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Research to discover benefits of full-fat milk in weight loss

A researcher at RMIT University has been granted $520 000 to investigate the role of products rich in dairy have in weight loss.

The Dairy Health and Nutrition Consortium awarded Professor John Hawley from the School of Medical Sciences at RMIT University the grant which will examine the effect of dairy-based high-protein, variable-carbohydrate diets and exercise on weight loss and muscle maintenance and functional capacity.

Hawley said the project aims to determine which commercially available dairy foods would facilitate weight loss and in what quantities such products should be consumed, when combined with appropriate exercise.

“Most of us know that as part of a healthy balanced diet we need three to four serves of dairy each day, including at least one serve of milk, cheese and yoghurt,” he said.

“But at the same time there are people running around saying that if you want to lose weight (or more precisely fat mass) then you have to stay away from all dairy products.

“We think this is nonsense!

“There is a growing body of evidence to suggest that full-fat dairy products may actually be better for weight loss than many low-fat products, especially when it comes to maintaining muscle mass.

“This latter issue is particularly relevant as sarcopenia, an age-related loss of skeletal muscle and functional capacity, is an ever-growing problem in an ageing Australian society.

“So we are looking to bring research science to the question and provide evidence- based facts to assist people who are over-weight with permanent, gradual, healthy fat loss.”

Hawley, who is Head of the Exercise Metabolism Research Group and Professor of Exercise Metabolism in RMIT’s School of Medical Sciences will be assisted by a world-class team including Professor Louise Burke, Head of the Department of Sports Nutrition at the Australian Institute of Sport in the ACT; Professor Stuart Phillips, Head of Research at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada; and Dr Vernon Coffey, a senior post doctoral scientist at RMIT.

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