American Society For Nutrition

The Milk Debate

The Milk Debate

Excellence in Nutrition Research and Practice
Posted on 08/28/2009 at 05:49:19 PM by Student Blogger
By: Jovana K.

Over the past decade the use of low fat milk has become more prominent than the use of whole milk because there is substantial scientific evidence that consumption of foods high in fat causes weight gain and increases the risk of heart disease and cancer. However, there is some controversy over whether processed low-fat pasteurized milk can meet the needs of developing offspring and whether it should be consumed during pregnancy and development.

Milk Consumption During Pregnancy

Human brain development involves increased incorporation of long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPUFA) in brain phospholipids. From the third trimester through to second year of postnatal life LCPUFA (i.e. docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and arachidonic acid (AA)) are actively incorporated into the developing brain. The proportion of DHA and AA that the infant has reflects the presence of these fatty acids in the maternal diet. Dietary sources of LCPUFA include fish, fish oil and DHA fortified dairy including milk. 

Naturally, cow's milk does not provide a rich source of DHA however in North America whole milk and partially skimmed milk (2%) are fortified with DHA by adding DHA rich feed additive to cattle's diet. Skim milk or low fat milk (1%) cannot be fortified with DHA because DHA is contained in the milk fat. The DHA-fortified milk products may allow mothers who do not eat large quantities of fish to obtain the levels of DHA that their baby needs for brain and central nervous system development.

Milk Consumption During Postnatal Development

The American Academy of Paediatrics recommends that toddlers drink whole milk because fatty acids are helpful for brain and bone development. However, some doctors recommend low fat or skim milk to overweight or obese children. Whether low fat or skim milk protects children from weight gain is under debate.
According to a cohort study of 12,829 US children aged 9 to 14 years, weight gain is associated with excess calorie intake and consumption of low fat or skim milk, but is not associated with drinking whole milk products. This finding although surprising is consistent with some animal findings. Pigs fed reduced-fat milk gain weight easily while pigs fed whole milk stay lean. Male rats fed whole milk had significantly lower concentrations of plasma triglycerides, very low-density lipoproteins and apolipoprotein B than rats fed low fat milk. The effects of whole milk on lipid profile and body composition are not well understood, but the process of removing fat from milk may in part be responsible for some of the observed effects.
Milk is an emulsion of butterfat globules and water-based fluid. Butterfat contains unique nutrients that support thyroid function and help the body develop muscle rather than fat. The butterfat properties of whole milk are different from that of low fat or skim milk, which may  help to explain the effects of whole milk on body composition. Future studies should explore the mechanism by which whole milk may protect infants from gaining weight.



Perhaps, future study should also explore goat milk and sheep milk impact on obese children.

Interesting post. What's your position? I wonder if cow's milk is even the right choice at all.

Posted Aug 07, 2010 5:43 AM by Marshall

I've read that during the third trimester of pregnancy, the brain of the fetus grows at a rate of 250,000 new neurons every MINUTE! This is extremely rapid, and DHA is a crucial component. When pregnant mothers take fish oil supplements, they've been shown to have markedly lower rates of post-partum depression!

I found your article very interesting since I have recently started taking a Colostrum based nutritional supplement. I cannot begin to tell you how good I feel now. I have been on some terrible medication since surgery on my brain five years ago and for the first time since then I am starting to feel my old self again.

It is really up to the parents whether to give whole milk or low fat/skimmed milk. But if you really care about your child you would of course choose the healthiest option which is breast milk. It is observed that breastfed babies are leaner compared to formula fed babies and you don't have to worry about bulging belly fat when they become teenagers where perfect figure is one of their confidence builder.

Posted Aug 21, 2010 12:37 AM by Collin

I am not sure whether low fat milk causes problems to women during pregnancy. But at the same time they can drink high fat milk which end up being obese. I think with this confusion drinking milk can be reduced. Instead some fresh juice, vegetables and other nutrient rich foods can be had.

Thanks Collin paul Isagenix

Posted Aug 23, 2010 4:09 AM by Sameer

Milk is said to be complete meal. One glass of milk provides all the nutritions which a human body need and provides calories also. London Escorts London Escorts