In the July 2002 Reader’s Digest in an article titled HOLY COW, Michael Zemel, chairman of the nutrition department at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville has found that milk helps lower the ability of human fat cells to store calories as body-fat while increasing the amount used as heat. While milk has come under fire lately from various groups as being to blame for body fat gain, this new study actually proves the opposite-that milk actually helps burn fat.

     Dr. Zemel says that calcium plays a key role because it helps regulate the flow of messages in the nerves allowing various kinds of cells to figure out what they need to do. Dr. Zemel found that when calcium is prevalent in the blood, fat cells get the command to stop storing fat and to start burning it as fuel. The article goes on to say that calcium pills may be helpful but nothing comes close to the complete package of nutrients found in milk.

     This, of course, does not mean that you can eat all of the calories you want and drink milk to lose fat. Calories still count, but the positive aspects of drinking milk go far beyond the well known bone building effects of calcium.

     In the NSCA’s Strength and Conditioning Journal, June 2002 Volume 24, Number 3, edition, Barbara Rolls and Tanja V.E. Kral of Penn State University discuss felling full on fewer calories. The authors state that humans tend to eat the same weight of food more consistently than the same caloric intake. Therefore, by eating more watery and fiber rich foods that take up the same weight but have fewer calories of other foods, you will lose weight all while feeling just as full.

     In other words foods like broccoli, cabbage, strawberries and tomato soup have a much lower energy density (fewer calories) than foods like crackers, white rice and oatmeal cookies and they take up more space in the stomach thus making you feel much fuller on far fewer calories. The article also mentions that you can lower the number of calories of foods by either decreasing the fat content, increase the water content or (preferably) do both.

     People have known for years about lowering the fat content of foods so increasing the water content may be a new and better approach for some individuals because it is based on the ‘satiety’ factor of peoples diets. Satiety basically means feeling full and as we all know this is extremely important in the fight to lose weight, as it is no fun to be hungry all the time.

     As the old saying goes knowledge is only power if you use it. Take time to read the latest information available on fitness and nutrition to change your life for the better.