For as long as I can remember I have drank non-fat milk and didn’t think much of it until I started working with WIC and realized how many people prefer whole milk. In addition, there has been a wide variety of opinions when it comes to what milk is best to consume, and unsurprisingly there isn’t one easy answer. WIC recommends whole milk from 12 to 24 months, and after that switching to 1% milk or less, largely due to the fat content of the milk. This is one of the largest complaints voiced by clients on the program, who want to feed their children whole milk well past its recommended duration. There are several exceptions to this rule, usually taking into account the weight, height, BMI, and health concerns for the child. However, WIC does not offer a milk based on preference, rather it will only provide reimbursement for milk based on the nutritional needs and age of the child.
The benefits of lesser fat milk has been in the news in the past couple years, questioning the true benefits of their use. This is happening due to the tendency to replace high fat foods with highly processed carbs, which may not be beneficial if an individual that is trying to reduce their risk for heart disease. In the case of milk, saturated fats have been proven to have no net negative effect on cholesterol in the blood, although it may increase the bad cholesterol, it may also increase the good.
In our diets we unknowingly consume “good” and “bad” fats, our diets should include more of the “good” and less of the “bad”. The different types of fats are saturated, unsaturated, monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, and trans fats. As one may guess, the good fats are found in vegetables, nuts, seeds and fish and tend to be liquid at room temperature. Using good fats (mono- or polyunsaturated) in place of the bad fats (saturated) may reduce cholesterol and lower triglyceride levels.
I found a great article written by dietitian Karen Giles-Smith, called Milk Fat Does a Body Good . In the article she stated that “low-fat or fat-free foods look good on paper” which based on the evidence that has been released in the past couple years, may be true (1). The correlation between high fat diets and chronic heart disease may not be as strong as originally thought. The recommendation I would make is to select milk that best suits your lifestyle and taste preference; meaning unless there is a health reason or desired weight loss higher fat milk is acceptable. The diet of the average American tends to be high in the “bad” fats and choosing low-fat milk may be a way of balancing it out, a technique frequently recommended by WIC nutritionists and one I could agree with. Below I constructed a chart to demonstrate the amount of fat and saturated fat in a glass of milk for comparison. I hope you enjoyed this article and can now make an informed milk decision! 🙂
|Milk||Serving size||Fat||Saturated Fat||Calories|
- Giles- Smith, Karen. Milk Does a Body Good. http://www.todaysdietitian.com/news/exclusive0912.shtml