Q. Is the body unable to absorb calcium without fat?

Written by Catherine Saxelby on Monday, 27 January 2014.
Tagged: calcium, fat, healthy eating, low fat, milk

Q. Is the body unable to absorb calcium without fat?

The question in full:

Q. I recently read a newspaper article which stated that the body is unable to absorb calcium without the higher fat levels contained in full cream milk. Is it necessary to make a choice between less fat or more calcium?

A. No, it's not necessary. Calcium is absorbed from low-fat and skim milks as well as from full-cream despite the difference in fat content. Numerous studies of people on high-milk diets prove that the calcium gets into the body (it can be detected in the bloodstream within an hour of eating) and then into the bones (bone density increases on the high milk diet). Calcium from supplements is also absorbed without a trace of fat - although not as well as from dairy products.

Calcium is not fat-soluble so there is no reason to believe it requires fat. In milk, it is found in the non-fat portion and remains in the skim milk once the fat is removed to make cream or butter.

Catherine Saxelby

About the Author

Catherine Saxelby knows nutrition! She is an accredited nutritionist, food commentator, blogger and award-winning author. Her latest book Catherine Saxelby's Food and Nutrition Companion answers all those tricky questions on healthy eating, diets and supplements. It draws together a lifetime of advice and gives you all you need to know to eat right! It's a complete A to Z. A handy desk go-to reference.