Whole Milk vs. Low fat Milk

Milk has gotten a bad rap. A good rap too, but then fat got a bad rap. So milk got a bad rap. It’s a vicious circle really.

To begin the tale of how I arrived at this dilemma, a little back story.

I grew up drinking, more like guzzling, 2% milk. I drank a lot of milk growing up. Numerous glasses a day, 20-30 oz probably. And my mother was happy with that, she’d rather I be addicted to milk than Coke.

But then my parents found that my brother had really high cholesterol so my mom slowly switched us to fat free milk. I didn’t mind, my dad protested a little. He wasn’t even a fan of the 2%. So for my teen years I happily drank fat free milk.

Now in my adult years I still drink a lot of milk. A glass in the morning, for a snack, when I don’t feel like water, at dinner. Actually pretty much every meal. For the last year I’ve been buying mostly fat free, but occasionally 1% or 2%. But after reading Musing of a Housewife’s blog and her switch to whole milk…I started to wonder.

You would think I would have thought about this before. In a college nutrition course I had to write a paper for milk, and one against milk. Now the one against milk really did disturb me, like the % of feces allowed to be in milk. Didn’t know that? It’s disgusting, really. But I’m too much of an addict to let the cons deter me.

My mom always told me that my dad never got sick because he was raised on raw whole milk. And it is true that I can’t remember a single time save once or twice he was ever bedridden with illness. And he rarely gets anything else. There might be something there, I’ll say there is.

Recently I came across an article that was printed in the New York Times on 12 February 2006. You can read it here at Full Harvest.

Basically it boils down that whole milk is a whole food. Every part of it works together to give you the complete nutrition it offers, the fat playing a key role in absorbing things like the protein and calcium. So if you drink fat free milk you’re missing out on most of the vitamins, not to mention that through the process of making the milk fat free they remove the vitamins anyway. Yeah, yeah they add things like vitamins A and D back in, but really, that’s just not the same quality. And don’t even get me started on how important vitamin D is, especially for those of us who live up North and lack the sunshine as a source.

Anywhoo, back to cow juice. The biggest con of whole milk is well, the fat content. But, according to the above article, people aren’t getting fat from drinking whole milk. Furthermore, low fat diets aren’t as beneficial as we think they are. Now there’s a lot of research behind these statements and I suggest you read the NYT article and books like Real Food: What to Eat by Nina Planck to learn more about what I’m talking about.

Another factor is exercise. You should be exercising every day, at least a few times a week. I am what I would call physically fit and at a very healthy weight so I’m not really worried about the fat in whole milk. So what does this boil down to? That I’m switching to whole milk, maybe organic if I can afford it. But with how much milk I drink this might not be realistic at the moment. The best would be raw, organic, whole milk from grass-fed cows, but I’m going to have a not-so-easy time finding that in addition to that costing a lot more than I want to pay.

What do you drink? Whole? Low fat? None?

Also, any input or feedback would be more than helpful. I want to learn a lot more about this topic.

Image of milk bottle found here.

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5 thoughts on “Whole Milk vs. Low fat Milk

  1. eatingmachine says:

    i started getting whole milk because i like it in my coffee 🙂 but for the most part i get milk with fat in it because having fat in food keeps your blood sugar more stable, and i have blood sugar issues… i hadn't thought about the nutrients being stripped and readded, but i know when they add in something your body doesn't absorb it as well as the naturally occurring nutrients. (in defense of food talks about this) interesting to think about!

  2. This is great! Let me know how you like the switch. I’m loving our raw milk. 🙂

    • Carrie says:

      I’ve been loving it! I’ve hardly ever drank (drunk?) whole milk before, I’m pretty sure I’m the guilty one as to why we went through more milk than normal that first week. I’m still on the edge about raw milk, there’s a store that sells it literally blocks from my house, but I’ve had bouts of food poisoning that have scarred me. I have a feeling I’ll buy raw eventually though.

  3. Jamie says:

    I only drink 2%, but that’s only because it’s what I drank growing up. Don’t drink it much though, might move to whole fat in my coffee!

    • Carrie says:

      I think I might alternate whole milk with 2% too. Whole milk is really, really thick. But it works better in some recipes and it’s better for hot cocoa too. It definitely makes for better lattes.

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