Calcium + vit D for breakfast show weight management potential

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Nutrition Obesity Vitamin d

Consuming high levels of vitamin D and calcium for breakfast may increase fat oxidation rates and energy burning during the course of the day, says a new study from Australia.

According to findings published in Clinical Nutrition​, a breakfast containing over 500 milligrams of calcium and 8.7 micrograms of vitamin D was associated with significantly increased fat and energy burning over 24 hours, compared to a breakfast containing 250 milligrams of the mineral and 0.3 micrograms of vitamin D.

“Overall, the data indicate that dietary calcium and vitamin D reciprocally modulate both arms of the energy balance equation and hence would play a role in the regulation of body weight,”​ wrote the researchers, led by Mario Soares from the Curtin University of Technology.

Dairy or calcium?

The role of dairy in weight management is an ongoing area of debate. A relationship between dairy intake and weight reduction has been recorded in numerous studies, and dairy industries in Europe and the US have been promoting milk-based products for consumers who want to slim for some time. The subject, however, remains controversial.

There are even splits within the dairy camp, with some arguing that calcium and vitamin D are the active nutrients behind the effects. One of the lead researchers in this are, Dr Michael Zemel from the University of Tennessee, has previously said that dairy can help reduce body fat and that calcium only accounts for about 40 per cent of the effect.

Study details

The Perth-based scientists recruited 11 people with an age of 54 and an average BMI of 31 kg/m2 and randomly assigned them to consume meals containing low or high calcium meals.

Results showed that the high calcium meal produced a significantly greater induction of thermogenesis (energy burning) compared with the low calcium control, while the fat oxidation rate also increased.

The researchers also reported that energy intake over 24 hours was significantly reduced following the high calcium intervention, with 320 kcal fewer consumed compared with the low calorie intervention.

“This study is the first to show an acute decrease in food intake following a high calcium trial,”​ wrote the authors.

“Mechanistically, [neuropeptide Y (NPY)] increases food intake through a strong preference for carbohydrate intake and, to some extent, fat intake. Given the 24 hour time frame of our observations and that circulating leptin acts to suppress NPY, the inverse relationship of leptin [change] to fat intake only following [high calcium intake], may have mechanistic significance.

“Overall, the data indicate that calcium and vitamin D regulate energy expenditure and macronutrient intake,”​ they added.

Bodily adaptations

Commenting on the study, Harry Rice, PhD, from the United Natural Products Alliance (UNPA), told NutraIngredients-USA: "In general, I thought the study was well-designed, not to mention well-executed. However, the authors’ conclusion that “Overall, the data indicate that dietary calcium and vitamin D reciprocally modulate both arms of the energy balance equation and hence would play a role in the regulation of body weight” is grossly overstated due to the acute nature of the research.

"One cannot dismiss the possibility that over a period of days, the body would adapt and any effect of calcium and vitamin D would no longer be demonstrated."

Source: Clinical Nutrition
Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.1016/j.clnu.2010.11.006
“Diet induced thermogenesis, fat oxidation and food intake following sequential meals: Influence of calcium and vitamin D “
Authors: W.C.S. Ping-Delfos, M. Soares

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