One of the points that I felt needed revisiting from the programme 10 Things You Need to know About Losing Weight was the fact that “low fat dairy helps you to lose fat.” At first glance you may think that it helps you to lose weight because it has fewer calories than full fat dairy but the reason is much more complex than this. According to the science, when compared to low calcium in take, a high calcium intake increased the exertion of fat in the faeces. Literally the more low fat dairy that you include in your diet the less fat that your body will absorb. This is because getting enough calcium triggers the body to burn fat more efficiently and could even reduce the amount of fat that is produced.
It has been said that low fat dairy can also help to maintain your muscle mass. As mentioned in my article ‘The Benefits of Weight Lifting’ you want to lose fat not muscle mass as muscle is the tissue that will help to burn calories, but muscles often get compromised through dieting.
Even if your aim is not to lose weight but simply to maintain and be healthy it would be beneficial for you to incorporate lower fat dairy in your diet. Calcium is important because the stronger the bones are the less likely you will be to suffer from the bone thinning disease osteoporosis. The National Osteoporosis Society has observed that the condition affects a staggering 1 in 2 women and 1 in 5 men over the age of 50. Such figures make you want to do what you can to avoid becoming a statistic at a later date. It is never too late to make a change; even if it is a small one your body will thank you for it.
When choosing dairy it is best to go for the low fat version, such as skimmed or semi skimmed milk, low fat cheese. Switching to low fat does not mean that you will be getting less calcium; in fact it has been proven that low fat milk includes slightly more calcium than full fat.
Aim for 3 servings of low fat dairy each day. This could be a glass of milk, a low fat yoghurt and a match box sized serving of low fat cheese (approximately 28grams).
It is never too late to make a change, even if it is a small one, your body will thank you for it.