Thursday, November 5, 2009

Got Whole Milk? Why, Yes!

A while back I mentioned that I drink whole milk. I know almost everyone drinks skim. For about 26.5 years of my life I did too. I love milk. Love it like I love organized closets that I don't personally have to organize. And that would be . . . a lot. One thing I don't like is blindly listening to the collective consciousness (I was born almost an entire month late, I like to buck trends) and just drink skim because some doctor on TV said so.

The reason nutritionists and your pediatrician suggest skim milk for everyone after age two is that skim lacks fat. Americans, if you didn't notice, are big fat blobs. Cutting things like fat and carbohydrates are a great false promise. Basically, cut down on something and you're bound to cut your calories and thus be a less fat American. Which means you'll take up less space but still mock Asian tourists.

In fact, you'll see organizations like the National Dairy Council saying that school lunch should contain low-fat dairy to fight obesity and disease in children. Their argument is basically that you have to feed the kids something so it should contain some nutrients and since our kids are big and fat make it low-fat. Notice that what they are not saying is that low-fat dairy makes you healthier. The American Heart Association tells you that you need two to three servings of low-fat or fat-free dairy products per day, and while they fail to explain why, its likely because of the recommended intake of things like calcium.

It's no secret that for the most part dairy is good for you. (Although some argue that we weren't meant to drink milk past breast milk and we're fighting evolution but if you're not lactose intolerant, whatever.) Milk contains fat soluble vitamins like A, D, K and E although these are stripped when skim milk is created and put back in through fortification. It also contains calcium and provides you with protein. So milk = good.

Now, as for your choice of milk. Skim milk is whole milk put in a centrifuge. Skim milk, no matter what you're picky cousin says, is not whole milk with water. Whole milk is not all fat either, its just the whole form of milk. The basic contents of the two types are the same except that whole contains more calories. Well there are a few differences in that skim is far more processed (and I've been clear on my feelings on that, ahem, anti). In a study done on rats both the skim milk and whole milk groups showed the least weight gain in comparison to the group drinking water. So, again milk = good but regardless of the type of dairy they both promote a health weight.

The number one complaint physicians have about whole dairy is cholesterol. First, the cholesterol you consume, which is called dietary cholesterol (duh) and the kind you have in your actual blood don't always affect each other. Sometimes they do. If you're consuming an obscene amount of the stuff then your bad blood cholesterol (the kind your body produces) is going to be higher. Oh, and you'll also be overweight and perhaps have diabetes and show signs of heart disease. These things are all signs that a person is obese. So the theory that consuming cholesterol and producing too much cholesterol in the body is not such a simple theory. In reality, a person eats too much, they get fat (Americans mentioned above) and they experience all sorts of health problems from obesity to diabetes and, of course, high cholesterol. So basically if you're watching your calorie intake you should drink as much god damn whole milk as you please. If you're fat like I was, cut the calories.

I really haven't explained why I drink whole milk as much as I've explained how I defend the choice. The reason I drink it is basically I need the calories. When I work out and burn a crap load of calories I try to replace them with protein. I'm also usually starving and thus whole milk saves the day. As long as I keep my calories within a normal range it is no problem. Also, in truth, its not as if I have a glass of milk everyday. I also don't think you can defend drinking just any milk either.

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