As you know, following the Slimming World plan has been working quite well for me, so I decided to do a little on-line research to determine why Slimming World has decided that the benefits of eating yogurt to weight loss are worth any risk from the calories eating the yogurt brings into the body.
I actually found quite a lot about dairy and weight loss. According to an article on Virgin Media, calcium binds itself to fat which makes the fat less digestible, so the body excretes it. It is obvious how this can aid in weight loss.
A study done in 2003, according to an article on About.com, people who consumed three servings of fat-free yogurt daily lost over 20% more weight than the dieters who consumed less dairy, despite similar calorie intakes. Even better, the yogurt consumers lost a significantly larger amount of belly fat. The article quotes a lead researcher, Dr. Michael Zemel about an added benefit for the subjects who consumed more yogurt.
“They were about twice as effective at maintaining lean muscle mass. This is a critical issue when dieting -- you want to lose fat, not muscle. Muscle helps burn calories, but it is often compromised during weight loss."
Another article on the website Peak Performance mentions another study done in 2001. According to them,
“The results of this study showed that the density of the diet was inversely linked to changes in body weight and body fat – ie a high calcium density predicted weight loss and body fat reductions, and vice versa.”
This article mentions several different studies which all support the idea that a high intake of calcium helps to increase fat loss, especially in the abdominal area. There was even one study done on rats who had high blood pressure. The rats with a higher calcium concentration in their diets didn’t just lose more weight than the control rats but they also improved their blood pressure.
According to another article at Weightlossresources.co.uk, researchers at Purdue University in Indiana conducted a study which had similar results to the other studies about calcium and weight loss. In most of these studies, the subjects with the higher density of calcium in their diets are either consuming 1,000mg daily of calcium or they are eating three helpings of fat-free yogurt daily.
Another great thing about yogurt is that it can sometimes be beneficial to healthy digestion, and it also tends to have a decent amount of protein which can help keep a person feeling full for longer.
So in light of all of the studies which have found a link between the consumption of dairy and an increase in fat loss, I am going to keep eating my fat free yogurts, as well as using them in my cooking. And most likely, I am going to continue losing fat.