According to lead researcher Rachel Novotny, "The simple message FROM this study would be that teens need to exchange milk for soda if they are concerned about weight. The girls who consumed more soda were heavier, even though they ate the same total number of calories."
The study included 323 white and Asian girls between the ages of 9 and 14. They were asked to record everything they ate for three days, and physical activity history was also recorded along with weight. The researchers also measured skinfold thickness to determine body fat.
Girls who consumed more dairy products were found to have slimmer middles than girls of the same age and ethnicity who ate the same number of calories and got the same amount of exercise. Girls who drank more soda, but also ate the same total calories, tended to be heavier.
"We know that where fat is distributed on the body is important to future health. People who tend to put fat in the middle -- the apple shape -- have greater health risks. This research suggests that eating dairy is associated with a healthier fat distribution,"