Milk? Got It? Do You Need It?

10.05.2017 0 Josh Markisko

Good? Bad? Whole? Skim? Let’s Milk the System and See What Gets Us Mooooving

Did you know that June is National Dairy Month? National Dairy Month started out as National Milk Month in 1937 as a way to promote... well, milk. Feel free to learn more about the recognition of the month of June from the International Dairy Foods Association website. Click this line of text to visit the site. 

When I first started spending the night with friends, I was always intrigued with the normals of a family’s rituals. Was the house clean or messy? Did they watch tv as a family? Did the house have a distinct smell? Who fixed dinner and what was it like? And finally, what kind of milk did they drink?

You know you know what I am talking about. A certain type of person or family seemed to drink whole milk, 1%, skim, or this new fangled almond stuff. Call me a bigot in the world of milk stereotypes, but you know I am right.

Lately, however, my musings haven’t always been so easy to determine.Perhaps these stereotypes are wrong. Different reasons seem to exist for different bodies and cartons these days. I decided to test my theories and see what is out there in the pasteur of milkdom.

Whole Milk

In the scientific journal Circulation,  3,333 adults were participants in blood sample testing measuring circulating levels of bio-markers of dairy fat in their blood. The data was measured in the late 1980s, the early 1990s, and again in 2010. The results?  People who had the most dairy fat in their diet had about a 50 percent lower risk of diabetes.  Their theory is that the full fat option satisfies hunger longer and those with high level of fatty acids were half as likely to develop diabetes.

The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition also found that “whole milk improves blood pressure and diminishes effects of coronary artery disease.”  And finally, in the American Journal of Daily Nutrition, of 18,438 women that researchers followed, those who ate the most high-fat dairy products had a 8 percent lower risk of becoming obese than those who went the low-fat route.

Score one for whole milk and the house that smells like my grandmother’s. Mooving on….

Skim Milk

Here’s where you have to believe me or you have to do your own research. I can take you to the cow, but well, you know, you have to do the rest. I believe in balanced and objective blogging, so I will admit that I love skim milk, but the newest research across the globe insists that skim milk is now the last option as far as healthy options. Yes, I found studies that promote skim milk, but they are older articles. All of the new research hones in on idea that is resonating everywhere in health studies:  saturated fats (dairy fats) raise both HDL cholesterol and LDL cholesterol essentially cancelling out the effects of cholesterol and cardiovascular disease risk. And with the fats added to our diet, we now feel more full thus we eat less. Remember when we all dropped fat from our diets? We just replaced it with sugar and refined grains. And guess what? We stayed fat and unhealthy.

As a mother and a proponent of public schools, I couldn’t help but struggle with this next study.  Boer, a pediatrician at the University of Virginia, just recently completed a substantial study of  dairy fat and children's body weight and proved resoundingly that “children who have a higher intake of whole milk or 2 percent milk gain less weight over time compared with kids who consume skim or nonfat dairy products.” Are you thinking what I am thinking? In January 2011, The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced a federally funded, five-year plan, impacting about 32 American million kids, and yes, banned whole milk in every single public schools in the entire United States.

So now what? We have overwhelming data that we are an obese nation and whole fats are good for us in moderation, but we just banned one of the easiest ways to put whole fats into our children’s bodies. I haven’t even discussed organic milk, with or without hormones milk, the removed and added supplements in milk, the almond and soy options, or the nasty vitriolic websites that literally insist that milk will kill you.

I did finally find this gallon of info that seemed udderly understandable and what I will leave you with.  The Harvard School of Public Health suggests that we choose our dairy options based on our individual health and diet situation. They suggest that we limit all dairy to just one to two servings per day and choose whatever fat level we prefer based on our body goals and taste preference. If we are big dairy eaters and want three or more servings of dairy, we should choose low-fat dairy to watch our calorie intake, but if we consume less than that, whole milk is the best option.

Great advice until the next study mooves along… of course.

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