Reduced Fat Milk Contributing to Obesity ?!?

One of the standard recommendations offered by health professionals to consumers is to consume 3 servings a day of low fat / non fat dairy. The USDA MyPlate recommendations show a glass of milk as part the infographic depicting what people should eat.

But what if skim milk was actually not doing anything to help our waistline? This seemingly strange conclusion has been reached by two well respected researchers – David Ludwig, of Boston’s Children Hospital, and Dr. Walter Willett, of the Harvard School of Public Health. In a recent article published in JAMA Pediatrics, the 2 experts say:

1. Very little data exists showing that skim milk helps weight loss

2. Since reduced or non fat dairy might not be as filling as the whole version, it could lead to people consuming more. As a result, overall calorie consumption may be the same or higher than the whole version.

Here are some numbers for you to contemplate:

  • A full fat glass of milk has 150 calories, 8 grams of fat, 5 of them are saturated fat.
  • A glass of skim milk has 90 calories, and no fat.
  • A glass of skim chocolate milk has 160 calories, no fat, but 3-4 teaspoons worth of added sugar!

Maybe children today are drinking skim chocolate milk, whereas a generation ago kids were fine with full fat whole milk, unflavored? Overall, the calories are similar.

The scientists conclude that the recommendation for 3 servings of low fat dairy per day needs to be reconsidered.

By the way, another interesting point with respect to nonfat milk is nutrient bioavailability. The vitamins A, D, E, and K are a wonderful part of milk. But, they are fat soluble, which means they can only be absorbed by the digestive system in the presence of fat. If you drink skim milk, there won’t be any fat for these nutrients to get absorbed with.

What milk, if any, are your children drinking?

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  • Rachel Amanda

    We don’t drink a lot of milk at our house. When we do, it’s whole milk that comes straight from a local farm where it was milked fresh that day.

    I think it’s interesting that a glass of whole milk has less calories and sugar than a glass of skim chocolate milk. I’ve never thought of it that way. Plus, it’s only 1 ingredient that is real food. The benefits of that seem like a no brainer to me.

  • Clay

    I usually drink a cup of skim every morning with breakfast. It kills me how many people hate skim milk and feel like they have to at least have 2% or whole. And Chocolate milk is not good for you at all. If I’m craving chocolate milk I usually go with almond milk or silk.

  • DebbyBruck

    We don’t drink any milk either, unless we could locate raw milk from grassing cows or goat’s milk.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1406355649 Lydia Gaebe Bishop

    Although we have no kids at home, we drink the “real thing” from a nearby certified raw dairy where we can look the cows in the eye and say “thank yoooooooou.” I am in search of a raw goat milk dairy. I’ve heard it tastes even better than raw cow’s milk.

    • BigPinkDragon286

      I and my siblings were raised on goats milk as a child and had to get an exemption at school from the boxed milk served. At first taste, cow’s milk tasted rancid. Needless to say, when nobody was willing to milk the goats anymore, cow’s milk was a necessarily acquired taste. I hope your search is fruitful. :-)

  • Linda Schwebach Stroth

    1% here.

  • Kristie

    I drink skim milk because I like it the best, not for weight loss. But my boyfriend went through a while milk phase and he gained a ton of weight very quickly. As soon as he went back to skim he lost all the weight within a couple months. Drink the milk you like best.

  • Jasen

    Get our milk from local farmers and keep 1% and whole milk in stock

  • Dave Evans

    Love milk
    Love dairy
    Reducing the fat makes sense
    So – 1%

    Fat people tend to get fatter – and those are most typically the “dieters”, so of course the data lies. No regression testing.

    If you are conscientious about balancing your diet and reducing fat (especially saturated fat), low fat milk is a no brainier. But in a country that votes Tea Party and watches Fox News, No Brainer is a is a stretch for many.

  • Carrie Wojo

    We drink raw, whole milk! There are so many more vitamins, minerals and no more lactose intolerance in our house!:)

  • Helen

    I moved the kids back to whole milk after reading up on the subject. I reckon the kids eat fewer other snacks if they’ve had a glass of whole milk first. And I think kids need fats in their diets – as long as they’re natural fats from real food. Anyway, fwiw, for a while my daughter’s weight was increasing faster than her height, but after switching to full fat milk and being a bit more careful about her sugar intake, it evened out. Of course, you can’t predict that kind of stuff in kids, their rate of weight gain can fluctuate for no apparent reason, so make of it what you will.

  • Katja Wargin

    cows milk is the perfect food for a calf. dairy is the biggest carcinogen in our diet. read the China Study for more info or watch Forks over Knives.
    breast milk is the perfect food for babies until they can consume solid food.
    after that humans have no nutritional requirement for any white liquid.

  • Katja Wargin

    cows milk is the perfect food for a calf. dairy is the biggest carcinogen in our diet. read the China Study for more info or watch Forks over Knives.
    breast milk is the perfect food for babies until they can consume solid food.
    after that humans have no nutritional requirement for any white liquid.

  • Nick

    strauss whole milk

  • http://meshell.ca/ MeShell

    We don’t drink dairy milk at all. Ever. Only almond or soy.

  • Carol H

    The research, and the concern about not absorbing fat-soluble vitamins are both simplistic and immaterial to how we really eat. Who drinks a glass of milk by itself as a “meal”? If it is consumed as a beverage with even a small amount of other foods, and those other foods will most likely contain some fat (e.g., eat a few nuts and BINGO you have had enough fat to absorb those fat-soluble vitamins, plus you’ll have added other nutrients that aren’t in milk), then there is no problem… and caloric intake WILL be lower, because a glass of low or non-fat milk is lower in calories than one with full fat. This is a non-issue… same as the “glycemic index” of a single food. Another example of “research” being for the sake of grabbing headlines (predictably by the same headline-hungry “researchers”).