In July 2018, a study was released by Prof Marcia Otto, of University of Texas, that suggested that full fat milk consumption could lead to lower risk of stroke or heart attack. The study looked closely at the multiple markers of fatty acid present in the milk and how it influenced stroke or heart attack over a period of 22 years. More than 3000 participants (both sexes) were evaluated accordingly. Results indicated that the fatty acid types were not significantly associated with total mortality, while one type was associated with a lower mortality of heart attack deaths.
Yet, many people have long preferred skimmed or low-fat milk over full fat, simply because it is healthier. Are we wrong after all?
Milk is one of the earliest food we consume, be it breast milk or dairy milk. Besides containing the all-important calcium needed as the basic building block of our bones, milk is full of other nutrients, minerals and vitamins for the young to grow up healthy and strong. Tonnes of milk are being produced by dairy farms on an annual basis. Traditionally produced from cows, it can also come from buffalo, goat, horse, sheep and other sources. Milk can also be produced from almond, rice, oat and soy.
Milk is often processed before it comes to us in the final form, for e.g. through homogenization and pasteurization. Here are some types we consume (the dairy ones; may not apply to nut-origin milk, due to different nutritional value):
Full cream (also full fat, or whole) – Fat is not removed from the content, about up to 4%. It is the closest to raw milk, with similar ratio of fat to milk, after homogenization and pasteurization. This is what baristas use to produce the frothiness in your favourite coffee.
Low fat (reduced fat) – Fat content is much reduced, kept between 1 to 2%. There may or may not be sugar or protein in it, depending on the manufacturer. Some companies add in more nutrients to compensate for the loss of vitamins etc due to the fat removal.
Skimmed – Contains the lowest concentration of fat, less than 1%. There may or may not be sugar or protein in it, depending on the manufacturer. There might be more additives so do check the label.
UHT – This type of milk goes through an ultra-high temperature processing, heated to above 135 degrees Celsius. Some are concerned that it is no longer nutritional, given that the high temperature essentially destroyed any protein nutrients.
One very important thing to note about milk is that some may find that bowel movement is increased, about 30 mins to 2 hours after consumption. This may mean that the individual may have lactose intolerance. This condition arises from the decreased ability to digest lactose due to the lack of such an enzyme called lactase. Lactose is a sugar in dairy products. Besides increased bowel movements, there may be abdominal pain, bloating, gas and diarrhoea. In that case, obtain professional opinion for diagnosis and management.
So barring any medical conditions, let’s continue drink milk even when we are adults, to absorb all the nutrients that this wonderful dairy product can offer!
© LOOMI Group 2018
This article is first published on loomigroup.com
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