by Dr. Madelyn Fernstrom
You might not know that cutting calories and losing weight can both affect bone density. To fight back, the best one-two punch for dieters is to include low or non-fat dairy products. Packed with both protein and calcium, these are two of the key nutrients where most dieters fall short.
Calcium supports bone health (enhanced by vitamin D, also found in dairy foods). That extra protein keeps your hunger in check as well.
Here are some dairy diet tips, and a few of my favorite choices - ready-to-eat at any time of day. I’ve included some non-dairy calcium options, for those of you who cannot digest dairy products, or choose not to eat them.
- Avoid artery-clogging, full-fat dairy products. Low and non-fat dairy contain the same protein and calcium as the full-fat version.
- Choose low or non-fat yogurt, including drinkable forms. Watch out for added sugars that add only calories, without further nutrients. Add your own frozen or fresh fruit to plain yogurt.
- Organic yogurt doesn’t mean low in calories – read the labels.
- Try some “greek-style” yogurt, which is very thick and tasty,
- Dark green leafy veggies like broccoli are good sources of calcium, but far less concentrated than dairy products (it takes more than 2 cups of broccoli to equal the calcium in an 8 ounce glass of milk!)
- Lactaid milk is calcium fortified, for those who have lactose-intolerance.
- Soy milk is a calcium-rich, high protein “milk alternative”
- Check out calcium-fortified foods, like orange juice, and pasta; while not a natural food source, these products can help boost your calcium intake.