In the last century everyone was drinking milk, and naturally a full-fat one, but this changed in the seventies when experts warned that the saturated fats present in dairy can block arteries and cause overweight issues.
Many people were concerned about their health and as a result of that many switched to the consumption of milk low in fat or totally gave up the consumption of cow’s milk. This resulted in reduced consumption of milk and nowadays a third of the people drink less milk than they did 30 years ago. These rates are still going down especially among the young generation below 35 years old. According to a recent survey a third of people under 35 are cutting down on dairy due to either health or moral reasons. They have replaced the cow’s milk with plant-based alternatives, including almond, soya, or coconut milk.
It is a fact that many people, around 60% of the global population suffer from lactose as they lack the enzyme lactase that help the body to digest the sugars in cow’s milk. Hence, the consumption of cow’s milk can trigger gas, bloating and stomach irritation. As a result of that people turn to the use of other plant-alternatives.
Fortunately, a great number of people, although lactose intolerant, suffer only from minor symptoms and thus can afford a tiny splash of cow’s milk in their tea. There are less fortunate ones that even a drop of milk in their tea can lead to unbearable stomach cramps, and gas. These people have no chance to drink the regular milk but only the plant-based ones.
The market promoting the plant based milks is booming at the moment due to the above mentioned reasons. But, we need to consider very carefully when turning for such alternatives as our body needs the milk for the bones, heart and brain. On the other hand, the skinny versions of the milk can even make you fatter.
Cow-s Milk versus Almond Milk
First of all, you need to be aware of the fact that the almond milk will not protect your brain, and your body will lack some essential nutrients.
Cow’s milk has in its content plenty of protein and Vitamin B12 which is not the case with the nut or oat milks.
Most of us are familiar of the fact that milk is abundant in calcium highly needed for healthy bones, however not many people know that this liquid contains other valuable mineral like iodine. In a small glass of cow’s milk, no matter if it is full-fat, semi-skimmed or skimmed, has in its content nearly 70% of the recommended daily intake of iodine. Iodine is an essential nutrient for the brain development in babies and adults as it regulates their metabolism and mood.
Contrary to the cow’s milk the plant-based milk has in its content only 2% of the amount found in cow’s milk. Therefore, many vegetarians turn to the consumption of seaweed, shellfish and other white fish that are containing iodine. Nonetheless, it still remains the fact that cow’s milk remains the main source of iodine in the average British diet.
UK citizens lack iodine more than any other citizens in the world, so every natural source of this mineral is highly welcomed.
As e result of this new trend many people are deficient of iodine, but it seems that the most affected are the young women as they are most likely to avoid the intake of animal foods and opt for the plant-based alternatives.
According to the findings of a 2011 study, involving British teenage girls, almost 70% of them were with low iodine levels. This nutrient is highly needed for the production of thyroxine, a hormone secreted by the thyroid gland accountable for an optimal metabolic rate. This hormone controls the body efficacy at converting food into energy. If the levels of iodine are persistently low, then the production of this hormone will be significantly reduced that will lead to slowing down of vital bodily functions like energy burning. This condition is recognized under the name of hypothyroid that can cause weight gain and mood swings.
The deficiency of iodine can be harmful for the fetus growing in a pregnant lady. As per the results of a conducted study on 50,000 babies, the lack of iodine while developing in the womb and after birth can significantly affect the child’s neuro-development at three years of age. The shortage of thyroid hormones dramatically impedes the brain development of the fetus. The low iodine levels were linked to behavioral issues, delayed language development, and reduced motor skills in children.
Another study monitored the iodine levels in pregnant women and was carried out for 20 years, involving 4,000 pregnant and post-pregnant women. It was revealed that mild to moderately low iodine levels in mothers can affect the child’s reading ability and IQ scores.
The skimmed milk was highly promoted as it contains less or none saturated fat accountable for the increase of cholesterol levels-LDL which is considered to be bad fat. Namely, high levels of bad cholesterol can lead to the development of heart diseases.
In addition to this, it was believed that less fat means better waistline as the skimmed milk contains less than two-thirds of the amount of calories, per glass, than of a glass with full-fat milk.
However, things are not that simple as they seem, especially when our body is concerned.
It is true that the saturated fat in milk raises the levels of LDL but as well as the levels of good cholesterol-HDL which balances the damage done by the higher LDL. The HDL collects the excess cholesterol in the blood and returns it to the liver, where it gets broken down and thus removed from the body.
Studies Say Full-Fat Milk Does Not Make you Fatter
An 11-year Swedish study involving 1,600 healthy middle-aged Swedish men showed that obesity is not triggered by the consumption of butter and full-fat milk. The men who ate these products were not likely to become obese than those who consumed skimmed milk and low-fat spreads.
According to the latest studies people who are drinkers of full-fat milk are in fact slimmer than the ones who consume lower-fat varieties. Plus, their chances for having high blood pressure, high blood sugars and high levels of fats in the blood are really low. In this way the body is being protected from developing a heart disease.
An American study involving 18,438 American women showed that those women who ate full-fat dairy were the least likely to gain plenty of weight over the 11-year period.
Studies offer the following explanation regarding these statistics, the consumption of high-fat dairy products keep the stomach fuller for a longer period of time thus preventing sugary cravings.
If you have drank the skimmed milk you can easily turn to the semi-skimmed variety of milk. But, you need to know that it contains lower levels of some essential fatty acids such as omega-3. The intake of these acids prevents cognitive decline and lowers anxiety and depression. On the other hand, the full-fat milk contains three times more fat but it also contains 90 times more omega-3 fats than skimmed milk, and almost two times more than semi-skimmed. Do not forget that the fat-removal process in milk depletes the final product from valuable nutrients like Vitamin A and Vitamin D. Yes, some of them are added back in after the process, but not all of them.
There is also the better taste of a full-fat milk and let us not forget that those extra few grams of fat curb the hunger pangs making us less prone to fatness. For sure, your bones, brain, and heart will thank your for this consumption.