According to a 24-week study published in Obesity Research, the journal for US Obesity, adults who eat dairy products as part of a low calorie diet lose more weight than those who consume a dairy free diet.
On average adults that had between 3-4 servings of milk, yoghurt or cheese lost 24 pounds over the period, which the researchers claim is significantly more than dairy-free dieters.
Previous research had suggested that it was possibly the calcium content in dairy products which helped weight loss, but this study claimed that it was dairy food's mixture of essential nutrients such as calcium and proteins which gave it its fat-burning properties.
Micheal Zemel, the study's leading researcher, explained the research in simple terms. "People lose more weight on diets that include three servings of dairy than those that don't.".
The research showed that those who ate dairy products lost weight in particularly in the abdominal region, and a reduction of fat in this region may lower chances of developing some chronic diseases, such as heart disease and hypertension, scientists claim.
The findings have come at a time when obesity, especially in the US, is nearing epidemic proportions. Research has shown that 64 per cent of Americans are overweight or obese, while in 2000, weight-related illnesses cost the US health department $117 billion.
Another study into dairy consumption and weight loss carried out across 90 countries suggested that the daily intake of 3-4 servings of dairy products could save the US health department $200 billion over five years by significantly contributing to weight loss.