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What Kind of Milk Can I Drink on a Diet?

by
author image Jennifer Andrews
Jennifer Andrews specializes in writing about health, wellness and nutrition. Andrews has a Master of Science in physical therapy from the University of Alberta as well as a bachelor's degree in kinesiology. She teaches yoga and pilates and is a recent graduate of the Institute of Integrative Nutrition.
What Kind of Milk Can I Drink on a Diet?
Milk is a source of protein and carbohydrates. Photo Credit Milk image by Henryk Falkiewicz from <a href="http://www.fotolia.com">Fotolia.com</a>

Milk may be part of a healthy diet plan to assist in weight loss and improve health. A study by researchers from the University of Tennessee found that overweight people who consumed three servings of dairy products a day lost more belly fat over six months versus those who had less than two servings. Dairy products may be more effective at increasing the rate at which your body burns fat. This is attributed to the fact that in addition to providing calcium, milk is also a source of fat-burning proteins. Milk is a source of both whey and casein, both high-quality proteins that digest at different rates, giving your body a steady supply of muscle-building protein. Milk may be added to a well-balanced diet plan as long as it is within your calorie range, as any excess calories will likely lead to weight gain.

Low-fat Milk

Different types of milk are available that vary in terms of saturated fat content. These types typically include 0 percent, 1 percent, 2 percent and 3 percent milk, with percentages referring to the amount of saturated fat present in the product. Zero percent is known as non-fat or skim milk; 1 and 2 percent are low-fat and reduced-fat, respectively; and 3 percent is whole milk. Whole milk is the highest in saturated fat. Saturated fats are unhealthy fats that may increase plaque buildup in the arteries, known as atherosclerosis; this increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. In general, drinking low-fat milk is recommended as part of a healthy diet plan to avoid increased calories and risk of health problems.

Chocolate Milk

Despite its indulgent-sounding name, chocolate milk may be a healthy addition to a diet when consumed in moderation. Chocolate milk has been most recently advocated for its benefits in post-workout recovery nutrition. The combination of carbs with protein makes it an ideal recovery drink to restore depleted glycogen stores and repair fatigued muscles. This helps strengthen the muscles and gives the body energy for its next workout and normal activities. Consider adding low-fat chocolate milk to your diet as a post-workout drink versus high-calorie protein drinks or supplements.

Organic Milk

Certified organic milk is free of added hormones and antibiotics. Controversy exists over whether cows that are given antibiotics may increase antibiotic resistance in humans, making drugs less effective. This theory has never been proven in long-term studies, however. Additionally, hormones in milk should not be a concern, as it is the cows that are injected and not the milk. The FDA-approved injected hormones, rBGH and IGF, must be injected to have any effect in contrast to steroid hormones. These protein hormones are destroyed during digestion and thus not passed over to you. However, if you are not convinced or are against the ethics of injecting cows, then you may want to purchase certified organic milk products that are labeled as hormone and antibiotic free.

Soy Milk

Soy milk is an alternative to dairy milk for those who cannot tolerate dairy, are vegetarian or simply avoid dairy products. Soy milk contains soy protein that is derived from the soybean plant. Soy has been shown to lower cholesterol levels and may help prevent the risk of heart disease and certain cancers. Soy milk is also lower in saturated fat than other dairy products, making it a healthy addition to a diet plan.

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