Skim milk helps people feel full, thanks to its high protein content, lactose sugar and its thickness.
Researchers found that drinking fat free milk in the morning helped increase satiety and led to decreased calorie intake at the next meal, compared to a fruit drink. Those who drank milk ate about 50 fewer calories (or nearly nine per cent less food) at lunch.
In the study, 34 overweight but otherwise healthy men and women participated in two testing sessions - one in which they were served about 20 ounces of fat free milk, and one in which they were served the same quantity of a fruit drink (each contributing 250 calories to their breakfast).
During the four hours between breakfast and lunch, the men and women gauged their feelings of fullness and were allowed to eat until they were comfortably full at lunch.
The researchers found that the milk-drinking adults reported feeling fuller and more satisfied and therefore ate fewer calories at lunch.
The researchers suspect that milk's protein content (providing 16 percent of the daily value per cup), the lactose (the natural sugar in milk) or simply the thickness of the beverage may play a role in the satiety benefits.
And, research suggests choosing foods that can help enhance satiety is an important success factor in any weight management plan, according to a Eurekalert release.