Books, articles, and entire industries have conflicting opinions on this subject. Some say that calcium can help you lose weight. Others insist that calcium won’t help with weight loss. Well, which is it?
A recent Canadian study finally gave us a definitive answer. This study found that calcium does indeed help some people lose weight. But in order for it to work for you, you must already have a calcium deficiency.
The participants in this study were obese women on a low-calorie diet. They all took 600 mg or less of calcium daily. The researchers gave half the women two tablets containing a total of 1,200 mg of calcium. The other half took a placebo. At the end of two weeks, the women who took supplemental calcium lost five times the weight as the ones on the placebo.
The head researcher of this study, Angelo Tremblay, wasn’t surprised.
A previous study conducted by this same team found that women on calcium-poor diets had bigger waistlines and more body fat than women with sufficient calcium. They also had higher LDL (bad) cholesterol levels. Tremblay and his team had noticed that more than 50% of the obese women who came to their research clinic were already calcium deficient.
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Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, manufacturers of Caltrate (the calcium supplement used in this study), funded this study. They obviously had a vested interest in the results. But Betty Kamen, PhD, didn’t. She’s the author of the book Lose Weight With the California Calcium Countdown (Nutrition Encounter, 2004, available through Amazon.com). Years before this Caltrate study, Betty explained the connection between calcium and weight loss. Her book is a must-read for a comprehensive understanding of this calcium and weight-loss question.
If you’re already eating a diet rich in foods like dairy, spinach, and tofu (high-calcium foods) and taking a quality multi-vitamin like Women’s Vitality from Advanced Bionutritionals, it’s doubtful that you are calcium deficient. Not only will more calcium not help you lose weight, it will likely cause other health problems.
If your diet is low in calcium, and you aren’t taking a multivitamin, you need to start with those two changes — instead of just adding calcium alone.
Your voice of reason in Women's Health,
Dr. Janet Zand
Université Laval (2009, March 19). Diet Rich In Calcium Aids Weight Loss In People With Calcium Deficient Diets. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 23, 2009, from http://www.sciencedaily.com /releases/2009/03/090312115053.htm.
British Journal of Nutrition, March 2009.