Read It Before You Eat It: Milk

I haven't kept up with posts from the Read It Before You Eat It book (or any posts, for that matter), and that's because Deric and I have been going nonstop for the past few weeks. We've visited three churches/camps in the last 2 1/2 weeks, all in different states. I'll post more about that over the weekend once I've had some time to breathe.

This book is almost due at the library, so I wanted to post about at least one more food before I returned it. I chose milk because I've heard that milk really isn't good for us because of the way its processed and the way cows are treated, so I was interested to see if conventional milk really is that bad.

The author's tip: Always try to buy the milk with the lowest fat. Fat percentages in milk don't refer to the calories, they refer to the weight of the fat within the milk. So for example, 2% represents 35% of the milk's calories. 1% milk refers to 20%, whole milk (or 4%) is 46% of the calories. And nonfat/skim is of course, 0%.

Here's are the most common options for milk:
Whole milk: Whole milk has about 3.25% (but can be up to 4%) fat. Most of the fat in whole milk is saturated, which should be avoided (or at least limited) in our diets. However, whole milk is beneficial for toddlers because it helps provide the high amount of calories toddlers need while they're growing quickly.
2% milk: More than half of the fat in 2% is saturated. One cup of 2% milk has 120 calories, 45 of which are derived from the fat.
1% milk: The difference in calories between 1% and whole milk is about 50 calories per cup. So, if you drink the recommended amount of three cups of milk (or dairy) each day, you'll save yourself 150 calories.
Skim: Skim milk has no fat. (Unfortunately, it has no taste either. But that's just me.) Skim milk is just as nutritious as whole milk but without the saturated fats that whole milk contains.
Skim milk--protein fortified: Has the same amount of calories as 1% (100 per cup). Protein and calcium are added, but sugar is as well. Protein fortified milk has 4 more grams of sugar per cup than regular milk.

Hormones are present in milk because all cows have hormones naturally that help them produce milk. Some dairy farmers enhance their cows' natural hormones to boost the milk production. The FDA says the hormone enhancement is safe for humans, but some privately-owned groups believe it can have a negative effect on humans and cows. No negative effects have actually been proven.

Organic milk usually makes you think its hormone-free, pesticide-free, and antibiotic-free. However, organic milk is not hormone-free, but it has no added hormones. Both organic and conventional milk are low in pesticides, and antibiotics are never allowed in any milk. Bottom line, choose either skim or low-fat milk, or organic if you worry about possible pesticides or hormones.

Hopefully that was easy enough to understand. I'm not great with numbers and percents and such, but my conclusion from all that is that skim milk is best for you because it has no saturated fat. I'm glad to find out there's no major difference between conventional and organic milk because organic is usually double the price and I just don't want to pay that much. Deric and I usually get 1% milk and we'll probably continue to drink it. I just don't like the taste of skim enough to switch. I'm okay with a few extra grams of fat if it tastes good :)

You'd probably be interested to know that when I was growing up, I wanted to be Ashley Olsen. Nowadays, not so much. I remember asking my mom once if I could choose my last name when I got married because I'd change it to Olsen. Oh, and Courtney wanted to marry someone with the last name Cox. Bet she's glad that never happened ;)

1 comment:

  1. Oh man, the memories I have of you & Sarah watching those horribly done MK & A movies. Yeesh.
    I've also read that there's very little difference between organic & regular skim milk. The less fat milk, the more similar to organic it is. (Did that even make sense?)
    I've stopped drinking milk out of habit (except with an occasional cookie) since it was such a problem with nursing Isaac. A friend of mine explained it to me really well...cow's milk really has one purpose-to nurse calves. Just like we don't drink mother's milk or formula as adults, we don't technically need the cow's version, either. Made sense to me. You just have to make sure you get your calcium & protein in other ways.