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Will dairy boost your weight-loss resolution?

(NewsUSA) – If weight loss and dieting are on your New Year’s resolution agenda, an unlikely food group may be the help you need. Consuming dairy products as part of your daily diet can help keep weight down, according to several studies. Findings in the Journal of Nutrition demonstrated that higher-protein, high-dairy diets shaved off belly fat and increased lean muscle.

“One hundred percent of the weight lost in the higher-protein, high-dairy group was fat. And the participants gained muscle mass, which is a major change in body composition,” says Andrea Josse, lead author of the study and a graduate student in the Department of Kinesiology at McMaster University.

In addition, a Harvard study, which suggests that the food quality is more important than its calorie count, found that eating specific high-quality foods was linked with less weight gain over time. Its data showed that the more daily servings people ate of fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains and yogurt, the less weight they gained. In fact, the research found that each extra daily serving of yogurt prevented 0.82 of a pound of weight gain.

The Nutrition and Metabolism journal reported a study in which participants who consumed three or more servings of dairy a day after weight loss were able to eat more calories without gaining weight than those who didn’t consume dairy. Milk is nutritionally unique in that it is a great source of nine essential nutrients: calcium, potassium, phosphorus, protein, vitamins A, D and B12, riboflavin and niacin. It provides three of the five “nutrients of concern” that children do not get enough of: calcium, magnesium and potassium.

By combining a high intake of nutrient-rich dairy with regular physical activity, it won’t even feel like you’re trying to lose weight. “However, as with any diet, you must be realistic. Results take time, so first commit to getting through January to establish a real routine,” says Alyssa Greenstein, a registered dietitian with the Dairy Council of Florida.

According to a National Health and Nutrition survey, 86 percent of women and 76 percent of men fail to meet the recommended dairy intake of three servings each day. That means the majority of Americans don’t have satisfactory levels of essential nutrients like potassium, zinc, calcium and folate. These levels plummet when dieters attempt to trim calories by purging dairy. Learn more about the benefits of dairy at www.floridamilk.com.

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