Should we consume milk every day?

Milk is the most single food that has almost all the nutrient or can also be recognized as food that has the most nutrients as compared to the other food. Which is why from the ancient times naturally it is the staples food for babies. This also explain why bedridden patient who cannot tolerate food well, usually the first oral nutrition supplement given is milk (1).

 

However, the issues with milk always is controversial. There are study saying that as adult we do not have to consume milk every day, while there are also study suggesting that milk should be consumed every day (1). Down below we list out reasons why you should consider your consumption of milk, whether to drink it every day or not!

 

 

Milk reduced obesity risk

 

Well, people always equate full fat-dairy products for gaining weight however, finding of the research found somewhat contrary. Full-fat dairy products may actually be better than low-fat variety for keeping off weight! According to Walter Willet, Harvard School of Public Health nutrition expert, the idea that all fats are bad emerged in the 1950s and 1960s, when saturated fat was linked to high cholesterol and increased heart disease risk (2).

 

What happened was that, when saturated fat is reduced in food products or in people’s diet, it is often replaced with sugar or carbohydrates. The problem with this is that it takes more carbohydrates to make we feel full and unlike fat carbohydrates does not promote satiety (the longer feeling of fullness) thus making us consume more food (2). Another study saying that, the more sugar we consume the more we are craving for its, its like addiction (3).

 

 

The kind of milk that we have nowadays

 

Since the demand of high fat milk is low, most of food manufacturer has lower down their amount of fat, which is replaced with sugars. Which explained why if you looked thoroughly on food label for low fat milk, the chance is it has higher sugar content. Thus, when it comes to milk, it is very tricky. Some more we have various kind of milk nowadays from animal-based milk to plant-based milk.

 

How to choose?

 

When it comes to milk, if you want to drink milk as a means to avoid you from eating more food, as it promote satiety, then choose full cream milk, however you need to monitor your calorie intake from other source of food and choose milk with low sugar. However, according to Vasanthi Malik of Harvard School of Public Health, as we often get our fat from other source of food, thus it is best if we consume low fat milk, but still…need to check on the sugar content. Bottom line, when it comes to milk, choose the one that has lowest sugar, saturated fat, and trans-fat. As these are the culprit behind various health complication.

 

As for plant-based milk, it is not necessarily healthier than cow’s milk, for example it might be that it has higher sugar content as well. However, they are the better choice if your primary concern is environmental impact, since soy milk, almond milk, oat milk, and rice milk produce less carbon and greenhouse gas emission than cow’s milk.

 

Pro and cons of milk

 

Again, the decision on whether to impart milk on the daily diet is still debatable though it is in the guideline of food pyramid and even healthy plate. The consumption of milk everyday is still depending on your dietary intake and body weight. Let say if you have normal weight, thus consuming one glass of milk per day is enough, however if you are underweight you may consume more than one. Maybe two glass of milk. But again, as mentioned above, while you are getting your good fat from milk it is very important to reduce other bad fat from your diet such as deep fried food, food that has high trans-fat which is bad for you and also food with high saturated fat.

 

The actual scenario is in Malaysia many people are overweight and obese thus, perhaps we should look at the suggestion to actually drink milk everyday again. What we are trying to emphasized is if you already get your calcium from other sources of food such as anchovies, sardine, almond, kale and many other foods, then probably you have already got the 1000 mg of calcium that you need daily!

 

 

Fact Check (5,6)!

 

Saturated fat is the kind of fat that is usually high in animal-based food and in some plant-based food such as coconut milk (santan). Excessive intake associates with raised blood cholesterol and increases risk of heart disease. Anddd do you know that coconut milk (santan) does not have cholesterol like what been claimed by almost all coconut milk products? It really is cholesterol free it just that it has high saturated fat!

 

Trans fat is ‘man made’ fat usually derived from the hydrogenation process. It raises your bad (LDL) cholesterol levels and lower your good (HDL) cholesterol levels. Eating trans fats increases your risk of developing heart disease and stroke. It is also associated with a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Doughnuts, cookies, crackers, muffins, pies, fast foods and cakes are examples of foods that may contain trans-fat.

 

 

 

 References

  1. Ask the Experts: Is Milk is good for you? https://www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/experts-is-milk-good-for-you (Accessed on November 23, 2020).
  2. Harvard T.H. Chan School Public Health. Calcium and Milk. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/what-should-you-eat/calcium-and-milk/ (Accessed on November 24, 2020).
  3. Avena, N. M., Rada, P., & Hoebel, B. G. (2008). Evidence for sugar addiction: behavioral and neurochemical effects of intermittent, excessive sugar intake. Neuroscience and biobehavioral reviews, 32(1), 20–39. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neubiorev.2007.04.019
  4. Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Milk not necessary for adult, should be good option for kids. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/hsph-in-the-news/milk-health-adults-kids/ (Accessed on November 20, 2020)
  5. Ministry of Health (MOH). Fats and cholesterol. http://www.myhealth.gov.my/en/dietary-for-hypercholesterolemia/ (Accessed on November 23, 2020).
  6. American Heart Association (AHA). Trans Fat. https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/fats/trans-fat (Accessed on November 24, 2020).