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Eat Yogurt To Promote Weight Loss and A Flatter Stomach

Monday, 21 May 2012
Eating yogurt daily helps you burn fat, strengthen your bones, and keep your stomach flat, numerous studies have concluded in recent years.

In the April 2005 edition of International Journal of Obesity, obese adults reduced their caloric instake by 500 calories a day and ate three servings of low fat yogurt. Fat was shed at all parts of the body but particularly at the waist, and lean muscle was maintained. This group lost 22% more weight, 61% more body fat, and 81% more fat on the belly than the group who ate one serving of low fat yogurt each day.

Michael Zemel, who conducted the study, suggested that this was due to the high calcium content of dairy products like yogurt, which maintains muscle mass and bone density while helping the body lost fat. He suggests low fat yogurt with low calorie and sugar content for optimal weight loss, as fattier yogurts may negate dairy’s health benefits and non-fat yogurt does not contain the healthy fats that actually promote weight loss.

The study suggests that calcium and dairy protein are critical to fat and weight loss, especially around the midsection. Fat in this area is also known as visceral fat, a dangerous kind of fat that studies have shown is directly co-related to heart disease and diabetes, among other life-threatening conditions. The likely reason for yogurt’s ability to reduce body fat is that dairy protein and calcium increase metabolic rate and improve digestion. However, more studies do need to be conducted in this area.

Food and nutrition expert Ruth Harris at the University of Georgia, acknowledges the theory, but is cautious, saying, "For many in the scientific community…it is difficult to embrace the efficacy of dietary calcium and dairy protein without a good understanding of the mechanisms responsible for the loss of body fat."

However, other studies since have supported Zemel’s findings. A longitudinal study conducted by researchers at the University of Tennessee tracked the weight and diet of 52 children from the time they were 2 months old to 8 years of age. The study concluded that calcium and polyunsaturated fats were correlated to a lower percentage of body fat; the inverse proved true as well: saturated fat correlated to higher body fat.

Two other studies, one conducted by Dr. Jean Skinner and another by Obesity Research found that high calcium was positively correlated to lower body fat in children and adults, respectively. In Skinner’s study, every 300mg increase in calcium consumption translated to 1kg less body fat in children and 2.5-3kg less weight in adults.

Incorporating Yogurt Into Your Diet
Don’t like yogurt? Here are some creative ways to incorporate three servings of yogurt into your diet each day:

• Use yogurt in a smoothie.
• Substitute low fat Greek yogurt for mayonnaise or sour cream in your favourite dishes.
• Eat it plain but sprinkle it with some of your favourite toppings like fresh fruit, cinnamon, dark chocolate chips, or honey. Greek yogurt is especially delicious and often eaten with honey.
• Eat yogurt with cereal.
• Make frozen yogurt and eat it in place of fatty, high calorie ice cream!
• Eat it with muesli and berries for a hearty and filling breakfast.

Options for Vegans and The Lactose Intolerant
Are you vegan or cannot tolerate dairy? Here are some calcium rich alternatives:
• Soy-based beverages
• Tofu made with calcium sulfate
• Canned salmon
• Dark leafy greens like collards or kale

For more information: //www.medscape.com/viewarticle/501646



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