Know Your Milk You Drink!

By Dr Harold Gunatillake - Health Writer

Your super-market shelves will have a variety of milk options, but the classic cow’s milk is a good source of calcium, vitamin D and potassium. It has 3.5% milk fat and is best given to babies between 1 and 2 years old, for their growing brains. Adults who exercise and lead an active life also should drink classic cow’s milk for their energy. Sedentary people should avoid this natural high calorie product as it may increase your body weight leading to obesity.

Children who drink whole milk are leaner and have higher vitamin D levels than those who drink low-fat or skim milk, new research suggests.

Children who drank whole (3.25 per cent fat content) milk had a Body Mass Index score that was 0.72 units lower than those who drank 1 or 2 per cent milk in the study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Classic cow’s milk needs to be boiled before consumed to eliminate contaminants.

If you love whole milk, and does not cause stomach upsets, it is okay to indulge, provided you combine it with a high-fibre cereal, and restrict saturated fats for the rest of the day. This theory of food having saturated fat link to heart disease is disputed currently and drinking full cream milk is the way to go.

In India, the legend goes to demonstrate how the cow is brought to your door-step to provide fresh milk for the household. That tradition does not exist anymore.

The present thoughts that saturated fats are not a risk factor for heart disease one could drink saturated fat milk (full cream) with no guilt, if you do not have an over-weight problem.

Pasteurized milk
The process of pasteurization was debated in the House of Commons and the suggestion made that no raw milk should be sold for human consumption. Minister of Agriculture in UK recently stated, “the human race existed long before Pasteur was heard of.”

Pasteurisation definitely destroys bad germs in the milk through the process, but at the same time kills harmless and useful germs (lactic acid bacilli) alike and by subjecting the milk to high temperatures also destroys some of the nutritious constituents like vitamin C. Such milk cannot be fermented and made sour and quickly decomposes and undesirable germs can multiply quickly. What this means is that pasteurised powdered milk is good to add in beverages like tea and coffee and not suitable as a health drink.

Chocolate milk
Another high calorie milk product is ‘Chocolate Milk’ available in the supermarkets. This supplemented milk would be good for those who do work out in the gym, as a work-out recovery drink. It has more carbs 4:1 ratio with proteins and a good drink for rebuilding muscles after exercise.

Skimmed milk (non-fat) is made of whole milk skimming the cream out and each cup has 90 calories and zero fat and this milk is a good option for milk drinkers trying to lose weight. Calcium, vitamin D and potassium are preserved in skimmed milk.

There are four types of cow’s milk in the super-market: skim, 1%, 2% and whole and they all have the same amount of proteins, calcium and vitamins. A cup of 1% has 102 cals and 1-5 grams of saturated fat. A cup of 2% has 31 grams of saturated fat.

Some people have a lactose intolerance, and digesting lactose (natural sugar) in your milk may cause bloating and diarrhoea. Such people should drink lactose –free milk to avoid the problems.

Goat’s milk
A cup of goat’s milk has 9 grams of protein, much more than in cow’s milk. A cup-full has 170 cals and 7 grams of saturated fat, far more than cow’s milk. If you are allergic to cow’s milk, it is most possible that you would be allergic to goat’s milk. Some studies show it has no nutritional advantages over cow’s milk.

Soy milk
This milk is made from ground soybeans soaked in water. Soy milk has 6 grams of protein and 6 grams of carbs in unsweetened cup full. It is fortified with calcium, and flavoured versions are available on the shelves. Most vegans do drink this milk and also those who have a lactose intolerance.

Almond Milk
This is made from ground almonds. A cup will have 30 calories, packed with 450 milligrams of calcium. It is more sensible to eat raw almonds that has more proteins, fbre and healthy fats. Almond milk has vitamin E, Thiamin, Riboflavin and Magnesium. Being low calorie one could drink a lot without worrying about a weight gain.

Almond milk is 1 percent oil by weight. Around 90 percent are unsaturated. It has 69% of Oleic acid: 17% of Linoleic acid: 8% of Palmitic acid. It has 1,52 grams of carbs in a cup whilst cow’s milk has 12.18%

Rice Milk
It is made from ground rice and water and recommended for people with multiple allergies. It has no proteins but high in carbs.

Milk can be made from ground cashew nuts, Macadamia nuts, coconuts, Hemp seeds, Flax seed, among others.

Cow’s milk is a complete food meaning that it contains carbs, protein, fat and calcium among other micro-nutrients like vitamin B12. Milk has two good proteins- whey and casein. Whey seems to be a fast digesting protein and popular among body builders, and casein is a slow digesting protein.

Fresh milk when consumed stimulates your body’s insulin levels. This means that that this will result increasing fat storage in the body and may not be suitable for those who wish to reduce their body weights.

Milk can form acne on your skin. This is due to a protein called IGF a hormone similar to insulin which promotes the formation of acne.

Fresh milk is high in calories. A single cup of 2% milk contains about 120 calories- about drinking a glass of wine, and may not be suitable if you are on a strict diet to lose weight.

a1 and a2 proteins in milk
a1 protein is found in regular cow’s milk. a2 protein milk is produced in specially selected farms (a2 Milk Company) to produce only the a2 protein. Many who finds having trouble in drinking cow’s milk due to presence of a1 protein can drink a2 Milk and enjoy the nutritious goodness of real dairy milk.

Drink milk daily and the choices are explained.

Some reference to article in WebMD

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