Consumption of milk is a very controversial subject. On the one hand research suggests that milk is a rich source of calcium which has been linked with the reduced risk of osteoporosis (reduced bone density), diabetes, heart disease and even cancer. However, critics suggest that the above benefits are untrue and that consuming milk can also lead to diabetes and obesity. As a result of these criticisms many people who want to lose weight avoid dairy products. In this article I will discuss both sides of the argument and analyse whether milk really needs to be avoided as part of a weight loss plan.
There is a lot of positive evidence to support regular consumption of milk. Milk is full of calcium which is a very important mineral. This article in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association suggests that even lactose intolerant patients should try to drink a little milk with meals because of the calcium and also because it is rich in Vitamin D which helps the body utilise calcium. Milk also contains 7 other essential nutrients including potassium, protein and riboflavin all of which are very important for the proper functioning of your body. Furthermore, milk has been linked with reducing the risk of contracting a number of diseases. This study published in Diabetes Care looked at the link between type 2 diabetes and consumption of calcium & dairy products in 37,183 women who had no previous previous history of the disease. The conclusions found that consuming milk and dairy products could reduce the risk of contracting type 2 diabetes by as much as 21%. Finally, milk could actually help you lose weight according to this article suggesting that it definitely should not be avoided.
So with all this positive evidence why do people continue to criticise and avoid milk? Well critics suggest that milk is not all it’s cracked up to be. Many campaigns such as Not Milk suggest that the health benefits associated with milk are actually the result of highly effective marketing from the dairy industry. These critics even go as far as suggesting that milk can be damaging to your health. This article cites research to support claims that milk can actually increase the risk of osteoporosis, cause cardiovascular disease, lead to cancer and that it can also be responsible for a number of other health ailments. Furthermore, a number of studies such as this one suggest that consuming more milk makes you gain weight. Participants who drank more than 3 servings of milk per day were found to be 35% more likely to become overweight than people who drank 2 servings or less per day.
After reading the above information the pressing issue is should milk be avoided as part of a weight loss plan? In my opinion NO it should not. There are new studies coming out all the time promoting or criticising the consumption of milk. For every study that criticises milk you can find another that supports it. After reading this article you can probably see there are a lot of conflicting claims, opinions and studies out there. A product as popular and accepted as milk is always going to be scrutinised and there is always going to be too much evidence to come up with a definitive conclusion. However, the facts are that milk is rich in a number of important nutrients which help your body stay healthy and no study can change this.
I have drank milk for as long as I can remember and I have never suffered any adverse effects and it has definitely not made me fat. There are much more damaging foods out there including processed foods, heavily fried foods, fast foods, carbonated & sugary drinks etc. Plus, all of these foods will lead to much greater weight gain than one or two glasses of milk each day. Obviously, consuming too much milk can be bad for you just as too much protein, too many carbs, too many vitamins or too much of anything can. As long as you stick to a sensible daily amount you should have no problems and could even make a positive contribution to your health. If you are really that worried about milk making you fat then get a low fat or skimmed variety which comes in at a minimal 100 calories per glass . I for one will not be giving up milk anytime soon.
What do you guys think? Do you agree that we should carry on drinking milk? Have you given up milk? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this controversial topic.