As a staple across all ages and meals, milk is one of the most nutritious natural beverages on earth. For decades, nutritionists across the globe have emphasized its importance. However, many find it quite a confusing subject with multiple dairy and non-dairy varieties of it in the market. Many do not know the myriad of dairy milk alternatives, and many remain unaware of the three primary dairy milk types.
Starting with the most basic diary form today, here is a complete guide on whole milk!
What is Whole Milk?
Every utility store has three primary dairy milk types for you to shop: whole milk, low-fat milk, and skimmed milk. The main difference in these types is the fat content, with whole milk being the most unadulterated form of raw milk from cows. It is a rich, creamy, and nutritious drink with the highest fat content among all milk types. However, the whole milk fat percentage is not as high as it is thought to be. It only contains 3% to 3.5% fat.
It is the least-altered type of dairy milk from cows: it is only pasteurized to eliminate germs and may contain little additives for increased shelf life. Although it is not recommended often because of its calorie content to adults, it is a very healthy milk option. It has many benefits because of the essentials present in it. Below is a rundown on everything you need to know about whole milk and its substitutes!
Benefits of Whole Milk
Whole milk offers a myriad of benefits to its consumers. Thanks to its rich nutrition profile, it is one of the most bought milk varieties.
It provides multiple essentials to your body, allowing you to reap the benefits of its healthy composition. It has many other perks as well. It makes a primary component of many for cooking, baking, and even beauty enhancing. Below are some of its significant benefits:
1. Helps in Weight Control
Generally, people think that drinking milk every day can be fattening because of its fatty molecules and cream. But that’s not the case! Drinking milk can fill up your stomach for many hours on end, stopping us from snacking because you never seem to feel satiated. Having a glass of milk yourselves and giving one to your children can help eliminate obesity from your household. People who take milk regularly don’t turn to excess eating.
2. It’s a Blessing to Bones and Teeth
As it is rich in calcium, whole milk is the best friend of our teeth and bones. It keeps the teeth protected and its primary layer, enamel, intact and distant from getting corrupted. It helps you keep your teeth healthy as long as possible, as it also slows down the teeth’ aging process.
It also strengthens your bones, helping you against joint pains and bone problems.
Milk should be a part of every age group’s diet, but children should be more driven towards drinking it. It can help in their much-needed development as it provides sufficient calcium and vitamin D for growth and development.
3. Helps in Growth of Muscles
Whole milk is the best choice for building muscles: it has a high protein value. It also helps repair damaged muscles.
We lose our muscle mass when we get lazy or don’t do as much physical activity as we should. Drinking whole milk and increasing our physical activity can do wonders for our muscle growth.
4. Increases Brain Power
People who have made milk a part of their daily life are known to remember things easier, faster, and longer. Whole milk assists in making an individual brighter than their peers. Not only whole milk makes your brain work efficiently, but also happier. Experts say that it helps in the production of a chemical called serotonin. With the production of serotonin, our mood lightens up!
5. Great Assistance in Self-Care and Beauty
Many people use whole milk for more than just strengthening their inner self. It helps reverse the aging on our face, just like how it slows it down for our bones and teeth. People mix whole milk with their masks to get rid of wrinkles. It moisturizes dry skin and brings back the glow.
6. Good for Your Cardio-Health
Whole milk acts as a shield against dangerous conditions as well, like heart problems. It helps control blood pressure, lowering the chance of heart attacks and strokes because of nutrients like potassium present in it.
7. Useful in Multiple Recipes
From a staple drink alone to its use in cuisines and bakery items, whole milk is an excellent component of dairy food items in your kitchen.
Whole Milk Nutritional Facts
Whole milk has many essential nutrients. That is why they deliver so many gains to us. Let’s break down why whole milk carries so many advantages.
Calcium is super essential for our teeth and bones. Our body demands 99% of calcium for our bones and teeth. Whole milk is rich in calcium, which provides us with our daily dose of calcium.
2. Fat and Calorie Count
Whole milk has a considerable amount of fat and calories. It helps in healthy weight gain and maintenance. However, your doctor may not recommend this to you as it contains the highest calorie count and fat among all three primary dairy milk types.
3. Essential Proteins
Whole milk has a lot of proteins in it. Having two glasses a day can fulfill a significant portion of the daily need for proteins. Proteins help cells function. Healthy cells mean a healthy immune system. Proteins also help in the proper functioning of organs and maintain our tissues. At the least, every part of our body requires proteins, which the whole milk has sufficient.
4. Essential Vitamins
Whole milk has vitamins A, B, and D. These vitamins are essential for the proper function of our brain, bones, muscles, and eyes. Vitamin D regulates the supply of calcium throughout the body. Whole milk is best known for vitamin A.
Whole milk has a high level of potassium present in it. Potassium is essential for our body since its functions are related to the blood and the heart. Potassium regulates blood flow, controlling blood pressure. It keeps us safe from strokes and kidney stones.
Phosphorus aids energy levels and enhances them. It is also essential to develop and preserve the health of our teeth and bones. Therefore, it makes whole milk a good option for bone and teeth health. It also promotes the flexibility of our muscles and keeps muscle strain away. Lastly, it is essential for renewing the DNA and RNA.
Nutritional Value of Whole Milk
It contains the following per a cup serving (approximately 240 ml)
- Calcium: 300mg
- Fat: 3.25%
- Proteins: 8 grams
- Potassium: 134 mg
- Phosphorus: 300 mg
- Calories: 149
- Water: 88%
- Carbs: 11.7 grams
- Sugar: 12.3 grams
- Fiber: 0 grams
- Fat: 8 grams
Whole Milk Substitutes
Although whole milk offers several benefits and uses, many people seek alternatives. There are several reasons for this. For instance, some people have lactose intolerance or milk allergies. Consuming milk can lead to grave medical implications or even death sometimes for such people.
Some people avoid dairy due to vegan values: they are against animal-insensitive processes that the cows go through, eliminating dairy from their diet. And some people don’t appreciate the taste of whole milk on their buds. And some people don’t like its taste. In any case, you have good news of several alternate options.
If you’re into dairy milk, you might want to try low-fat milk or skimmed one. You may also go for non-dairy varieties like soy milk, almond milk, cashew milk, rice milk, and oat milk. Each of these types has its benefits. Therefore, choose wisely or let yourself get a flavor of them all!
The Confusion around Consumption of Whole Milk
During the 1970s, an uproar against drinking whole milk had initiated when scientific evidence highlighted how the saturated fat content in whole milk is significantly related to increased risk of heart diseases. It is why people were given guidelines about limiting whole milk consumption.
Dietary authorities assumed that saturated fats in whole milk resulted in aggravated blood cholesterol levels, increasing the risks of heart disease. Consuming a cup of whole milk, loosely converted to 23ml, provides you with about 4.6 grams of saturated fats. This amount of saturated fat exceeds the daily recommended amount, according to the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Due to these statistics, Americans are advised to consume skim milk instead of whole milk.
However, recent clinical studies and research have challenged this notion and called it contradictory. The dietary recommendation for Americans by the authorities has also gone under review as scientific evidence suggests no causal relationship between heart diseases and consumption of saturated fats.
Is Whole Milk the Healthiest?
The short answer is no, not always. The longer and more detailed answer lies in the nutritional makeup of whole, skim, and low-fat milk. Skim and low-fat milk are the best options if you prefer fewer calories with a punch of vitamins. Also, if you are still unsure about the weak link between saturated fats and heart diseases, you should definitely go for skim or low-fat milk.
However, these two types of milk might not always win the race against whole milk. Excessive amounts of added sugar in reduced-fat milk might not be an excellent option for people on a weight-loss diet. Moreover, the commercial processing for fortification of the milk also doubts health-conscious people about skim and low-fat milk.
Whole milk fulfills your appetite and keeps you satiated for a longer time than skim or low-fat milk. Whichever option you find suitable for yourself should be your decision only. However, you must weigh the pros and cons of each type of milk and decide according to your health.
Whole milk is cow milk in its least changed form — it is rich in nutrients, creamy in texture, and a delicious staple for everyone. You can use it in many cuisines, drinks, and bakery items. It is available everywhere easily, including your local utility stops or grocery stores.