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Calcium Intake and Weight Loss


By JJ Virgin, CNS, CHFI

One of the trainers from Dr. Phil's Weight Loss Challenge recently contacted me regarding the current research on calcium intake and weight loss. If you are interested, there is an excellent study by Michael Zemel, called "Regulation of Adiposity by Dietary Calcium," at www.pubmed.com.

If you're not enthralled about reviewing scientific literature, here's my "takeaway" — what the research means to you and what you should do about it.
The study found that increasing dietary calcium in obese patients for one year resulted in 4.9 kg loss of body fat. In another major obesity study, participants with the highest intake of calcium had the lowest risk of obesity.

You should strive to get your primary calcium intake from your diet and then use supplements to bring it up to ideal amounts. Calcium is a mineral, which means it is a rock, so the form you get it in can significantly impact the amount you can actually absorb — this can vary from 5 to 40 percent in absorption. You don't have to overload with supplemental calcium though, since you will be getting a good amount in your diet. You will need 500 to 1000 mg a day as a supplemental amount.

The other thing that you should do is include fruits, vegetables and green drinks with your dairy servings, as these are alkalinizing and reduce the acid load from the dairy. When your body is hit with an acid load, it has to draw calcium from the bones to buffer the Ph back up to normal. For that reason, meals and snacks with low fat sources of dairy, like yogurt, cottage cheese, ricotta cheese, goat cheese and string cheese combined with fruit or veggies are good choices.