Background/aims: A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) was performed to investigate the effects of dairy food or supplements during energy restriction on body weight and composition in 18-50-year-old.
Methods: RCTs ≥ 4 weeks comparing the effect of dairy consumption (whole food or supplements) with control diets lower in dairy during energy restriction on body weight, fat and lean mass were identified by searching MEDLINE, EMBASE, Pubmed, Cochrane Central and World Health Organization International Clinical Trials Registry Platform (WHO ICTRP) until March 2016. Reports were identified and critically appraised in duplicate. Data were pooled using random-effects meta-analysis. Chi²- and I²-statistics indicated heterogeneity. Dose effect was assessed using meta-regression analysis. GRADE guidelines were used to rate the quality (QR) of the evidence considering risk of bias, inconsistency, indirectness, imprecision, publication bias and effect estimates.
Results: 27 RCTs were reviewed. Participants consumed between 2 and 4 standard servings/day of dairy food or 20-84 g/day of whey protein compared to low dairy control diets, over a median of 16 weeks. A greater reduction in body weight (-1.16 kg [-1.66, -0.66 kg], p < 0.001, I² = 11%, QR = high, n = 644) and body fat mass (-1.49 kg [-2.06, -0.92 kg], p < 0.001, I² = 21%, n = 521, QR = high) were found in studies largely including women (90% women). These effects were absent in studies that imposed resistance training (QR = low-moderate). Dairy intake resulted in smaller loss of lean mass (all trials pooled: 0.36 kg [0.01, 0.71 kg], p = 0.04, I² = 64%, n = 651, QR = moderate). No between study dose-response effects were seen.
Conclusions: Increased dairy intake as part of energy restricted diets resulted in greater loss in bodyweight and fat mass while attenuating lean mass loss in 18-50-year-old adults. Further research in males is needed to investigate sex effects.
Keywords: body composition; body fat mass; body lean mass; body weight; dairy; dairy supplements; energy restriction.