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Wednesday December 31, 7:00 am Eastern Time

Company Press Release

SOURCE: The Dannon Company

New Year's Diet Resolutions Can Be Unkind to the Bone; New Analysis Reveals Dieters May Lose More Than They Bargained For

TARRYTOWN, N.Y., Dec. 31 /PRNewswire/ -- New Year's diet resolutions can be unkind to the bone -- when the calorie conscious choose weight-loss plans with little or no dairy products. A new nutritional analysis commissioned by The Dannon Company showed that of ten popular published diet plans, including those on The New York Times Best Sellers List, half of the diets are low in calcium and other critical nutrients. Author Jeanne Goldberg, PhD, RD, Associate Professor and Director of the Center for Nutrition Communication at Tufts University in Medford, MA cautions women who follow calcium-poor diet plans for extensive periods of time that they may unknowingly jeopardize their long-term bone health.

An estimated 50 million Americans each year, many of whom are women, will start a weight loss diet. In doing so, many women will unknowingly place themselves at greater risk for osteoporosis since many popular diet regimens reinforce the myth that dairy foods are fattening. ``Long term use of very low calcium weight-reducing diets can contribute to bone loss,'' notes Dr. Goldberg. Dr. Goldberg also found in a review of published studies that when people were put on a variety of modified diets, including low calorie weight reduction regimes, their calcium intake also declined.

The importance of these findings is heightened by the Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs) for calcium proposed in August 1997 by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS). The new recommendation for calcium was raised from 800 to 1,000 mg a day for people age 19-50, partly in recognition of the role lifelong calcium intake plays in reducing the risk of osteoporosis. Regardless of the higher recommendation, the reality is that eight out of ten women aged 25-50 do not meet the old standard. ``While a woman may know that calcium is important to help ward off osteoporosis, she may not be aware that her own calcium intake is inadequate,'' says Connie Weaver, Professor and Head of Department Food & Nutrition at Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN. The fact that many popular diet plans tend to contain insufficient amounts of calcium is even more disturbing in light of the increased DRI.

According to Dr. Goldberg, the published diets that contained the least calcium included Dr. Atkins's New Diet Revolution, The New Beverly Hills Diet, Five Day Miracle Diet, Grapefruit Diet and Protein Power. ``A woman who follows the guidelines set forth in these diets would get less than 60 percent of the current RDA for calcium and in some cases certain other important nutrients,'' she says. On the other end of the scale, Dr. Goldberg found that the Eat More, Weigh Less Regimen, devised by Dean Ornish, MD (an outspoken advocate of severe fat restriction as a means of reducing heart disease risk) and the T Factor Quick Melt plan were nutritionally sound. Both diets provided adequate amounts of calcium and other nutrients. These diet regimens demonstrate that without dairy products it becomes very difficult to meet the RDA's for calcium and other essential nutrients.

To help women achieve the intake levels recommended by the National Academy of Sciences, the National Osteoporosis Foundation suggests at least three servings of dairy products a day, which provides about 900 mg of calcium. Nutritionists recommend that consumers eat a variety of calcium-rich foods to meet their needs, including dairy foods, canned salmon (with bones), broccoli and tofu.

``Women who are concerned about their weight or who want to reduce their fat intake should choose nonfat or lowfat dairy products,'' says Goldberg. ``It's easy to find these choices in yogurt, milk and cheese.'' In fact, many companies have modified their products to help make it easier to reach the daily value for calcium. For example, DANNON(R) Light Nonfat Yogurt with Aspartame and Added Calcium provides 35% of the daily value of calcium and 8 grams of high quality protein, in a single 8 oz. serving -- with 100 calories(A). Including DANNON(R) Light in a balanced diet to help fulfill your daily value of calcium and keeping to a regular exercise program can help you achieve your personal health goals whether you are interested in healthy weight control, reducing the risks of osteoporosis or following a heart healthy diet.

The Dannon Company, Inc., with headquarters in Tarrytown, N.Y., is the leading producer of yogurt products in the United States. To maintain its market leadership position, The Dannon Company prides itself on consistently delivering high-quality, wholesome products and responding to consumers' needs with innovative new products and flavors.

(A) DANNON(R) Light with Crunchies contains 140 calories.

Copyright © 1997 PRNewswire.