Can you get too much of a good thing? Yes, even when it's something as essential for your health and waistline as calcium. On his Dec. 27 talk show, Dr. Mehmet Oz explained the benefits of calcium and the dangers of overdosing. Plus: Discover what you need to know about protein powder for weight loss.
Calcium builds strong bones and teeth: We all know that. But did you know that calcium can also boost your weight loss? Studies show that the right amount of calcium (equivalent to three to four daily servings of low-fat dairy) can reduce your body fat.
Hang Shi, a postdoctoral student in the Nutrition Institute at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, who conducted one of the studies, noted that low-fat dairy is the key if you want to get your calcium through food sources.
"High-fat dietary calcium can establish obesity, but it's surprising that low-fat calcium may help reduce body fat," Shi told WebMD. "The effect is very significant, much more than we imagined it would be."
Too much calcium, though, warns Dr. Oz, can cause problems. Excess calcium increases your risk of heart disease because the excess is deposited in your arteries in layers and gets hard. The result: Your heart must work harder to pump blood, resulting in cardiovascular disease.
How much is the right amount: Depending on your age and other factors, such as if you are menopausal or pregnant, a minimum of 1,000 mg per day to a maximum of 2,000 mg, according to the Institute of Medicine. Talk to your doctor to get the specifics on how much is right for you.
Complementing that daily dose of calcium: Vitamin D, which Dr. Oz regards as one of his favorite supplements. It boosts your bone health and immune system, improves your mood and even can prevent certain cancers. It also helps your body absorb that other weight loss supplement: Calcium.
How vitamin D helps with weight loss: Your brain's receptors require vitamin D to manage your cravings and boost serotonin. In addition, it complements calcium to help your body burn fat faster, according to a recent study published in the British Journal of Nutrition.
In that study, obese women who were put on a 15-week diet and took 1,200 milligrams of calcium a day lost six times more weight than women who followed the diet alone.
How much: Dr. Oz recommends 600 to 1000 IU per day. He suggests seeking food sources but then adding supplements as needed. Good sources include fortified milk, salmon with bones and Greek yogurt.
Protein powder has become a popular way to boost the amount of protein you get each day. Why that's important: Studies show that eating diets high in protein accelerate fat-burning. But what kind should you choose? The "Dr. Oz Show" featured three different types:
- Casein protein powder: Both whey and casein protein powders boost calorie burn for several hours. However, casein acts as an appetite suppressant, keeping you satisfied longer because it's digested more slowly.
- Egg white protein powder: Dr. Oz has frequently recommended eggs for breakfast as a great way to boost your metabolism and kick-start weight loss. Not fond of eggs? Try an egg white smoothie made with protein powder for the same benefits.
- Brown rice protein powder: Are you a vegan? Protein powder made of brown rice can help you get enough protein in your diet.