Dairy, fat and body weight
To maintain a healthy body weight, it is important to consume a variety of nutritious foods and undertake regular exercise.
Fat in itself (the proportion of fat in our diet) is not associated with obesity. What matters most is the total energy (kilojoules) we consume (1).
Observational studies suggest that the consumption of dairy products, including full fat varieties, can help people to manage a healthy weight (2).
Randomised control trials support nutrient-dense dairy products as part of a weight loss diet to help preserve lean muscle mass and enhance body fat loss (3, 4, 5).
These results could be due to the roles of calcium in fat metabolism (6, 7) and excretion (8) as well as protein in satiety9 and preservation of muscle mass (3).
While a higher proportion of energy (calories) from fat can be consumed without increasing the risk of weight gain, it’s still important to have a balance of protein, carbohydrate and fat to ensure you meet your nutrient requirements. The recommended range of fat intake is between 20-35% of energy (10).
Enjoy dairy in moderation: Dairy products such as milk, cheese and yoghurt are nutrient dense and three servings a day as part of a balanced diet can help us to get the nutrients we need from food. Energy dense products such as butter, cream and ice cream can still be a part of a healthy diet but should be consumed less frequently and in smaller quantities.
Fonterra supports having a range of product options available with different nutrition profiles (including full fat and reduced or low fat varieties) to meet different consumer preferences. Check the label and choose the product that is right for the occasion, whether it be for the everyday goodness of dairy, or an occasional indulgence.
- FAO (2010) Fats and fatty acids in human nutrition. Report of an Expert Consultation, 10-14 November 2008 in Geneva. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Rome.
- Louie JC, Flood VM, Hector DJ, Rangan AM, Gill TP. (2011) Dairy consumption and overweight and obesity: a systematic review of prospective cohort studies. Obes Rev 2011;12:e582–92.
- Abargouei AS, Janghorbani M, Salehi-Marzijarani M, Esmaillzadeh A. (2012) Effect of dairy consumption on weight and body composition in adults: a systematic review and metaanalysis of randomized controlled clinical trials. Int J Obes (Lond) 2012; Jan 17 (Epub ahead of print; DOI: 10.1038/ijo.2011.269).
- Chen M, Pan A, Malik VS, Hu FB. (2012) Effects of dairy intake on body weight and fat: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Am J Clin Nutr 2012. doi: o 10.3945/ajcn.112.037119
- Booth AO, Huggins CE, Wattanapenpaiboon N, Nowson CA (2015) Effect of increasing dietary calcium through supplements and dairy food on body weight and body composition: a meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. Brit J Nutr 114:1013-1025.
- Gonzalez JT, Rumbold PLS, Stevenson EJ. (2012) Effect of calcium intake on fat oxidation in adults: a meta-analysis of randomized, controlled trials. Obesity Reviews doi: 10.1111/j.1467-789X.2012.01013.x
- Lorenzen JK, Astrup A.(2011) Dairy calcium intake modifies responsiveness of fat metabolism and blood lipids to a high-fat diet. Br J Nutr 31:1–10.
- Christensen R, Lorenzen JK, Svith CR, Bartels EM, Melanson EL, Saris WH, Tremblay A, Astrup A. (2009) Effect of calcium from dairy and dietary supplements on faecal fat excretion: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Obes Rev10:475– 86.
- Tremblay A, Gilbert JA. (2011) Human obesity: is insufficient calcium/dairy intake part of the problem? J Am Coll Nutr. Oct;30(5 Suppl 1):449S-53S.
- National Health and Medical Research Council and Ministry of Health. Nutrient Reference Values for Australia and New Zealand including Recommended Dietary Intakes. Canberra and Wellington: National Health and Medical Research Council and Ministry of Health; 2006