December 1/Hamilton, Ont./Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism-- Eating protein-rich foods, especially dairy products, protects bones when overweight or obese young women try to shed weight through dieting, suggests a new study.

The study found bone health improvements were particularly evident due to the high density of bone-supporting nutrients such as calcium, vitamin D and dairy-based protein.

“Our findings demonstrate the importance of diet composition to the maintenance of bone health status during weight loss,” said Andrea Josse, kinesiologist at McMaster University, who led the study, the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism reported.

For 16 weeks, three groups of overweight and obese yet healthy, pre-menopausal women each consumed either low, medium or high amounts of dairy foods coupled with higher or lower amounts of protein and carbohydrates.

Calcium and vitamin D levels were also graded from low to high across the groups in conjunction with the dairy foods they consumed, a university statement said.

The women exercised seven days per week, a routine that included aerobic exercise every day and two additional workouts of circuit weightlifting per week.

“Our data clearly show dairy-source protein is important when aiming to avoid harmful consequences such as accelerated bone loss during weight loss. In our view, young women attempting to lose weight should consume a diet higher in dairy-source protein,” said Josse.

 "These women are not only at the age when achieving and maintaining peak bone mass is of great importance, but in whom adequate dairy consumption would offset sub-optimal intakes of calcium and vitamin D,” said researcher Stuart Phillips.

 From the December 3, 2011, Prepared Foods' Daily News.