In the past few years milk unjustly got a lot of really bad rap. With respect to weight loss and even healthy eating plans, many suggest an outright removal of milk from a diet. Well, nothing could be further from wrong! On the contrary, milk, and particularly skim milk, is an excellent weight loss food and should definitely be included in your weight loss or healthy eating program.
Recent studies have shown that consuming calcium directly from milk and milk products increases fat metabolism and helps body to burn fat. Interestingly, most studies report that people who drank milk tended to lose weight primarily from the abdominal area (stomach). This is very important because fat in the belly area is different than fat in other areas of the body and it is dangerous for your health.
Why Skim Milk And Not Whole Milk
It is important that the milk you drink is fat-free. In North America we call it skim milk. The fat that is in whole milk is saturated fat. This type of fat is really bad for your cholesterol levels and your heart health. This type of fat raises bad cholesterol levels and blocks arteries.
There are 4 types of milk available: whole, 2%, 1% and skim (fat-free).
Per serving (1 cup or 8 fluid ounces or 250ml)
- whole milk has 146 calories and 8 g of fat
- 2% milk has 122 calories and 4.8 g of fat
- 1% milk has 102 calories and 2.4 g of fat
- skim milk (fat-free milk) has 86 calories and 0.4 g of fat
Other dairy products such as cheeses and yogurts also contain saturated fat. The amount depends on the type of milk they were produced from. Some of the “fat-free” cheeses don’t taste very good so if you are eating regular cheeses make sure to control their intake. Instead of a slice of cheese have a glass of skim milk or a fat free yogurt.
Health Benefits Of Skim Milk
Besides contributing to weight loss, skim milk offers numerous health benefits. It contains only 86 nutrient rich calories. Skim milk is high in protein, rich in calcium and full of B vitamins. Calcium from milk is absorbed much better than calcium from other foods because lactose, which is not found in other foods, aids its absorption.
Studies also seem to indicate that calcium from milk may protect us from colon cancer. As well, it appears to play a role in blood clotting, muscle contraction and normalizing blood pressure.
Milk in United States and Canada is fortified with vitamins A and D (this could be true in other countries as well). It is the major dietary source of vitamin D and for some people both, vitamin A and D.
It is recommended that anyone above the age of nine consumes 3 cups of skim milk or yogurt per day. A combination of skim milk and a diet rich in fruits and vegetables is a perfect formula for weight loss or weight loss management.
Problems Associated With Milk
Some people get upset stomach when they drink milk. Often this is because they have developed lactose (a natural sugar in milk) intolerance and they cannot digest lactose. On the positive side, studies showed that even people who are lactose intolerant are able to drink at least one cup of milk without experiencing digestive discomfort.
The other solution, when you think you may have lactose intolerance, is to drink goat milk which is easier to digest. Today goat milk can be found in most major supermarkets.
In summary, milk has been touted as nature’s (almost) perfect gift, so take advantage of it and make sure to drink some every day. It is truly an excellent healthy weight loss food and a must for any healthy eating plan. I like to drink my plain skim milk ice cold. But my most favorite way to drink it is hot with 2 tablespoons of pure cocoa (no sugar). It is delicious and tastes just like dark chocolate you’d buy in the store. This way I get my relaxing chocolate fix without the sugar. Try it sometimes.