I love dairy foods and I think they love me, as I feel strong and ready to go after eating or drinking them. My breakfast most days will contain some milk on cereal and yoghurt on top.
Whether to drink full cream or skim milk is a common question. Full cream milk is around 3.4% fat made up of around 65% saturated, 30% monounsaturated and 5% polyunsaturated. How saturated fats effect the risk of heart disease and diabetes, is complex. We are still researching how the saturated fat in milk may not raise cholesterol levels as much as once thought.
It depends on how the overall nutrient interactions occur within the milk.
The saturated fat in milk may act quite differently with the calcium and other nutrients present, compared to saturated fats on their own added to commercial cakes and biscuits.
The length of the fatty acid chain is also a determinant. The shorter chain fatty acids tend not to adversely affect cholesterol levels and milk fat is a mixture of shorter and longer chain saturated fats.
Genetics will also affect how your body deals with the saturated fat and how it converts this into cholesterol.
The small amount of fat in milk may be beneficial to help fill you up for longer, reducing snacking. It assists with absorbing fat soluble vitamins, like vitamin A & D. Fatty acids are also essential for cell production and many bodily functions therefore we need some in our diets.
It is important to remember all the nutritional benefits of any of the cow’s milk, calcium, protein, phosphorus. Many people do not have enough calcium in their diet and this may increase their risk of osteoporosis, brittle bones so before you cut out or limit dairy think of the benefits.
'Sugar is added to low fat milk'- False
Reduced fat and skim milk do not have sugar added to them and no plain milk is high in sugar. The label may show a negligible amount more sugar, which is the sugar naturally found in milk, lactose, because by removing the fat from the full cream milk, the rest is more concentrated.
Which milk you choose will depend on your health and overall dietary choices.
If you drink a reasonable amount of milk then a reduced fat variety might be your choice. When working with athletes that can have over a litre of milk per day, a full cream milk would give 34g of fat for the day and a reduced fat about 17g. Depending on individual goals this could be quite significant for kilojoule (energy) amount particularly if trying to keep lean and to a certain weight and could make you too feel.
Overall even full cream milk is not a high fat food and provides valuable amounts of calcium, protein, phosphorus and other vitamins and minerals, so it comes down to personal taste and individual health status. I take the middle ground myself and have reduced fat milk, I like the taste and feel the 2% fat is somewhere in between!
Simone likes to share her expert nutrition advice. Read more