutrients (fat and protein) and micronutrients. It contains vitamin A, B-vitamins (inc. folate and B12), as well as vitamin D. Cheese also supplies important minerals like slenium, zinc and iodine. But although highly nutritious, cheese is a high fat food. Even “half-fat” cheeses may contain up to 50 percent of their calories as fat, including a relatively high proportion of saturated fat. If you enjoy cheese but want to lose weight and protect your coronary arteries from being clogged by too much saturated fat, use shredded cheese rather than hunks!

Can Be High Fat, inc. Saturated Fat

Dairy products have traditionally been Americans’ main source of calcium. But there are other healthy ways to get calcium than from milk and cheese, which can contain a lot of saturated fat. Three glasses of whole milk, for example, contains as much saturated fat as 13 strips of cooked bacon. If you enjoy dairy foods, try to stick with no-fat or low-fat products. If you don’t like dairy products, calcium supplements offer an easy and inexpensive way to get your daily calcium.

How Much Dairy Food To Eat in a 1600 Calorie Weight Loss Diet

The latest Dietary Guidelines (2005) recommend 3 cups of milk (or dairy equivalent) per day. According to the suggested diet plans, one cup of milk is equivalent to:

– 1 cup milk or yogurt
– 1.5 ounces natural cheese such as Cheddar cheese
– 2 ounces processed cheese

Sources of Non-Dairy Lactose-Free Calcium

Fortified cereals (1 oz): 236-1043 mg calcium
Sardines, in oil, drained (3 oz): 325 mg calcium
Tofu, firm (1/2 cup): 253 mg calcium
Salmon, canned, w/bone (3 oz): 181 mg calcium
Collard greens, cooked (1/2 cup): 178 mg calcium
Molasses, blackstrap (1 tbsp): 172 mg calcium
Spinach, cooked (1/2 cup): 146 mg calcium
Turnip greens, cooked (1/2 cup): 124 mg calcium
Oatmeal, fortified (1 pkt): 99-110 mg calcium
White beans, canned (1/2 cup): 96 mg calcium
Kale, cooked (1/2 cup): 90 mg calcium
Soybeans, cooked (1/2 cup): 88 mg calcium
Blue crab, canned (3 oz): 86 mg calcium
Beet greens, cooked (1/2 cup): 82 mg calcium
Clams, canned (3 oz):78 mg calcium

Note: The bio-availability of non-dairy calcium may vary.