Posts Tagged With: low-fat

Skim Milk vs. 2% Milk

While speaking to patients at Mon General Hospital this week, and giving them the nutrition education that was ordered by their doctor, I came across the same comment made by three separate patients that I had never heard before. When talking about a low-fat diet with patients, all three patients mentioned that they drink 2% or whole milk, because they heard from Dr. Oz that skim milk is bad for you. They weren’t able to say exactly why– I got “I think it has more sodium/sugar” but I told them that skim milk is actually a great choice because it has the same amount of protein as 2% or whole milk, but without all the fat! And a low-fat diet is going to be good for the heart; especially since a lot of these patients just had a CABG (coronary artery bypass grafting surgery), angioplasty & stent placement, or a NSTEMI (heart attack).  Let’s clear out the plaque and cholesterol that’s hardening your arteries and causing these blockages…switch to skim!

So when a 3rd patient mentioned today that they used to drink skim milk, but then switched to 2% because of good ol’ Dr. Oz, I knew I wanted to do some research into what he said, and then lay the facts out concerning the different nutrient profiles of different milks.  After some searching, I came across a TV clip on The Talk where Dr. Oz mentions his opinion on skim milk (the youtube video has since been removed, but his quote is below).

“Don’t drink skim milk, you don’t need to. When you take the fat out of milk, what’s left? Sugar! Skim milk is sugar milk. You want to drink 2% milk, eat 2% yogurt…people who have a little bit of fat in the yogurt lose more weight, because your body is satiated.” – Dr. Oz

Ok. First off, when you take the fat out of milk, what’s left is more than just “sugar”. Take a look:

1 cup whole milk:

  • 150 calories
  • 8g fat
  • 5g saturated fat
  • 35mg cholesterol
  • 8g protein
  • 12g carbohydrates
  • 12g sugar

1 cup 2% milk:

  • 130 calories
  • 5g fat
  • 3g saturated fat
  • 20mg cholesterol
  • 8g protein
  • 12g carbohydrates
  • 12g sugar

1 cup skim milk:

  • 80 calories
  • 0g fat
  • 0g saturated fat
  • <5g cholesterol
  • 8g protein
  • 12g carbohydrates
  • 12g sugar

So, what really happens when you take the fat out of milk? You end up with a milk that has the same amount of carbohydrates and sugars (12g), and you end up with a milk that has the same amount of protein (8g).  What also happens is that by switching to skim milk, you’ve just saved yourself 50-70 calories, 15-30mg cholesterol, 5-8g of fat, and 3-5g of saturated fats, depending on whether you switched from 2% or whole milk.

As far as the macronutrient composition of milk, 60% of the calories from skim milk comes from sugar, and 37% of the calories from 2% milk comes from sugar.  So I’m thinking that was the angle that Dr. Oz was taking when he was saying that skim milk is just “sugar milk.”  Yes skim milk does contain a higher percentage of calories from sugars than 2% or whole, but skim has the same number of grams of sugar that whole milk has.

His little blurb about fat making you satiated has some truth to it. When you eat a high-fat meal, you feel satiated, or full, because when fat reaches the duodenum (small intestine- the only place where fat is absorbed), CCK is released, which slows gastric emptying, meaning your stomach stays “fuller” longer than if you had a fat-free meal.   I think that Dr. Oz is trying to get at the idea that if someone drinks a glass of 2% milk, they’ll feel satiated. But if someone drinks a glass of skim milk, they’ll still be hungry, so they’ll start raiding their fridge and consequently gain weight that the people who drank 2% are not gaining. But that just means that people are gaining weight from the extra food they are eating, not gaining weight from drinking a glass of skim milk rather than 2%.

But I’m assuming that when people drink milk, whether it’s skim, 1%, 2%, or whole milk, they’re drinking it with a meal, or a plate of cookies. The average American is getting enough fat (make that more than enough fat) in their diet, so switching to skim milk isn’t going to make them feel starved– they’re already feeling satiated from the fat from their dinner of hamburger helper, steak, pizza, pasta, or those 3 chocolate chip cookies they just scarfed down with that glass of milk.  See what I’m saying?

So in conclusion, if you’re ordered by your doctor to be on a heart-healthy diet, a low-fat diet, or you’re just looking to decrease the amount of fat in your diet, making the switch to skim milk is a great idea. Skim milk is fat free and contains 8g of protein per cup and just 12g of carbohydrates/sugar (1 carb choice). It is not “sugar milk”– all cow’s milk contain the same amount of sugar per cup.  If you’re really concerned about your carbohydrate intake (ie: if you’re diabetic), then you might want to try soy milk, as the unsweetened variety has just 4-5g of carbohydrates instead of 12g.  So 8oz of soy milk has less carbohydrate/sugar, has 80-90 calories, 0mg cholesterol, has just 0.5g saturated fat, and contains about the same amount of protein as cow’s milk (7-9g). However, soy milk does have 4-4.5g of fat per serving, which is comparable to the fat content in 2% milk.  So again, if you’re watching your fat intake and keeping an eye on your heart health, you might want to just stick to skim rather than 1%, 2%, whole, or soy milk.

Even Batman agrees– fat free milk is best!

Categories: Clinical Nutrition, Current News, Education in the Community | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

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