How can dairy calcium help combat obesity

News Published: 19/02/2018

At the British Dairy Council's event ‘Dairy & Obesity: What the science says’ hosted in London last year, Javier T. Gonzalez from the University of Bath presented some insightful points on the potential of dairy calcium to combat obesity. In his presentation, he highlighted two main benefits of consuming calcium to assist in the prevention and/or treatment of obesity::

  • Dietary calcium reduces appetite. There is increasing evidence indicating that meals containing calcium make people feel fuller for longer. This may lead to a reduction in the amount of food eaten at other meals later in the day.
  • Induce a greater gut hormone response, mimicking the effect of bariatric surgery. Dietary calcium appears to stimulate the release of hormones produced by the gut. Some of these hormones play important roles in suppressing appetite and improving blood sugar control. Since these hormones are thought to be a major way in which bariatric surgery produces weight loss, dietary calcium mimics some of the effects of bariatric surgery.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), obesity is a global health concern with at least 2.8 million people dying each year as a result of being overweight or obese, which are major risk factors for a number of chronic diseases, including diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and cancer. With obesity reaching epidemic proportions, governments, international partners, civil society, non-governmental organizations and the private sector all have vital roles to play in contributing to obesity prevention.

Arla Foods Ingredients is currently collaborating with Javier T. Gonzalez on further studies to further research the potential of milk calcium with the ultimate goal of combatting obesity. “I am very grateful for the support that Arla Foods Ingredients are providing to our ongoing research,” says Gonzalez, and continues: “We are currently exploring how specific types and amounts of milk components such as calcium and whey protein, influence gut hormones, appetite and metabolism. Our long-term aim is to develop effective nutritional strategies to assist in weight management and optimize metabolic health, as an alternative method to more drastic strategies such as bariatric surgery.”


Javier T. Gonzalez,Emma J. Stevenson, 2014. ”Calcium co-ingestion augments postprandial glucose-dependent insulinotropic peptide, glucagon-like peptide-1 and insulin concentrations in humans” Eur J Nutr 53: 375-385, doi: 10.1007/s00394-013-0532-8.

Gonzalez, et. al. 2015. “Calcium Ingestion Suppresses Appetite and Produces Acute Overcompensation of Energy Intake Independent of Protein in Healthy Adults” J Nutr 145: 476-482, doi: 10.3945/jn.114.205708.

Javier T. Gonzalez, Penny L.S. Rumbold, and Emma J. Stevenson, 2013. “Appetite sensations and substrate metabolism at rest, during exercise, and recovery: impact of a high-calcium meal” Appl Physiol Nutr Metab 38: 1260-1267, doi: 10.1139/apnm-2013-0056