Women who are changing their diet in order to lose weight should make sure they keep consuming dairy and other forms of protein, for bone health.

New research indicates that consumption of dairy foods and higher protein resulted in improvements in markers of bone formation and reductions in markers of bone degradation in overweight and obese young women over 16 weeks of diet- and exercise-induced weight loss.

Previous studies have shown that higher body weight is associated with greater bone mass and that weight loss through dieting can adversely affect bone health. While the individual effects of dairy, calcium, protein and exercise on bone during weight loss have been studied in premenopausal women, no trial until now has combined all these strategies together into one study to support bone health.

“Our data provide a good rationale to recommend consumption of dairy foods to aid in high quality weight loss, which we define as loss of fat as opposed to muscle, and the promotion of bone health in young women who are at the age when achieving and maintaining peak bone mass is of great importance,” said Stuart Phillips of McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, and senior author of the study.

The research has been accepted for publication in The Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

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