Thursday, October 22, 2009

Why Whole Milk is Best for You and Your Children

Whole milk from grass-fed cows, real cream (grass-fed), whole goat milk kefir, whole milk cream-top yogurt, whole milk cottage cheese and real, addictive-free sour cream.

Milk can be a healthy, nutrient-dense, part of our diets, provided one isn't sensitive or allergic to dairy (and a majority of the world's population may actually be lactose intolerant). Milk provides essential nutrients including protein, calcium, vitamin D, Vitamin A and > good fats, if it's whole milk. I believe advice to give low-fat dairy to children is misguided. Whole milk is a whole food. Technically, low-fat milk contains the same amount of protein and calcium as whole milk, but our bodies cannot absorb and use these nutrients without the good fat this food naturally contains. I really liked how Nina Planck explains > why whole milk is best in this article for the New York Times.

Shelf-stable milk (ultra-high-temp pasteurized milk also labelled UHT) like Organic Valley's or Horizon's individual serving sized milk boxes, are not really the healthiest choice. One serving of the > Organic Valley chocolate milk has a whopping 25 grams of sugar. That's twice the amount of sugar in a serving of Breyer's vanilla ice cream. Sugar is not something kids need more of. These milk boxes only come in reduced fat options. Despite the commonly assumed idea that eating fat will make us fat, here is a recent > study from the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine which found that while too many calories from milk overall, can cause increased > BMI in children, low-fat milk was found to make kids fatter then those who drank whole milk!

Whole milk is also best for adults, and may help women >not gain weight . Whole milk is best for men too, one reason being that low fat dairy has been linked to an> increase in prostate cancer.

The often touted hypothesis that saturated fat, in whole milk and other natural animal products, will put you at risk for heart disease is not undisputed by science, and there is much evidence that saturated fat isn't what causes heart disease. Here is > a study from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition which found that saturated fat intake was associated with less atherosclerosis (basically plauue in the arteries which leads to heart disease), and found that increased carbohydrate intake was associated with more atherosclerosis.

I love the taste of creamy, whole milk. The fact that it is better for me and my kids is definitely a good thing too! When I was pregnant with my son, Ari, I went through a few gallons of organic whole milk per week, my body seemed to need it. I had a healthy pregnancy with him, gaining a normal amount of weight that I lost within three months postpartum, and I gave birth to a healthy, full-term baby who weighed a little over 8 lbs. Whether this was coincidental to my diet of whole milk and other whole foods, I cannot say based on documented "proof". Yet I intuitively know that what we eat affects our health and the health of our children, and I know that for me, eating foods that are as close to their natural state as possible is a good choice.

Pour yourself a glass of whole milk, for the health of it, and the superior taste!

*Dear Intelligent Reader, please remember, I am not a doctor and none of this is meant to be taken as medical advice.

This post is happily apart of > Food Renegade's Fight Back Fridays!


  1. i'm curious, do you drink raw milk? it would be my first choice, i may actually drink milk if it was raw. unfortunately, it is quite expensive and i can't afford to only buy it raw. sometimes i get cream top milk. i figure at least it's not homoginized, one less process it's gone through. what are your thoughts about the whole pasturization of milk?

  2. I knew this question on pasturization was coming! I actually do not drink raw milk, for personal reasons I am unable to write about here:(

    I do believe in the freedom of consumer/health choices, and of course if you live in California it is totally legal and raw milk is sold on shelves at various grocery stores if you are so inclined!

    I buy organic, grass-fed, cream top (non-homogenized), from locally raised cows, vat-pasturized (low temp pasturization that is legal everywhere in the USA but heats the milk slowly so that some enzymes and other important nutrients remain intact).

    The milk I buy is pretty expensive, it costs 10$ a gallon, plus 2$ per quart bottle deposit, if I get the stuff in glass bottles from my local co-op.

    My favorite milk locally is Crystal Ball Farms or Castle Rock creamery milk, both are available at various co-ops in the Twin Cities.

  3. I don't drink milk very often, but If I do I always try to go for organic full cream unhomgenized! It's funny how in the past with the light/low fat revolution people were hoping to lose weight but now people are fatter than ever! Raw Milk is illegal here in Australia and there are very strict rules about it. But I think the laws are just trying to protect people. I guess though If people do buy raw milk and they feel uncomfortable they can always lightly pastuerize it for themselves.

  4. Thanks for including the info on the sugar content of chocolate milk versus vanilla ice cream. Breyers is usually the only brand I buy because of their natural line that only uses simple ingredients (milk, cream, sugar, vanilla).

  5. i was shocked by the sugar content, and pleasantly surprised by how much lower in sugar Breyer's is. I like Hagaan Daz, as they don't use any fake ingredients, not even stabilizers like guar gum, however they use almost twice the sugar as Breyers.