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Healthy skim milk?

Is skim milk really healthier?
Photo by: Hobvias Sudoneighm via Flickr

For many years now organizations such as US Department of Agriculture, American Heart Assoc., and American Academy of Pediatrics have been recommending drinking low fat or skim milk as a healthy alternative to whole milk. The reason for the recommendation is that drinking low fat milk will help you control your weight, and reduce diseases associated with consuming saturated fat.

While this advice has been embrace by many in the diet and nutrition industry, recent studies show that there might not be any support for these recommendations. Many of the studies are showing the opposite to be true.

Skim milk is created by taking whole milk and separating the fat out of it, leaving a blue tinted, water liquid. The process also strips out many of the fat-soluble vitamins. In order to make this milk more appealing to the public powdered milk solids, as well as vitamins A and D are added back into the milk.

A 2013 Swedish study, reported on by the National Institute of Health, showed that in a study of 1782 men, those that drank whole milk were much less likely to become obese. This study was a direct contradiction to what health professional have been saying for years.

Another study released in the European Journal of Nutrition concluded that there was no evidence supporting these claims. The study found that there was no link between drinking whole milk and obesity. In fact, a study released Archives of Diseases in Childhood found that just the opposite was true, that there was more weight gain associated with children drinking low fat dairy.

Greg Miller of the American Dairy Council suggests that there may be a bioactive substance in dairy fat that changes the way our bodies metabolize and burn fat. There are many in the healthy eating community that feel that whole foods work together in a way that we don't understand. When part of that whole food is altered or removed, it changes the way we digest it.

Another explanation looks more toward human behavior. in the JAMA Pediatrics, Dr. David Ludwig and Dr. Walter Willett argue that there is little evidence to support any claims of better health outcomes than for those that drink skim milk instead of whole milk. One reason is that lower fat intake does not necessarily mean lower calorie intake. One of the benefits of fat in the diet is that it is more filling. Because skim milk does not have the fat, people are consuming more calories from other sources in order to feel full.

As more and more research is being done in the area of diet and nutrition, it's important that you do not accept on blind faith the conventional wisdom of the past.

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