SOURCE OF CALCIUM
Below is your complete milk guide which will tell you all about its benefits, negatives and why is it important to buy organic milk only. Many people are intolerant to milk or simply choose not to consume it. Find out why milk might not be as great as most health associations claim it is further below and read about the different dairy-free alternatives available.
WHOLE VS. SKIMMED MILK
Whole milk: full fat, contains about 4% fat (UK standards).
Semi-skimmed milk: half of the fat content is extracted. It is lower in fat and slightly higher in calcium, contains about 1.7% fat.
Skimmed milk: most of the fat is removed. Much lower in fat and also higher in calcium, contains between 0.1% – 03% fat.
The most obvious conclusion from the above would be that skimmed milk is healthier compared to whole as it is lower in fat and in the meantime higher in calcium. Many health associations recommend semi-skimmed milk based on the above. However there are other studies that suggest that we are missing the benefits of whole milk.
Nutritional value vs. lower fat intake
So why is skimmed milk higher in calcium? Calcium is found in the watery part of the milk, not in the fatty cells, therefore when milk is skimmed, all the calcium is kept. Because the watery content increases, the calcium percentage of skimmed milk is slightly higher. The question is what are we losing when the fatty cells are removed? During the skimming process most of the vitamins (A & D) and nutrients are lost due to the fact that they are contained in the creamy part of the milk.
When it comes to your kids’ milk you really need to make sure they are getting those vitamins, especially if they are at the age between 1 and 5.
Does skimmed milk really help with weight loss?
Many people drink skimmed and semi-skimmed milk when they are watching their weight. There are researches that question the fact that these fats contribute to weight gain and are actually suggested to be good fats. The link between heart diseases and saturated fats is also seriously questioned. At the time of consumption of skimmed milk, we are drinking less fat but because it is less nutritious it doesn’t facilitates our appetite for long, which can shortly lead to the consumption of high-glycaemic-index foods and this is not the desired effect from your food.
WHY ORGANIC MILK?
It may be skimmed or not but it should definitely be organic. Organic does cost a bit extra but the difference in the price isn’t as much as with other organic foods. Many people in the UK consume about 1 pint per day and some even more. We have it for breakfast, in our coffee and tea. If you are one of them then you really need to consider switching (if you haven’t already) to organic as it has a number of benefits.
Researches have shown that organic milk can actually have up to 30% less saturated fat than regular (Wow!) and is more nutritious and higher in healthy Omega-3 fatty acids. This is a result of traditional farming techniques, animals have higher welfare standards as they are fed mostly with grass. The use of chemicals and antibiotics is kept to a minimum which means the milk you are consuming is “cleaner” as organic animals are fed a more natural diet. If your milk is coming from a healthy, well-looked after animal, then it will be a better product!
What’s in our stores?
WHY SAY NO TO MILK?
We are not designed to drink it
Let’s explore a different theory contrary to the above, have you heard that milk should not be consumed by humans at all? When we are born we need human milk from our mother as it is designed to provide us with the needed nutrients for our growth. Same way cow’s milk is designed to provide nutrition to the cow’s baby but not to humans. Another factor that suggests that milk is not designed for human adults is that most of us are actually not able to digest it.
We can’t handle it
Most people that decide to look for dairy alternatives do it simply because they feel they are intolerant to it. Do you know that about 75% of the people don’t have the ability to digest milk and have symptoms such as bloating and diarrhoea shortly after the consumption? These are all signals that our body is sending to us to indicate that it can’t handle this liquid. There could be two reasons for this, one group of people are simply lactose-intolerant (the natural sugar in milk), others are reacting to the casein protein in milk. The casein protein is slightly different in goat’s and sheep’s milk which is why the second group of people find them easier to tolerate. However there are many other people that simply avoid milk for other ethical and environmental reasons.
Some studies suggest that milk is not as healthy as it is claimed to be. Since we were little, all we hear is that we need to drink milk for healthy bones. However that myth has been destroyed by researches that are able to prove that the animal protein found in it actually decreases the calcium in our body, which is the exact opposite of what most of us believe.
Another problem with milk is that it is highly inflammatory, after gluten, it is the most inflammatory food in our diet. If you are eating relatively clean but you still consume dairy and experience acne and other skin problems, try and quit dairy for 30 days and see if things are going to change.
There are also people that don’t consume milk because of ethical concerns. Cows are constantly forcibly impregnated to produce milk for humans. Although many farmers do take care of their cows and treat them well, eventually most cows are dried off after a few years of constant milk production so they are sent to be used for meat. Many people choose not to support this modern type of agriculture so they choose not to drink milk even if they are able to tolerate it.
Many people can tolerate dairy with no problems and are not concerned with any of the above. If you are one of them you should at least consider buying organic at all times. The dairy-free alternatives below are also great and even if you are not considering to completely remove milk from your diet you can still try some of them as they have their own benefits and taste great!
There are plenty of alternatives if you decide to reduce your milk consumption or completely avoid it. Most of them are naturally lighter and much easier to digest. Another benefit of the milk alternative products is that they are plant-based and aren’t highly inflammatory unlike milk. The downside is that they are not that rich in protein but the proteins are again plant-based and not animal proteins. This should not worry you if you have other sources of protein. Almond milk for example has the same calcium levels as in cow’s milk, so it can still be a source of calcium and many other beneficial vitamins.
If you have decided to switch to milk alternatives it may seem difficult at first, here are a few tips to help you with the transition. Also, here are the most popular milk alternatives:
- Rice (avoid non-organic)*
- Soy (avoid non-organic)*
Where to buy?
Generally you can find the widest range of alternative drinks online or in store at Holland & Barret and Whole Foods market. The below Rice milk is actually available at Sainsbury’s too and it’s much cheaper.