Milk is the original convenience food. It is also one of the most versatile foods around and most of us incorporate it into our daily diets in some way. Ice cold, it’s perfect for drenching our cereal in the morning, or washing down our cookie treat in the afternoon.
Warmed up at night with a sprinkle of cinnamon it can soothe us to sleep. It can also be used extensively in cooking, from creamy milk puddings to tasty cheese sauce on our cauliflower.
In Britain, milk is one of the staples of a balanced diet with the average person consuming about half a pint a day. It is a common misconception that milk is fattening, but that is simply not true, especially if you choose the semi-skimmed or skimmed versions. It is also widely believed that skimmed milk is less nutritious than whole milk, and this is also untrue, and in fact, quite the opposite.
A large glass (about 200ml) of whole milk has 130 calories, nearly 8g fat and 230mg of calcium. The same amount of semi-skimmed milk has 70 calories, only 3g of fat and 240mg of calcium whilst a large glass of skimmed milk has 66 calories, a mere 0.2g of fat and 240mg of calcium.
Not much difference between semi-skimmed and skimmed in terms of calories and calcium, but quite a big difference between skimmed and whole in terms of calories and fat. Also, you’ll notice that both semi-skimmed and skimmed have slightly more calcium than whole milk. Why is that?
Well, calcium is found in the watery part of the milk, not the cream part, so when milk is skimmed, all the calcium remains. An adequate amount of calcium in the diet will build strong bone tissue and help to prevent osteoporosis.
There is one slight disadvantage to drinking skimmed milk – since vitamin A and D are fat-soluble vitamins they are removed in the fat layer during the skimming process. Children under 2 years of age should only be given whole milk, as they need a higher fat intake for their growth and dvelopment.
Whole or semi-skimmed milk is also probably a better option for optimal growth for older children. For adults, the loss of these nutrients does not pose a threat to your health since we do not require such a nutrient-dense diet.
Hopefully by now you’ve been convinced (if you weren’t already) to switch from whole milk to either semi-skimmed or skimmed. Obviously skimmed is the better option due to its much lower fat content but some may find it too watery to have on cereal or to have as a drink.
So have semi-skimmed milk on your cereal, but keep a small carton of skimmed milk in the fridge and try getting used to using it in your tea, coffee and cooking. The difference will soon add up and help to keep those pounds coming off.
Thanks to tescodiets.com who have provided this article.