Whole Foods Lifestyle - Whole milk vs. low fat milk - which is better?

04-30-2009, 05:11 PM
Hello, everyone, I hope everyone if enjoying spring! :flow2:

I have recently been researching a topic of interest to me, which is whole dairy versus low-fat versions of dairy, particularly milk. I seem to find conflicting studies and advice. Some articles have said low-fat milk is definitly the way to go, while some advise that whole milk should be chosen.

The whole-fat entusiasts argue that whole milk is a "complete" food in which you need the entire fat to properly digest and absorb all the protein and vitamins. One source I found for this argument is an article by Nina Planck, author of "Real Food: What to Eat and Why." A link to her article is here: http://www.ninaplanck.com/index.php?article=Whole_Milk

The low-fat milk supporters advise to drink low-fat versions of milk, most popularly 2% milk, because it has less saturated fat. The American Heart Association is one of these proponents: http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=4684

I would like to know what you think about whole vs. low-fat dairy. Which do you prefer? Have you read anything about whole vs. reduced fat that has helped you decide?

I posted this in the "Whole Foods Lifestyle" forum as I believe some there will find the whole milk argument interesting, although I would love to hear from anyone on 3FC.

04-30-2009, 05:24 PM
I don't eat dairy so that is an obvious bias but...

From what I've read, cow's milk (whole) is meant to fatten up cows and has the nutritional profile needed for cows. I know some people have switched to goat's milk because it has a closer nutritional profile to human milk and I did used to enjoy goat's milk cheeses.

Commercial cow milk is also full of hormones and comes from animals that aren't the healthiest beings. Other than that, I've read lots of issues how dairy is related to type 1 diabetes and certain forms of cancer. I don't know if there has been any research on 'organic, non hormone' cows milk versus the traditional kind and diseases, so I can't say if the linkage is due to what we do to cows versus it being incompatible for human consumption.

Overall, I don't think it is beneficial for human consumption which is one of the reasons I don't drink it and trust me, I used to love dairy.

So I would say low fat vs full fat is really a moot point when looking at including dairy into your diet.

04-30-2009, 05:28 PM
I use non fat. By the way I heard a chiropracter give a talk at my gym and he said his two young children have never tasted cows milk, they only drink soy milk or rice milk.

04-30-2009, 07:44 PM
The fat in milk is saturated fat - not the good kind of heart healthy fat. I can't see any compelling reason for me to purposefully seek out fat which isn't good for me. I don't drink milk (never been a fan) - but I tend to buy low fat dairy options (but not non fat usually, it just doesnt taste/melt okay). Trader Joe's does make a fat free crumbled feta that tastes great, so I do buy that.

04-30-2009, 07:46 PM
Oh - I did read that book awhile back, it was good! I just don't agree with the whole milk thing :)

05-01-2009, 01:13 AM
I drink 1% because I like a little bit of fat in my milk (mainly for coffee). I don't drink more than about a half-cup a day (in the coffee), and I supplement my diet with other dairy foods only when I enjoy them. I do make a lot of soup stock, and when you boil the **** out of the bones you are (supposedly) extracting vitamins and minerals similar to what we get from dairy products.

I think if I were to do an investigation about milk and its healthiness, I'd probably look toward unpasteurized milk from a local farm. The pasteurization process makes milk far less healthy. I can't eloquently state the facts that I've read, but I'm sure they're googleable.

05-01-2009, 01:29 AM
:^:I have recently switched to soy milk, but my family is reluctant. I've gotten everyone down to fat free organic milk and the cries of "Isn't that enough!?!?" from my kids makes me chuckle when I only bring home only soy milk. Anyone have suggestions on getting the family open to change?

05-01-2009, 05:35 AM
if I may give my two cents on an idea to your family being more open for change.... I personally would rinse and disinfect the low fat cow milk cartons, and pour in the soy milk you are wanting them to change to. Of course they might get privy to the taste and know your underhanded deeds, but maybe they won't ;) And if the taste is too obvious, maybe you could half in half - get a small container of the milk they will drink, and half it with soy milk, and store your concoction in the cow milk carton you prepared. Reduce that ratio over time while their taste buds adjust, until its straight soy milk. Whatever works.

Kids are so fun though, and we mums can be so wise :D My daughter loves vegetables, because I would sneak them into everything...spinach and diced carrots into spaghetti, or cubed peeled sweet potatoes into chili (believe me, it doesn't taste like sweet potatoes - even my bf and son ate it lol), or shredded zucchini and carrots into some whole bran muffins that my fam likes for me to bake. I used to let my kiddos make "funny faces". After school, instead of cookies, I would set out a spread of whole wheat crackers, raw shredded carrots and zucchini, diced olives, diced pimento, tiny sprigs of parsley, diced bell peppers, or green onions, cherry tomatoes (for clown noses) and fat free cream cheese. We would spread just a thin layer of the cream cheese on each cracker so our "faces" would stick to the crackers, and the kids got to make their "funny faces" from the veggies - hair, eyes, mouth, nose, sometimes beards. It was fun and got them to eat their "funny faces".

Maybe if your kids see the familiar cow on that carton, they won't notice much of a difference and be more open to it. How long you will have to do this, of course, is up to you...when you are ready to tell them "surprise" lol. Or one day you just leave the soy milk in its rightful container one day...and when the kids say "ewww" you can say "oh but you have been drinking this for a month now, you just didn't know it" :D You can also use the soy milk in their oatmeal, where they really won't notice it but it will get them acclimated to the taste, or while you are hiding the soy milk in the cow carton disguise, get some sugar free chocolate syrup to make chocolate milk and really see them drink it down - again, getting them used to the taste without them knowing your secret. Good luck!!!!

05-01-2009, 10:23 AM
3 words for you : Chocolate almond milk or even chocolate soy milk

I don't drink much soy milk but almond milk is definitely a staple and chocolate almond milk is such a treat.

05-01-2009, 05:46 PM
I agree that almond milk is the way to go! I recently saw some information that too much unfermented soy (soy milk and some tofu's) can be bad for you.

I have never been able to tolerate milk (lactose) and so have had so but I enjoy the flavor of almond much more, and if you get them enjoying the chocolate version they are less likely to eww the other.

Although underhanded tricks are cool too :) underhanded mommies unite

Wolf Goddess
05-01-2009, 09:05 PM
I drink 1% milk - I just can't see how milk with more calcium and less fat than whole milk is worse for me. I drink soy milk too, but only as a drink by itself - and the rest of my family won't touch the stuff. My father was raised on powdered milk and says soy has that same taste, but I personally like it.

05-02-2009, 12:11 AM
Right now Dh and I are trying to conceive, so it's only full fat dairy for me. I'm not certain if I will ever go back to low-fat dairy. I'm weirded out by the fact that low-fat dairy seems to mess with your hormone balance enough to cause fertility problems. At least, this is what a study at Harvard suggests.

I don't drink milk though, I use it in cooking some and I eat cheese and yogurt.

I would say that, regardless of the fat content, finding a good hormone free fresh (local and preferably organic) source is very important.

05-07-2009, 02:47 PM
I don't agree with the "Sat Fat is Evil" campaign, but commercial whole milk is probably not the best of foods. The whole pasteurization/homogenization process radically changes the natural structure of proteins and fats in raw milk... and that's not even counting the questionable chemicals they give to commercial dairy cattle.

I use organic nonfat or lowfat in small quantities.

05-07-2009, 04:14 PM
I don't agree with the "Sat Fat is Evil" campaign, but commercial whole milk is probably not the best of foods.

I agree. I buy 2% for my husband to use in his cereal and for making mash potatoes. I don't drink milk anymore because as Nelie said, commercial milk is basically useless. I do like goat's milk a bit better but it's expensive and my husband won't touch it for some reason. We have both agreed that we are going to try raw milk. It won't be cheap but the health benefits are MUCH better than the junk they sell at the store. It will of course be full fat. I'm hoping we like the taste better too. Store bought milk just doesn't taste right.

05-10-2009, 10:15 AM
Looking at it from another angle...

While researching fertility, I came across a lot of information about whole versus low-fat or skim milk. Studies have shown that drinking whole milk increases fertility while drinking low fat and skim milk decreases fertility.

Source: http://www.oxfordjournals.org/eshre/press-release/freepdf/dem019.pdf

Women trying to conceive are often recommended to drink a glass of whole-fat milk a day and avoid low-fat dairy. Just something else to consider. I'm interested in your thoughts on this too.

05-10-2009, 08:25 PM
Check out this article on milk:


Food (or drink!) for thought...