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The Skinny on Calcium

Another reason to praise skim milk: "People with high-calcium diets burn more fat than those who get less calcium," says James Hill, Ph.D., director of the Center for Human Nutrition at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center. (Ironically, many popular weight-loss programs  -- including Atkins and Sugar Busters  -- provide less than 60 percent of the recommended amount of calcium.)

For the fat-burning effect, supplements, fortified foods, and nondairy sources, such as broccoli and tofu, can help, but dairy products are most effective. Calories count, though! Substitute low-fat versions for empty calories you're already consuming, and aim for three servings a day to get the recommended amount of 1,000 milligrams of calcium. Good choices:

• 8-ounce glass of skim milk

• 1 1/2 ounces of reduced-fat cheese

• 8 ounces of low-fat yogurt

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