January 31, 2014

Skim milk VS whole milk (FactFriday #4)

As I started talking about the good and bad fats, I saw that many, many, many, many people don't know that dairy products are better left whole. Because I cannot cover all of them I will start with the most basic of them all: MILK!

So...which is the healthier choice?

Firstly, skim milk is made by physically separating and removing the fat content from whole dairy milk. Since fat removal also strips the milk of all its fat-soluble vitamins, skim milk must be fortified with vitamins A and D to make up for the loss of nutrition. This is a very unnecessary procedure that over-processes the product and adds unwanted chemicals. 

Low-fat versions are supposed to reduce the amount of calories that people eat, and in an absolute sense, they do. A cup of low-fat milk contains fewer calories than a cup of whole milk. There isn't much evidence to support the idea that drinking lower-calorie beverages in general leads to lower-calorie intake. Reduced-fat foods and drinks may not be as filling, so consumers may end up compensating for the lack of calories and eating or drinking more.

One cup of whole milk contains 5 grams of saturated fat which is nearly a quarter of your daily intake limit. Whole milk is also high in cholesterol with about 25 milligrams per serving. High dietary intake of saturated fat and cholesterol can significantly increase your chances for fatal diseases like strokes and heart attacks. But low-fat milk may lead drinkers to consume more high-glycemic-index foods, which can increase the level of triglycerides that can amplify the effect of heart-disease risk factors such as high cholesterol and hypertension.

Some schools and health experts condone flavored milk as a way to get kids to drink it — and the kids do. But while these versions may have 3 g less saturated fat, they also contain about 13 g more sugar than whole milk per cup.

The popular choice for weight control is skim milk. It is significantly lower in calories and fat content. Some specialty skim milk varieties are stripped of sugar and fortified with extra protein to make them more conducive to weight loss. However, there are evidences that suggest the conjugated linoleic acid in whole milk can help reduce body fat and increase lean muscle mass.

So before you think of piking up a carton of skim or non-fat milk, think again. Go with the most natural! If you are eating organic, why would you not drink organic as well? Embrace the wholeness of the milk!

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