The Benefits of Drinking Skim Milk
Skim milk has many great benefits. It can help increase muscle tone and boost the immune system. Many avoid drinking skim milk, either because they prefer the taste of whole milk or because they have gastrointestinal issues such as lactose intolerance. For those who have a sensitivity to milk, by all means, avoid it! For those who do not, drinking skim milk may benefit your whole body.
Vitamins Found in Milk
One eight-ounce glass contains only 86 calories and tons of nutritional benefits. For one, if it's fat-free milk, it contains little to no fat. Pretty much everyone knows that milk is an excellent source of calcium. What they may not realize is calcium from milk absorbs more efficiently than the calcium found in supplements. A big reason for this is that the lactose found in milk helps absorb calcium, but lactose is not in dairy supplements.
Aside from calcium, skim milk also contains riboflavin and several B vitamins such as B-12. In the United States, skim milk also contains vitamins A and D.
- Calcium: In combination with vitamin D (which milk also has), studies suggest it helps to prevent bone loss and bone fractures, and assists in the building of bones in younger persons. Calcium can also help settle acids during acid reflux.
- Riboflavin (aka Vitamin B2): It helps with the metabolizing of fats, proteins, and carbohydrates. It also helps prevent anemia and helps to keep the skin nice and moisturized.
- B-Vitamins: They help with cardiovascular health and the nervous system. These vitamins also boost the immune system, as well as metabolism. They help to reduce the risk of pancreatic cancer and promote healthy cell growth.
- Vitamin A: This vitamin helps with eye health by promoting the health of the retina. Other benefits include assisting with the immune system and skin health. It also is an antioxidant.
- Vitamin D: This vitamin assists in the absorption of calcium, as well as promoting good skin health. Those that are deficient in this have a high prevalence of influenza; therefore, this correlation suggests it can protect against the flu.
Summary of the great health benefits of drinking skim milk:
- helps regulate blood pressure
- can reduce blood clotting
- boosts the immune system
- increases metabolism
- assists in nerve conduction
- plays a vital role in muscle contraction
- helps to prevent osteoporosis
- helps with healthy skin
- can help with weight loss
The dietary guidelines state that any person that is nine years or older should drink the equivalent of three eight-ounce glasses of milk per day, which is also equal to three cups.
Studies Suggest Skim Milk Helps Weight Loss
In April 2004, Obesity Research published the findings from research done by Michael B Zemel. What it found was that obese people who ate or drank 2–3 servings of milk or dairy products lost, on average, 24 pounds during the six-week study. The control group who ate the same amount of calories but digested little to no dairy products lost significantly less.
A 2000 study by Creighton University found that women with higher calcium intake tended to weigh less. Dr. Robert Heaney, who conducted this research, found that for every 300 mg of calcium, the average body weight was six pounds less than those who drank none.
Another more recent study found that a diet containing 1,000–1,400 milligrams per day of calcium from dairy foods not only increased fat metabolism but changed the way the body burned fat.
Yet another study showed that diets that were calcium-rich due to dairy products were more effective in weight loss in the abdominal area, as opposed to those who were eating a low-calcium diet and only taking calcium supplements. So even calcium supplements do not replace the benefits of drinking a tall, ice-cold glass of skim milk. Let's face it—milk only tastes good if it's ice-cold (in my humble opinion).
Whole Milk vs. Skim Milk
As far as the vitamins and minerals go, whole milk naturally contains vitamins A, D, E, and K. Since these are concentrated in the fat of the milk when the fat is taken off, these vitamins are skimmed off as well. In the United States, vitamins A and D are fortified within skim milk, replacing the benefits that are lost.
How Whole Milk Becomes Skim Milk
Despite the loss, skim milk is still more beneficial from a vitamin perspective. To understand this, you need to understand what happens in turning whole milk into skim milk. First off, it's crucial to understand that water is not added to skim milk. If you look at the ingredients list on a carton of skim milk, you may see vitamin A and vitamin D, but absolutely no water is listed!
Before an increase in technology, skim milk was made by "skimming" the fat off the top. The milk would settle, then the fat portion was skimmed off, leaving the protein-rich part without all the fat, which causes there to more of the good stuff and less of the bad stuff. Now the fat is "skimmed" off by spinning the milk inside a stainless steel tank called centrifuges. The fat is then separated and drained.
The reason the milk in fat is so bad for you and why it is beneficial to skim it off is that it mostly contains saturated animal fat. Animal fat is what raises blood cholesterol, so as you can see, drinking skim milk as opposed to even 2 percent is beneficial in this respect. The calorie also is increased. Whole milk contains about 50 percent in calories, whereas skim milk only has 4 percent in calories.
The one downside to skim milk is it does have slightly more carbohydrates and sodium levels.
Skim Milk vs. Whole Milk Nutritional Content
Why Is Skim Milk Considered to Be Better Than Whole Milk
In processing most foods, when you take away part of the natural substance, you are also taking away many of the good qualities. Ironically, with milk, by taking away some of its original content, you end up with more of the good stuff and less of the artery-clogging fat and cholesterol.
By removing the fat, you are increasing the amount of protein that is available because fat is a filler. Added fluff to the milk that has no nutritional value. By taking it away, there is more room for the good stuff; therefore, whole milk does not contain more protein than skim milk. Skim milk wins in that contest.
The one downside to drinking skim milk as opposed to whole milk is it does contain slightly more sodium and carbohydrates, due to the skimming of the fat, and the re-proportioning of milk when removing the fat. Fortunately, it has significantly less cholesterol, which offsets the fall-back.
Many people are afraid to drink milk due to lactose intolerance or milk allergies. Yes, some people have difficulties digesting the lactose sugars in milk. Some of these symptoms include bloating, gas, upset stomach, and diarrhea. Although it is important to note, very few people are genuinely allergic to milk. Usually, an allergy is due to a sensitivity to whey or casein.
Yes, there is a more significant percentage that is lactose intolerant, but there are some great options for those who are indeed lactose intolerant. For one, they can use Lactaid among other products that assist in the breaking down of lactose sugar. An even better option is organic milk out there that are lactose-free.
It is also important to note that gastrointestinal problems are often erroneously attributed to lactose-intolerant when there truly is another problem at hand. One study showed that those who were considered to be lactose-intolerant were capable of drinking one cup of milk a day without experiencing digestive issues.
- The Advantages of Skim Milk | Healthy Eating | SF Gate
A healthy diet should include three cups of dairy products each day, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. However, full-fat dairy products contain saturated fat, a type of fat associated with cardiovascular disease.
- The Benefits of Skimmed Milk | Healthspan
Skimmed milk—also known as "the healthier milk"— is one of the most popular milk variants on the market. But what makes it so healthy?
- Milk, Nonfat, Fluid, With Added Vitamin A
Nutrition facts and information for milk, nonfat, fluid, with added vitamin A (fat-free or skim).
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
© 2010 Angela Michelle Schultz