Busting 10 Diet Myths
The theory: Calcium helps the body break down fat more efficiently, stimulating weight loss.
The reality: Dairy doesn't appear to have magic properties. A few studies from the mid-2000s concluded that dieters who consumed dairy lost more weight than dieters who did not. But other studies showed no effect, and still others showed a link between high milk consumption and eating more calories.
The best advice: Go ahead and eat dairy products, but stick with low-fat versions, which are lower in both calories and unhealthy saturated fats. Milk products are loaded with calcium, of course, but how much calcium you need is a matter of debate. The government recommends at least 1,000 milligrams of calcium for adults under 50 years old (about the amount in three cups of milk) and 1,200 milligrams for people over 50; however, the Harvard School of Public Health holds that no one really knows the healthiest, safest amount of calcium that adults should consume. If dairy products don't agree with you, you can get calcium from fortified soy milk; fortified orange juice; dark green, leafy vegetables, such as kale and collard greens; and certain fish, such as canned salmon.