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Why Calcium Rocks!

I drink over a litre of milk per day. Sometimes more.

I'm one of the few that seems to thrive on dairy. Milk, chocolate milk, ice cream, cheese, yogurt... I have my favourites of course. During university I was notorious for drinking chocolate milk daily.

Of course, calcium isn't only found in dairy. Hardly! Even greater amounts are in leafy greens and veggies such as broccoli, spinach and kale.

There are scientific studies that have linked calcium to increased fat burning capabilities in women (probably men too, but that will have to be a separate study).

Can a daily cup of yogurt give you a slimmer silhouette? That is the idea yogurt makers would like you to believe, but how accurate is the facts? Well it turns out it may have a real basis in scientific fact. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition not only shows a calcium-rich diet is associated with fat loss, but also explains why.

Normal-weight women ranging in age from 18-30 years were randomly assigned to a low (less than 800 mg per day) or high (1000-1400 mg per day) calcium diet for 1 year, and the rate at which their bodies burned fat after a meal was assessed at the beginning and end of the study.

After 1 year, fat oxidation (burning) was 20 times higher in women eating the high calcium diet compared to those in the low-calcium control group (0.10 vs. 0.06 gram per minute).

TWENTY TIMES HIGHER. That is a huge difference.

The women's blood levels of parathyroid hormone were also checked and were found to correlate with their rate of fat oxidation. (The primary function of parathyroid hormone is to maintain normal levels of calcium in the body. When calcium levels drop too low, parathyroid hormone is secreted to instruct bone cells to release calcium into the bloodstream.)

Higher blood levels of parathyroid hormone were associated with a lower rate of fat oxidation and lower dietary calcium intake, while lower blood levels of parathyroid hormone levels were seen in the women consuming a diet high in calcium, who were burning fat more rapidly after a meal. So, it appears that a high-calcium diet increases fat oxidation, at least in part, by lessening the need for parathyroid hormone secretion, thus keeping blood levels of the hormone low.

In theory it should work just as well in men too, although that will require a different study to make certain.

So yeah. Want to lose weight? Eat more calcium!

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