Does the Milk Diet Work?

By Cammy Lee
Cammy Lee
Cammy Lee
Cammy Lee has been a psychological counselor for 10 years in Hong Kong. She is also a Hong Kong registered social worker and a qualified school teacher in Scotland. She majored in biochemistry and graduated with distinction on her dissertation at The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. She further pursued her interest on science, completing a health psychology degree at City University of Hong Kong. For inquiry please email: cammyyuenyee@gmail.com
August 30, 2022 Updated: August 30, 2022

Many types of diet meals for losing body weight, which include ketones, fruit juice, and even water, are prevailing. Some celebrities such as Hong Kong star, Gillian Chung, promote the consumption of water only.

Recently, Little Red Book, a social media in China, recommended the “Milk Diet” to its netizens. A milk diet is defined as losing body weight by consuming mainly milk. It was claimed that milk contains a great amount of mineral calcium, which exacerbates the burning of fat inside our bodies. In scientific terms burning means the oxidation of fat inside human cells.

This claim was also supported by Michael B Zemel. Professor of Nutrition and Medicine, at the University of Tennessee in the U.S.A. He mentioned that the amount of calcium should be sufficient to accelerate the fat-burning process of the human body.

Dietary calcium can also promote energy loss by forming calcium soaps in the gastrointestinal tract and hence modestly prevent absorption of food energy.

More than 10 years ago, Michael invited men with hypertension to participate in a study, in which the men consumed two cups of yoghurt (454g/16 fl oz) daily. The result showed that each man lost weight by 4.9 kg (10.8 pounds) on average over the study period.

One netizen attempted the Milk Diet on her own and found her body weight reduced by about 2kg (4.4 pounds) in 5 days. She said she consumed 700 ml (23.7 fl oz) of whole milk. 1.5L (3.17 pints) of water and 3 eggs daily. The amount can be equally divided into 3 meals.

The principle of body weight loss is that energy expenditure is greater than energy intake. For example, a 25-year-old office lady needs to dissipate the energy of 1900 calories but she only consumed 623 calories of food. (Each boiled medium egg contains 63 calories and 700 ml (23.7 fl oz) of whole milk contains 434 calories. A total intake is 623 calories (63×3+434 ). That is the reason she lost weight, not solely the effect of calcium on her body.

Whole milk contains 4 percent fat only. It is a good source of protein (82 percent casein protein and 18 percent whey protein), carbohydrate called lactose, and “minerals and vitamins” comprising calcium, phosphorus, vitamin D, riboflavin, and vitamin B12.

The Milk Diet recommended by the netizen is certainly not a balanced diet. The range of nutrients is limited mainly to proteins. Secondly, it does not provide sufficient energy intake for a lady’s daily energy expenditure.

There is a great discrepancy between her energy intake of merely 623 calories and her energy expenditure of 1,900 calories.

An improved Milk Diet is suggested for the lady:

  • Breakfast: 200 ml (6.8 fl oz) whole milk (124 kcal), a medium slice of wheat bread with honey (100 kcal), and a portion of vegetable salad with vinegar dressing (50 kcal).
  • Lunch: 250 ml (8.45 fl oz) whole milk (155 kcal), a small plate of spaghetti with grilled fish and mushrooms (500 kcal), and an apple (55 kcal)
  • Dinner: 250 ml (8.45 fl oz) whole milk (155 kcal), a small bowl of rice with streamed chicken or boiled egg (500 kcal), a portion of tomato mixed with cucumber (50 kcal), and an orange (50 kcal)

A portion of vegetables is roughly equal to the size of an individual’s fist. For example, one portion of fruit, an apple, of the size of the individual’s fist.

The total energy intake is 1,739 kcal. The aforementioned netizen needs to exercise in order to dissipate more energy. Jogging for 20 minutes can dissipate 250 kcal for a lady in her 20s. Her total energy expenditure would become 2,150 kcal, rather than 1900 kcal without physical exercise. As time passes, at least one month, the netizen can see the effect of the Milk Diet on her weight loss.

Men, normally heavier and more muscular than women, require more energy to sustain daily lives so their energy consumption is greater accordingly.

Age also has an effect on energy expenditure. Since the metabolic rate of older people is decreased, their energy consumption needs to be reduced in order to lose body weight.

Cammy Lee
Cammy Lee has been a psychological counselor for 10 years in Hong Kong. She is also a Hong Kong registered social worker and a qualified school teacher in Scotland. She majored in biochemistry and graduated with distinction on her dissertation at The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. She further pursued her interest on science, completing a health psychology degree at City University of Hong Kong. For inquiry please email: cammyyuenyee@gmail.com