A study recently published in the most recent issue of the British Journal of Nutrition has shown that boosting calcium consumption spurs weight loss, but only in people whose diets are deficient in the mineral. The 15-week weight loss program was conducted on obese women and the participants consumed an average of less than 600 mg of calcium per day, (the recommended daily intake is 1000 mg). The women were placed on a low calorie diet and were instructed to take two tablets a day containing either a total of 1200 mg of calcium or a placebo.
The results were that the women who took the calcium tablets lost nearly 6 kg over the course of the program compared to 1 kg for women in the control group. The scientists hypothesized that the brain can detect the lack of calcium and seeks to compensate for this by stimulating more food intake, which clearly works against the goals of any weight loss program. On the flipside, taking enough calcium seems to stifle the desire to eat more. The bottom line is that consuming sufficient calcium is important to ensure the success of any weight loss program.
So what are some great ways to up your calcium intake and prevent unnecessary fat on your body? Well naturally, taking a supplement in tablet, capsule or powder form (I love to add the powder to my breakfast smoothies) is a great way to get it in. Pick up some fortified soy milk or rice milk or just plain old dairy products will also do the trick. Include foods like yogurt and cottage cheese if you can tolerate them. By the way, an added bonus of calcium is if you take some calcium 30 minutes before bed, you'll likely enjoy a more relaxing and deeper slumber. Foods like almonds, tahini (sesame seeds), molasses, broccoli, and tofu are also rich in calcium. Also, be sure you balance your calcium intake with about ½ the amount in milligrams of magnesium for a healthy balance of minerals.