People who avoid dairy products in their diet are more likely to be overweight or obese, according to a Canadian study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Canada’s Institute of Nutraceutical and Functional Foods followed up old 1991-8 Quebec diet data over five years, which was based on 235 men and women aged 20 to 65. The results showed women witha lower intake of calcium from food had more fat than moderate and high-calciumconsumers.

Dr Angelo Tremblay director of the institute said the research shows that calcium intake from dairy can prevent and even reduce obesity and that regular calcium consumption from dairy products is associated with a reduced risk of developing heart diseases.