I grew up in Germany and we didn’t even have skim milk on the grocery store shelves. The low-fat variety was 1.5% and we never bought that one either. It was always whole milk. When I moved to the States I was introduced to skim milk but I just never got friendly with that taste, watery texture and unsatisfied feeling after you drink a glass of it. So for many years I stuck with 1% or 2%. Fast forward to the present years where I learned about what’s important in milk and why skim milk is almost useless. Milk is a great source of nutrients and vitamins, including calcium, protein, vitamins A, D, K, and E. You want those nutrients and you want them in their natural form, which is in the fat of the milk.
I don’t buy skim milk because it is “skimmed” of its vitamins, which are fat soluble. To make up for the vitamin loss, the big dairy people artificially force these vitamins back into the milk. But they’re not the same – just like the vitamins supplements you see at the store are not as valuable to your body as the real deal from whole foods.
The biggest misconception about skim milk though, is that people think it’s good because it’s low fat and good for their waistline. Wrong. Fat does not make you fat. Sugar makes you fat! Good fats are important for the regulation of blood sugar levels. Your body can make its own fats by converting carbs. So what happens when you don’t have enough saturated fats? Your body will start craving carbs and sugar for its fat production. You eat the extra carbs, they get stored as fat, you gain weight.
It’s that simple.
You should also stick to organic milk. The extra cost is worth it, trust me. “Conventional” milk can be a source of residual antibiotics and hormones that were given to the cows, and are then passed on into your body.
The growth hormone rBGH is given to dairy cows to produce more milk. While there are several different studies out there on whether it harms us humans or not, it’s best avoided (some studies showed that it can cause breast cancer). How do you know if the milk you’re buying has it or not? Look for the fine print that states that the milk was produced without the use of rBGH.
Dairy cows are also given an insane amount of antibiotics to fight the many udder infections they get.Residual antibiotics that make it into your bloodstream can cause antibiotic immunity, meaning if you ever really need antibiotics, your doc will have to give you a much stronger version. Antibiotics kill bacteria, ALL bacteria, so even the good bacteria in your gut which you really want to keep alive for good digestion. Along with the antibiotic residues, you’ll also get a little puss from the infected udders. Ready to switch now?
Organic milk is always free of hormones and antibiotics.
Even better is drinking milk from pastured (grass fed) cows. A cow’s natural diet is not eating grains (while crammed into a tight indoor space). The grains may be sprayed with pesticides, and are mostly GMO varieties unless you buy organic. What the cow eats largely affects the quality and taste of the milk. You can taste this and see it (grass fed butter has a much deeper yellow color than its pale, grain-fed cousin). By eating grass, the cows also absorb way more minerals and higher quality nutrients than from a grain based diet. And they get to roam around on the pasture which make them happier cows, with happier milk. Just like us humans, stress has a huge effect on their health, too.
So stick with organic whole milk (good). Grass fed (better)
The next step is raw milk. I tried it and LOVE it. Read about it here!