November 08, 2010
Low Vitamin D Associated With Higher Weight Gain

In a study of children in Colombia low blood vitamin D was associated with higher rate of weight gain.

Villamor worked with colleagues at the National University of Colombia and began the research while at Harvard. The investigators recruited a group of 479 school children ages 5-12 from Bogota, Colombia, in 2006 and followed them for about 30 months. They measured vitamin D in blood taken at the beginning of the study, and then examined the link between vitamin D levels and changes in three indicators of body fat over time: body mass index, waist circumference and subscapular-to-triceps skin fold ratio.

"We found that the kids with the lowest vitamin D levels at the beginning tended to gain weight faster than the kids with higher levels," said Villamor, who added that children with the lowest vitamin D levels had more drastic increases in central body fat measures.

On a related note another study found greater weight loss among people who drink milk. Would vitamin D alone account for this? Or are other components of milk helping?

Share |      Randall Parker, 2010 November 08 10:34 PM  Aging Diet Weight Studies

David Gobel said at November 9, 2010 1:41 PM:

I find that my hunger levels are drastically lower the more fat there is in the milk. ie when added to my coffee at 7am, skim milk seems to MAKE me hungry, regular milk is neutral, half and half diminishes hunger till lunch, and heavy whipping cream in my coffee in the AM takes me all the way to 4pm before I get hungry. I do not eat breakfast.

Tom said at November 9, 2010 6:42 PM:

I read that calcium helps to control weight.

Like David I also find that regular milk is more satisfying than low fat milk. If I buy low fat milk I end up drinking more.

AC in CA said at November 10, 2010 11:54 AM:

David Gobel: the main difference being the fat content - fat makes you full. Skim and low-fat milk have higher carbohydrate/sugar content which gets burned up faster in the system. Read Gary Taubes "Good Calories, Bad Calories" for an excellent analysis of dietary fat (and a non-conventional take on nutrition).

David Gobel said at November 10, 2010 12:48 PM:

Hi AC - I have spoken with Gary and read his book. It was on the basis of that book that I embarked on a successful low carb regimen, and now use heavy whipping cream with my coffee to kill my appetite until dinner if I so choose.

David Gobel said at November 10, 2010 12:59 PM:

Study showing modest REDUCTION in vascular risk from drinking milk (european study). I wonder if Europe adds vitamin D to their milk?

Eur J Clin Nutr. 2004 May;58(5):718-24.
Milk drinking, ischaemic heart disease and ischaemic stroke II. Evidence from cohort studies.
Elwood PC, Pickering JE, Hughes J, Fehily AM, Ness AR.

Department of Epidemiology, Statistics and Public Health, University of Wales College of Medicine, Cardiff, UK.
OBJECTIVE: Milk consumption is considered a risk factor for vascular disease on the basis of relevant biological mechanisms and data from ecological studies. The aim was to identify published prospective studies of milk drinking and vascular disease, and conduct an overview.

DESIGN: The literature was searched for cohort studies, in which an estimate of the consumption of milk, or the intake of calcium from dairy sources, has been related to incident vascular disease.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Ischaemic heart disease and ischaemic stroke.

RESULTS: In total, 10 studies were identified. Their results show a high degree of consistency in the reported risk for heart disease and stroke, all but one study suggesting a relative risk of less than one in subjects with the highest intakes of milk. A pooled estimate of relative odds in these subjects, relative to the risk in subjects with the lowest consumption, is 0.87 (95% CI 0.74-1.03) for ischaemic heart disease and 0.83 (0.77-0.90) for ischaemic stroke. The odds ratio for any vascular event is 0.84 (0.78-0.90).

CONCLUSIONS: Cohort studies provide no convincing evidence that milk is harmful. While there still could be residual confounding from unidentified factors, the studies, taken together, suggest that milk drinking may be associated with a small but worthwhile reduction in heart disease and stroke risk

Huusker said at November 10, 2010 1:40 PM:

Did the study control for the fact that higher vitamin D correlates to being outdoors in the sun? Doing physical activity?

Gordon said at November 10, 2010 1:48 PM:

I, too, read Taubes' book and was very influenced by it. For one, I'm a physician and found that many of my non-PC attitudes about nutrition, heart disease, etc were not only verified but shockingly so (here was Al Gore again!!). I modified my diet, gradually lost 10-12 lbs, and only watch carbohydrates: virtually no sugar, minimal 'white' starches, but don't worry about fat or anything else, really. I monitor my weight closely. I was angry and frustrated that his data are out there and I feel have been politically supressed--doesn't sell statins, you know.

I should mention that the motive for this was a hemoglobin A1c of 6.2; literally 'borderline'. I was shocked because I could honestly say that my weight hadn't changed since the late '70s--and had the records to prove it. I've exercised vigorously for decades, since the military. What I realized was that, despite the constant weight and good fitness, changing hormone levels over time had taken their toll: less muscle, more fat, bigger waistline.

Two things about Taubes' book: the writing is convoluted, repetitive, and tedious--you have to wade through this book's long sentences and paragraphs. I think he had so much info he couldn't bear to leave anything out and really needed a tough editor.

The other is something almost mentioned in passing: how humans don't really seem to need a 'balanced diet' as proven by the Eskimo and two Europeans who ate their 'unbalanced' diet while remaining in good health. Turns out the 'balanced diet' is a SWAG--a certain kind of guess.

Before you buy the book, read the summary chapter at the end; I suspect it was added late at someone's insistence and you may get all you want right there.

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