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Open Access Research

Dietary fat and not calcium supplementation or dairy product consumption is associated with changes in anthropometrics during a randomized, placebo-controlled energy-restriction trial

Jennifer T Smilowitz12, Michelle M Wiest3, Dorothy Teegarden4, Michael B Zemel5, J Bruce German12 and Marta D Van Loan6*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Food Science and Technology, University of California, Davis, CA 95616, USA

2 Foods for Health Institute, University of California Davis, Davis, CA 95616, USA

3 Department of Statistics, University of Idaho, Moscow, ID 83844, USA

4 Department of Food and Nutrition, Purdue University, W. Lafayette, IN 47907, USA

5 Department of Nutrition, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 37996, USA

6 USDA, ARS, Western Human Nutrition Research Center, Davis, CA 95616, USA

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Nutrition & Metabolism 2011, 8:67  doi:10.1186/1743-7075-8-67

Published: 5 October 2011

Abstract

Insufficient calcium intake has been proposed to cause unbalanced energy partitioning leading to obesity. However, weight loss interventions including dietary calcium or dairy product consumption have not reported changes in lipid metabolism measured by the plasma lipidome.

Methods

The objective of this study was to determine the relationships between dairy product or supplemental calcium intake with changes in the plasma lipidome and body composition during energy restriction. A secondary objective of this study was to explore the relationships among calculated macronutrient composition of the energy restricted diet to changes in the plasma lipidome, and body composition during energy restriction. Overweight adults (n = 61) were randomized into one of three intervention groups including a deficit of 500kcal/d: 1) placebo; 2) 900 mg/d calcium supplement; and 3) 3-4 servings of dairy products/d plus a placebo supplement. Plasma fatty acid methyl esters of cholesterol ester, diacylglycerol, free fatty acids, lysophosphatidylcholine, phosphatidylcholine, phosphatidylethanolamine and triacylglycerol were quantified by capillary gas chromatography.

Results

After adjustments for energy and protein (g/d) intake, there was no significant effect of treatment on changes in weight, waist circumference or body composition. Plasma lipidome did not differ among dietary treatment groups. Stepwise regression identified correlations between reported intake of monounsaturated fat (% of energy) and changes in % lean mass (r = -0.44, P < 0.01) and % body fat (r = 0.48, P < 0.001). Polyunsaturated fat intake was associated with the % change in waist circumference (r = 0.44, P < 0.01). Dietary saturated fat was not associated with any changes in anthropometrics or the plasma lipidome.

Conclusions

Dairy product consumption or calcium supplementation during energy restriction over the course of 12 weeks did not affect plasma lipids. Independent of calcium and dairy product consumption, short-term energy restriction altered body composition. Reported dietary fat composition of energy restricted diets was associated with the degree of change in body composition in these overweight and obese individuals.