Girls who drink milk have less fat, lower BMI
Girls who drink more milk carry less body fat and have a lower body mass index (BMI), according to a study of 1,001 teens in Portugal.
Sandra Abreu et al. at the University of Porto measured weight, height and body fat percentage in 1,001 teenage boys and girls aged 15-18 years, and asked the teens about their consumption of milk and dairy products.
They found that girls who were consuming more milk (regular or low-fat) were more likely to have a lower BMI and a lower percentage of body fat. Boys who drank milk were not significantly slimmer, but they were no more likely to be overweight than boys who did not drink milk.
The trend seen in girls might be caused by ‘bioactive peptides’ in milk that have been shown to inhibit hormones involved in fat deposition, say the researchers, or it could be that those girls who drink milk are also more likely to show other “healthier lifestyle traits” that protect them from excess weight gain
The 2007 National Children’s Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey found that only 14 per cent of girls aged 14-16 consumed the recommended three serves of dairy per day, and only 58 per cent consumed any milk on the day of the survey.
Terrill Bruere, a dietitian at Jean Hailes, says that this and other studies illustrate how important continuing to have dairy products can be to nutrition, health and potentially weight management: “Dairy foods are a source of important nutrients such as calcium, riboflavin, magnesium, vitamin B12 and others,” says Bruere. “This (with some protein, carbohydrate from lactose and a little fat) means yoghurts, cheeses, ice cream and milk drinks make foods that are both satisfying and nutritious, particularly as snacks. Be careful with creamier foods and sauces if you are concerned about your weight.”
‘Milk intake is inversely related to body mass index and body fat in girls’ - Eur J pediat. 2012 May 1 [EPub]
Dairy Australia press release
Calcium – an essential nutrient, especially in adolescence