Is skim milk healthier than whole milk?

Is skim milk healthier than whole milk?


7 reasons why you should choose whole milk

When it comes to choosing milk in your local grocery store, it can be quite confusing with all the different options for milk. Which do you choose: whole, 2%, 1%, or skim. Does your choice really make a difference; is skim milk really healthier for you than whole milk.

I really don’t know why the milk section has to be so confusing, but I think there are a few good reasons why you should choose whole milk.

1- Whole milk is natural

When it comes to drinking whole or skim, the natural choice is whole milk. Drinking milk is not the product of a modern civilization. People have been drinking milk since the dawn of time, even before grains where introduced into the human diet. Cave paintings show animal cultivation, and milk residues have been discovered in ancient pottery. Undoubtedly, those people where drinking and eating whole fat dairy products, and not drinking skim or reduced fat milk.

In the past, it was very difficult to separate the cream from the milk. The first mechanical cream separator was invented by Gustaf de Laval, which he patented in 1894. The cream separator was used to separate the cream so it could be used to make butter. The skim milk would be thrown out, or fed to the hogs to fatten them. The cream was the most valuable component of the milk.

Then a misleading study on fat consumption and heart disease in 1953, and another in 1970 by Ancel Keys changed public opinion on fat, and deemed saturated fat the number 1 enemy to human health. The USDA then declared war on fat in the 1980’s, and fat was deemed “bad.” Low-fat foods suddenly became popular. Read my last article about fat and if it’s bad for you.

2- Whole milk doesn’t cause heart disease

When you look at the nutrition trends in the U.S, it becomes clear that saturated fat isn’t the cause of heart disease and obesity. Consumption of dietary fat has declined over the past 30 years, but heart disease, and obesity rates have not gone down.

In fact, even doctors and researchers are coming out saying that saturated fat and cholesterol are not the cause of the health epidemic in the U.S. Dr. Dwight Lundell, a heart surgeon, notes that saturated fat is not the culprit, but instead the problem is inflammation. Without inflammation, cholesterol cannot accumulate in the arteries. Lundell explains:

Without inflammation, cholesterol would move freely throughout the body as nature intended. It is inflammation that causes cholesterol to become trapped.
Inflammation is not complicated — it is quite simply your body’s natural defence to a foreign invader such as a bacteria, toxin or virus. The cycle of inflammation is perfect in how it protects your body from these bacterial and viral invaders. However, if we chronically expose the body to injury by toxins or foods the human body was never designed to process,a condition occurs called chronic inflammation. Chronic inflammation is just as harmful as acute inflammation is beneficial….

The injury and inflammation in our blood vessels is caused by the low fat diet recommended for years by mainstream medicine. What are the biggest culprits of chronic inflammation? Quite simply, they are the overload of simple, highly processed carbohydrates (sugar, flour and all the products made from them) and the excess consumption of omega-6 vegetable oils like soybean, corn and sunflower that are found in many processed foods.(Source)

3- Fat has beneficial Fatty-acids

Milk fat actually may have many positive effects on the human body that researchers are only beginning to understand. Fats are composed of fat molecules known as fatty acids. These fatty acids have some very beneficial effects on the body. Some notable fatty acids in milk are:

  • Lauric Acid – antiviral properties, increases condition of skin and hair
  • Conjugated Linoleic Acid – Help with weight management, and weight reduction
  • Oleic Acid – what makes olive oil healthy
  • Butyric Acid – anti-inflammatory

4- The milk-fat globule membrane

If you’re drinking skim milk, you’re missing out on the milk fat globule membrane, MFGM. The MFGM is the membrane that encases the fat globules in the milk. Researchers are only beginning to study this structure in milk, but have already noted that there are many different bioactive compounds that are key in antiviral and antimicrobial mechanisms that combat infections and bacteria in the gut. Research has even shown that the MFGM may help protect against colon cancer. Read more in my previous post about fat.

5- Whole milk helps you absorb the vitamins in milk

If you’re drinking skim milk, the nutrients in milk may not be absorbed by your body. Many of the vitamins in milk (Vitamins D, E, A, K) are fat soluble meaning they are absorbed in fat which makes them readily available for your body. If you’re drinking milk without any fat, the fat soluble vitamins won’t be able to be absorbed by your body. The fat soluble nutrients will pass right through.

Nature designed milk with these things in mind. It’s really interesting to see milks special design, and how it maximizes the transfer of nutrients. I think this may be one of the primary reasons why there is fat in milk, to maximize the transfer and absorption of nutrients.

6- Skim milk drinkers more likely to gain weight

Interestingly, researchers have evaluated whole and skim milk consumption to determine whether one or the other had any impact on weight.

Dr. Mark Daniel DeBoer, an associate professor of pediatric endocrinology at the University Of Virginia, School Of Medicine, and his team evaluated milk choices, and body mass index, BMI. Initially the researcher thought that children consuming whole milk would have higher BMIs than the children consuming low-fat or skim milk. They were shocked to find that the children consuming whole milk had healthier BMI scores than the children consuming skim milk. In fact, they found that “children, who were normal weight at the start of the study and consistently drank the 1% milk [skim milk], showed a 57% increased chance of becoming overweight or obese by the time they were four.” (source)

Even though the children were more likely to gain weight drinking skim milk, the researcher explained that it was not drinking the milk that was the problem, but could be due to the fact that the children were consuming more calories overall. Without drinking the fat, the children were more likely to get their calories from other sources, probably opting for more carbs or sugar. You can read the entire article about this study here.

7- Low fat foods do not lower calorie consumption

The USDA’s longstanding recommendation that people should drink skim or reduced fat milk was called into question in an editorial by Dr. David Ludwig, director of the New Balance Foundation Obesity Prevention Center at Boston Children’s Hospital, and nutrition expert Dr. Walter Willett, chair of the department of nutrition and epidemiology at Harvard School of Public Health.

The two doctors argue that low-fat foods do not reduce calorie consumption. Drinking reduced and skim milk may have fewer total calories, but they will often not be as filling, so people will then end up getting their calories from other sources. Read the article here.

Fat is key in telling your brain when you’re full, and signaling satiety. When you consume some healthy fat, you will be full longer which leads to less snacking, and less calorie consumption. The fat takes longer for your body to break down than carbohydrates, which metabolize quickly. So when you include fat in your diet, you can extend your body’s energy supply, and snack less.

Let me know

It’s really fascinating to see how nature specially designed milk to maximize the transfer of nutrients. Each component in milk has a special purpose and reason why it’s in milk. The problem is that researchers still know very little about the components in milk and their purpose, but there seems to be new research emerging every day proclaiming the health benefits of milk. In the meantime though, whole milk is natural, so why settle for anything less.

I think these are a few good reasons why you can choose whole milk. Did anything surprise you, let me know in the comments below


  1. How about if I just don’t like the creaminess of whole milk and like skim milk better? Ain’t that okay? 😉
    I realize you are just trying to flesh out the whole picture. I like your blog. Thanks.

    • Of course its ok haha! It’s funny how you get used to milk a certain way. I just wanted to point out that your missing out on some nutrition if you drink reduced or skim 🙂

  2. How about eating a balance meal? We are the only mammals that drink another’s milk and most importantly we are the only mammals that drink milk at the adult stage! Talk about great brain washing . I hope you are not being paid somehow from the Dairy Assc. You eat a balance meal and you will get all that you need without milk-less cows, feed,pastures etc. You may not be the shark in this brain washing piece but you certainly are the water it swims in

    • Such anger, such wow. 🙂 I can tell You’re blindly eating the brainwashing info from PETA (or other anti-farm groups) with the bit you start with. You should do some research – I posted a picture of elk drinking milk from a cow on my fb page, kittens drink cows milk, and ants harvest “milk” from aphids which they farm. Strange but true, I wrote an article about it. We get so locked in our paradigms. Be willing to read other opinions. Milk is part of a healthy diet, even cave men knew that

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