One of the enemies of independent health bloggers these days is cow’s milk and all forms of dairy alike. Claims include that milk is full of hormones, pus, makes you fat, causes inflammation and isn’t actually good for your bones. However, independent studies not funded by the dairy industry has shown us that these negative claims are far from the truth. Well, we’re here to break down the most common myths surrounding milk and let you make your own decisions.
1.) Milk is bad for your heart. A new study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition evaluated 3,000 adults. At the start of the study, researchers measured the levels of fat found in dairy products in the subjects’ blood. Their blood was measured again 6 and 13 years later.
The team found none of the fats in the blood were linked to a higher risk of dying, one was even linked to a lower risk of dying from cardiovascular disease and subjects for found to have a 42 percent lower risk of dying from stroke. Therefore, this evidence tells us the fat in milk is not harmful to us and, in fact, can even improve our heart health.
2.) Whole milk is fattening. The calorie difference in whole milk and low fat milk is not as large as people think, with 1% milk having as little as 30 calories less per serving than whole milk. Additionally, nonfat milk typically lacks or has a significantly lower content of Vitamin D than whole milk. So, what’s the best to drink? It’s all about preference. If whole milk tastes better to you than skim, go for it! A good reminder is to know that not food makes fat. Overconsumption makes you fat.
3.) Milk is inflammatory. Let’s start here with something very simple: Vitamin D is emerging in science as a powerful nutrient against inflammation and sickness in the body and milk can be an excellent source for it. In addition to that, a review of many different studies published in the journal Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition concluded that milk and other dairy products, especially fermented products, actually have anti-inflammatory properties. The misconception of milk causing inflammation likely comes from the effects of people with milk allergies and lactose intolerance.
So what if you’re lactose intolerant? If you truly are, plant-based and lactose-free milks are better options. Nowadays, you can find many brands of lactose free milk that offer all levels of fat content and organic options. However, if you just think you may be lactose intolerant, but not have not been fully diagnosed, a2 milk could be worth a try. A2 milk comes from cows that lack the a1 beta-casein protein which causes symptoms similar to that of lactose intolerance.
4.) Plant-based “milks” are better for you. Nationwide, the consumption of cow’s milk is going down while sales of plant-based milks are skyrocketing due to the misconception that they are healthier. However, you should know that some plant-based milks contain added sugars, very little protein compared to cow’s milk and minimal nutrition. Whereas cow’s milk contains calcium, potassium, Vitamin D and 8 grams of high-quality protein per cup with all of the essential amino acids.
The bottom line? Although the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends the consumption of fat-free or low-fat dairy products, this recommendation may need to be revisited as higher fat options are perfectly fine in moderation and may have a more beneficial nutrient profile.