Objective: To examine the effect of dairy calcium consumption on weight loss and improvement in cardiovascular disease (CVD) and diabetes indicators among overweight diabetic patients.
Research design and methods: This was an ancillary study of a 6-month randomized clinical trial assessing the effect of three isocaloric diets in type 2 diabetic patients: 1) mixed glycemic index carbohydrate diet, 2) low-glycemic index diet, and 3) modified Mediterranean diet. Low-fat dairy product consumption varied within and across the groups by personal choice. Dietary intake, weight, CVD risk factors, and diabetes indexes were measured at baseline and at 6 months.
Results: A total of 259 diabetic patients were recruited with an average BMI >31 kg/m2 and mean age of 55 years. No difference was found at baseline between the intervention groups in CVD risk factors, diabetes indicators, macronutrient intake, and nutrient intake from dairy products. Dairy calcium intake was associated with percentage of weight loss. Among the high tertile of dairy calcium intake, the odds ratio for weight loss of >8% was 2.4, P = 0.04, compared with the first tertile, after controlling for nondairy calcium intake, diet type, and the change in energy intake from baseline. No association was noted between dairy calcium and other health indexes except for triglyceride levels.
Conclusions: A diet rich in dairy calcium intake enhances weight reduction in type 2 diabetic patients. Such a diet could be tried in diabetic patients, especially those with difficulty adhering to other weight reduction diets.