The Skinny on Milk

Milk is near and dear to my heart, but not all milk. You may as well use water if you’re having your cereal with skim milk. I have loathed the fat-free version of milk all my life. The taste and the color is not anything close to the real McCoy. To make things worse, when I was growing up and was served skim milk at a friend’s house I would have to endure some lecture about how it is the smart, healthy choice when it comes to milk. I have never bought that BS so, naturally, I was delighted when I flipped open New York Magazine and read their food science article on milk.

The skinny:  Research shows that whole milk is the healthiest milk for a baby, a kid, a teenager, an adult male, or a woman trying to conceive. This, of course, was presented in a neat chart that can be found by clicking this link. For adult females (not trying to conceive), fermented milk products have been shown to be the healthiest. And for retirees, no more than a glass of milk per day for you.

Those in favor of whole milk say:

It may be high in (still controversial) saturated fat, but whole milk is also 40 percent unsaturated fat, which has been shown to improve blood-cholesterol levels (thereby reducing the risk of heart disease). And whole milk keeps you feeling full longer than milk with less fat, which some recent studies suggest may help keep off the pounds. The weight control may also be due to “bioactive substances” found in milk fat, which changes the way our metabolism functions, allowing us to burn that fat for energy instead of storing it in our bodies.

So, if you’re drinking skim milk, you are more likely to be hungry sooner and guess what is most likely consumed next in that scenario? According to Dr. David Ludwig, a professor of nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health, it’s processed carbohydrates. Michael Pollan even says the best milk to drink is organic whole milk from grass-fed cows.

What to do next? Well, if you’re sitting there with a glass of water that someone has spiked with a few drops of white food coloring and called it milk, it’s time to move on. 1% fat, 2% fat, or all the way to whole, the closer you get to the real deal, the better the milk is for you. Of course, moderation is always a necessary ingredient. Cheers.

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