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You Ask, I Answer: Milk Recommendations

dohmhnews8-06-coverI’m curious if you know why the New York City Department of Health’s recent campaign about [weight gain from drinking] soda and sugar sweetened beverages encourages people to drink low fat milk instead of skim milk.

— Kate Bauer
(Location Unknown)

Since I was not involved in the creation of the campaign, I don’t know the answer, but I theorize that it relates to the recent trend to embrace a small amount of fat (in beverages) as a way to enhance satiety.

The calorie and saturated fat difference between low-fat and skim milk is negligible.

In fact, if the extent of someone’s milk consumption is a quarter cup in their morning coffee, I don’t have an issue with the use of full-fat milk.

A quarter cup of whole milk only provides 37 calories and 1 gram of saturated fat.

Recommendations to switch to low-fat or fat-free milk are only useful when a person’s milk consumption is high or in situations where a beverage contains a significant amount of milk (ie: a 24-ounce latte or smoothie).

In most situations, I find it more effective for people to focus more on what they are eating along with their morning coffee than the type of milk they use.



  1. Brandon said on September 2nd, 2009

    I imagine two different possibilities:

    1) It was their thought that “skim milk” is included in the category of “low fat milk”.

    2) They didn’t want to exclude 1% milk as a healthy option. After all, the USDA does like Skim AND 1% milk.

    I think #2 seems like the most logical explanation.

  2. Andy Bellatti said on September 2nd, 2009

    Yes, #2 makes more sense. “Skim milk” and “low-fat milk” are considered two different categories.

  3. Courtney said on September 7th, 2009

    I’m currently reading Marion Nestle’s What to Eat, and based on her book, I’d bet that the Dairy Council had a hand in it.

  4. Andy Bellatti said on September 7th, 2009

    Yes, but the question wasn’t why milk in general was recommended, rather why “low-fat” (as opposed to “skim”) was specified.

  5. Courtney said on September 7th, 2009


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