Dairy Diet

Reporter: Andrea Burns

It isn't what Terri O'Neil and Alison Curtis have taken OUT of their diets in the past few weeks that's seen them drop a few kilos, it's what they've put IN. Dietitian Vanessa Ellis is dishing up a shake high in dairy proteins. Terri and Alison agreed to take it before breakfast and dinner for 12 weeks, to see if it'd help them lose weight. "To find something that could help you regulate your weight and still let you eat the things you love, how good would that be?" Vanessa says "it increases the metabolism, they burn off their food a lot quicker and weight loss will follow and that's without any change in their usual diet and physical activity levels"

Curtin University Professor Sebaly Pal is heading the study, investigating the effect of whey protein in dairy, on metabolic syndrome. It's a condition where the risk factors for both heart disease and diabetes occur together. Obesity tops the list. "Prelim studies have shown in animals that whey may have anti obesity effects it reduces body weight and improves blood pressure and blood glucose"

Currently, sixty per cent of Australians are overweight or obese. Just three serves of dairy a day might make a change. "It's been shown that those who consume 3 or more serves of dairy have a lower incidence of metabolic syndrome than those who consume very little dairy or no dairy"

Study participants are weighed, measured, their blood pressure is monitored. Body scans before and after the trial will show if the shake's made a difference. Three weeks in, Terri and Alison have already seen a change. "My clothes are a lot less tight and I'm fitting into a few little things that I'd put to the back of the wardrobe for the last 6 months or so"

Terri says "yes I am fuller and I don't know if that's just because I'm drinking liquid before I eat which I normally don't do, but I do feel generally fuller and I feel warmer which is an odd thing but my extremities are usually quite cold and I am warmer -so what does that suggest to you? It suggests to me that maybe I'm burning energy in a different way"

Vanessa says "feeling more generally hotter, it could be an indication that their metabolism's increased and that could be because there's more muscle being laid down than fat" Whatever's happening, the women say , as far as diets go, they don't come much simpler. Alison says "the only thing is you can't eat all the yummy foods you used to because you're so full. I haven't found it difficult at all"

Curtin University Whey Study

Female volunteers - aged between 18 and 65, with a Body Mass Index between 25 and 35. Volunteers cannot have diabetes or any serious medical problems or take thyroxin or medications for hypertension.

For more information go to www.publichealth.curtin.edu.au/WPS or telephone 9266 7294