dairy consumption

Dairy foods offer essential nutrients to the body that play a key role in energy metabolism by regulating the fat and bone mineral composition of individuals. A new lead study in this direction has revealed that dairy food intake did not show any significant impact on body mass and mineral content in normal and overweight individuals.


Nutrition refers to the channel of necessary components required to build, grow and support the human life. Dairy foods are one such nutrient, rich in fats, vitamins, proteins and carbohydrates that are required for building body mass. In addition, dairy products are also considered to be important agents for providing calcium, sodium, potassium and phosphorus. Most commonly, calcium present in dairy products acts a crucial source for maintaining bone weight. Previous literature studies revealed that high calcium consumption enhances skeletal calcium and body mass index (BMI) in comparison to low calcium intake. Therefore, dairy intake has been associated with increased body fat during caloric food limitation but not with reduction in the energy balance while weight is stable. A study by Weaver and his team at the Department of Nutrition Science and Statistics, Purdue University was carried out to understand the effect of dairy product intake on body fat composition and other measures of body size in normal and overweight individuals.  Interesting findings of the study was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2017.

Researchers conducted a randomized controlled trial in 240 healthy boys and girls whose age ranged from 8 to 15.9 years and had a low consumption of dairy (< 800 mg calcium/day). Among the subjects, 50% had a healthy weight (70th BMI percentile) and 50% of subjects were overweight (85th percentile). Researchers subjected participants, based on BMI, randomly to ta dairy intervention or control for 18 months; the dairy intervention included 3 servings a day, which is almost equivalent to 900 mg calcium, or 2 glasses of milk, per day.

Among the 75.4% (n=181) of subjects who completed the clinical trial, ethnicity of participants was black (61%), white (35%), and others (4%). Every 6 months, measurements related to total body bone mineral content and density, cortical and trabecular bone mineral density (BMD), bone mineral content (BMC), and bone area at the 4% tibia and anthropometric measures were observed. Interestingly, body measurements such BMD, BMC, bone area for the total-body radius, lumbar spine, and total hip did not show any differences when compared between subjects who received the dairy intervention and subjects who did not. Therefore, dairy consumption did not show any significant influence on the body fat content in the normal and overweight individuals.

Therefore, bone mineral acquisition or body composition in adolescents was not significantly impacted by dairy product intake in this population. Selection criteria adapted in Asian and Hispanic adolescents, lack of uniformity in maturation levels of healthy and overweight individuals, background diet influence on the bone mass, increased calcium intake in the control group and lack of clarity in the dairy intervention are some of the potential limitations that affected the results of the study. Furthermore, bone density and mass in healthy weight individuals may be increased by the administration of 2 servings of food per day. In addition, potassium and vitamin D in individuals is achieved by the intake of 3 servings of milk per day.


Written By: Manche Santoshi, PhD

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