We’ve all heard that milk does a body good — but just how good? It turns out that adequate dairy consumption may lead to reduced belly fat and reduced risk of disease. This study tested the possibility that a diet with about 3.5 servings of dairy per day could reduce oxidative stress associated with metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is a collection of metabolic disorders, including abdominal obesity, that together increase heart disease and diabetes risk.
Researchers measured oxidative factors as well as diabetes and blood pressure markers in obese individuals with metabolic syndrome. LDL (bad) cholesterol, other oxidative compounds and insulin are produced in response to abnormal metabolism that accompanies obesity. They go on to harm the body’s needed cell functions, leading to chronic diseases. Other studies have linked antioxidant-rich fruit and vegetables to reduced oxidation and dairy intake to weight loss, but this is among the first research to show a possible link of dairy to reduced oxidation in the obese population.
No reduction in body weight in either group was found in this study. However, the group with adequate dairy showed reduced levels of abdominal obesity, a key to reducing risk of heart disease and diabetes. Improved insulin sensitivity, reduced insulin secretion and lower LDL levels were also seen with dairy consumption. This finding demonstrates the likelihood that getting enough dairy in your diet could reduce type-2 diabetes and heart disease risk.
The good news for us? The “adequate dietary dairy” group consumed about 3.5 servings per day. No crazy supplementation was used; just plain old, store-bought milk, yogurt and cheese to yield possible results. So how can you get your proper servings per day? One low-fat dairy serving equals:
- 1 cup skim or low-fat milk
- 8 oz. low-fat or fat-free yogurt
- 2 small slices cheese