Many people who are on diets avoid cheese and other dairy products because of their high fat content. There is a belief that dairy fats will contribute to weight gain. Though there may be some truth to this, it has also been established that certain types of cheese and other dairy items can help in weight loss, particularly for those who want to lose the extra baggage around their midriff.
Dairy products are critical to the diet because they are packed with essential nutrients. They are a prime source of protein, calcium, zinc, and some B vitamins. Calcium is an important part of any diet because it helps build strong, healthy bones. Getting enough calcium will help prevent bone-depleting diseases, such as osteoporosis.
While there could be an increase in calories and fat intake when you consume certain dairy products, there are now a number of low-fat dairy alternatives. You will not deprive yourself of calcium when you switch to low-fat dairy products. In fact, some low-fat iterations have more calcium content than full-fat dairy.
Studies have shown that dairy product consumption may actually support weight loss. Children who drink milk have lower body masses than those who do not. Other studies suggest that people who consume dairy products are slimmer than those who refrain.
It is believed that the calcium in milk and other dairy products helps people lose weight by supporting the breakdown of body fat. Other ingredients in dairy products, such as whey protein, amino acids, and conjugated linoleic acid, may also play important roles in weight loss.
When you decide to include dairy products in your diet, consider the following:
- Greek yogurt – The plain, low-sugar varieties offer a significant amount of protein as well as probiotics that improve the immune system.
- Cottage cheese – Four ounces of cottage cheese provide 14 grams of protein. Protein helps fuel muscle growth.
- Hard cheeses – Parmesan and other firm cheeses contain more protein and calcium but are lower in fat than softer cheeses.
- Chocolate milk – This milk is loaded with components that can refuel your body after an exhausting workout. It contains twice the protein of regular milk.
- Fortified yogurt and milk – These products have added nutrients that you may lose out on when you opt for low-fat dairy items.
- Organic dairy options – Go organic for dairy products that contain less salt and more nutrients.
Instead of eliminating dairy products from your diet, include healthy dairy items in your daily intake in order to enhance weight loss.