Objective: Our objective was to determine the effects of dairy consumption on adiposity and body composition in obese African Americans.
Research methods and procedures: We performed two randomized trials in obese African-American adults. In the first (weight maintenance), 34 subjects were maintained on a low calcium (500 mg/d)/low dairy (<1 serving/d) or high dairy (1200 mg Ca/d diet including 3 servings of dairy) diet with no change in energy or macronutrient intake for 24 weeks. In the second trial (weight loss), 29 subjects were similarly randomized to the low or high dairy diets and placed on a caloric restriction regimen (-500 kcal/d).
Results: In the first trial, body weight remained stable for both groups throughout the maintenance study. The high dairy diet resulted in decreases in total body fat (2.16 kg, p < 0.01), trunk fat (1.03 kg, p < 0.01), insulin (18.7 pM, p < 0.04), and blood pressure (6.8 mm Hg systolic, p < 0.01; 4.25 mm Hg diastolic, p < 0.01) and an increase in lean mass (1.08 kg, p < 0.04), whereas there were no significant changes in the low dairy group. In the second trial, although both diets produced significant weight and fat loss, weight and fat loss on the high dairy diet were approximately 2-fold higher (p < 0.01), and loss of lean body mass was markedly reduced (p < 0.001) compared with the low dairy diet.
Discussion: Substitution of calcium-rich foods in isocaloric diets reduced adiposity and improved metabolic profiles in obese African Americans without energy restriction or weight loss and augmented weight and fat loss secondary to energy restriction.