Most people agree that milk can be part of a healthy diet. Unfortunately, it can also contribute to weight gain. Cow’s milk contains calcium, protein and a host of other essential nutrients. We use it in our cereal, we add it to hot beverages, and we drink it just for its taste. All of this milk consumption, however, may cause us to pack on extra pounds.
Milk and Weight Gain
Milk can contribute to weight gain. Many people try to get around this by choosing low-fat milk. While low-fat milk is better for the body, it still contains calories. An 8-oz. serving of whole milk contains 175 calories. If you drink three glasses of milk per day, that’s a total of 525 calories added to your food consumption. You can opt for two-percent milk instead and take in about 120 calories per cup. One percent contains about 102 calories for every 8-oz. serving. Skim milk comes in at about 86 calories per cup.
If you’re watching your diet to maintain your weight or to facilitate weight loss, you have to include any calories you consume from milk in your plan. Often, people calculate the calories from the food they eat, but forget how much beverages can add. Imagine, for example, you are trying to reduce your calorie intake to 1500 calories per day. If you want to drink three glasses of one-percent milk each day, including the milk you have in your cereal, you’ll need to make sure you’re only getting only about 1194 calories from food.
Milk and Weight Loss
The National Dairy Council has advertised milk as good for the maintenance of a healthy weight. It contains calcium, which some studies show is helpful for those hoping to lose weight, and its low-fat varieties can be part of a healthy weight loss diet. This, however, depends on how much you drink. A study performed by Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston has shown that milk does cause weight gain. The study involved children, some of whom drank three glasses per day, which is the amount the National Dairy Council recommends for those hoping to maintain a healthy weight. The results of the study showed a 35-percent increase in the likelihood of obesity among children who drank three servings each day.
It is fine, and even advisable, to consume milk for its nutritional value or simply as a beverage you enjoy. It just doesn't pass as a weight loss or weight control solution. If you are attempting to control weight gain, you don’t have to give up on milk altogether. Instead, consume only a serving or two of low-fat milk each day and be sure to include these calories in your daily tally. Reduce your caloric intake in other areas, if necessary, to meet your goals. Don't forget that you get calories from other beverages as well. To meet your weight goals, you might also consider drinking less soda, juice and other calorie-laden beverages.