There’s a very good reason why milk is usually included in most diet plans. Together with other dairy products including yoghurt and cheese, it’s packed with protein, vitamins and minerals, especially calcium, which is needed for strong bones and teeth. In fact, good intakes of calcium, particularly in childhood, the teenage years and early adulthood can help reduce your risk of developing osteoporosis (brittle bone disease) in later life, a condition that currently affects one woman in three and one man in 12 over the age of 50.
Fortunately, reduced-fat dairy products contain just as much calcium, if not a little more, than full-fat products, making them an important part of a slimming diet.
Good non-dairy sources of calcium include fish where the bones are eaten such as canned sardines and mackerel, white bread (white flour is fortified with calcium), green leafy vegetables such as broccoli, nuts, seeds, beans, dried fruit and oranges. Fortunately, many of these foods also tend to be low in calories and so can easily be incorporated into a sliming diet. As you’re currently avoiding dairy products, you should make sure you eat plenty of these foods. However, it’s worth bearing in mind that the body more easily absorbs the calcium in milk and dairy products than the calcium in most other food.
For good health, the Department of Health recommends that adults consume 700mg of calcium each day.