Monday 20 January 2014

Is Calcium a Fat Burner?

There are so many substances that are claimed to cause weight loss, it’s often difficult to keep track. These claims can be detrimental because it creates confusion as to what works and what doesn't work. In this confusion, some of the best weight loss tools pass by under the radar unnoticed. Calcium may be one such substance that is often overlooked for its weight loss effects.

Yoghurt Burns Fat

The weight loss ability of calcium is well studied. The ability of calcium to cause weight loss was first noticed in a study looking at osteoporosis. Subjects were fed yoghurt to see if the calcium helped their bones. It didn’t. However, an interesting side effect of the yoghurt was that the subjects lost weight. Because the only difference between the groups was the yoghurt one group ate, the yoghurt must have caused the weight loss effects.

But Yoghurt Contains Other Things, Right?

Sure yoghurt does contain components other than calcium. How do we know these did not cause the weight loss? Well subsequent studies have investigated this question and found that the conjugated linoleic acid in dairy foods can burn fat. So dairy foods are good foods to eat if you're trying to lose weight. However, studies also show that calcium is also involved in body weight regulation. So you may not have to eat yoghurt to get the weight loss benefits seen in the osteoporosis study.

So How Does Calcium Cause Weight Loss?

It’s not exactly clear how calcium works to cause weight loss. However, it may decrease the absorption of fat. When we eat calcium with foods, some of the calcium binds to fat in the intestines and forms what a chemists would call a soap. This soap is insoluble and so is not well absorbed. The net result is that the fat, along with the calcium, are excreted and never absorbed. So calcium might be an effective fat binder.

Should I Take Calcium?

If you're trying to lose weight taking calcium supplements with meals might be an effective way to inhibit the absorption of some fat. This may cause a small amount of weight loss. Alternatively if you like yoghurt, eating it everyday should cause weight loss as it did in the osteoporosis study participants. Just makes sure that the yoghurt is natural and contains live cultures. Also makes sure the yoghurt isn't a gimmicky low fat one, as we know low fat foods are grow fat foods (here).

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