20 Mar Milk: Debunking the Myths
This post was sponsored by American Dairy Association Northeast. All thoughts are my own.
I grew up when the milkman delivered glass bottles of milk. My mom served milk to me and four siblings every morning. As a mom and registered dietitian, I always have milk in my refrigerator and serve it to my three kids at breakfast every morning. When the milk conversation comes up with friends and clients, some admit they don’t drink the white stuff. Unfortunately, many of the myths they tout have been around for years and lead some folks to cut out a healthy food from their diet. I wanted to clear up some of the confusion about milk, and here are three common myths debunked.
Myth #1: Milk Doesn’t Provide Health Benefits
One cup of milk provides 9 essential nutrients including protein, phosphorus, calcium, and vitamins A, D, B12, riboflavin, niacin, and pantothenic acid. Vitamin D and calcium were pinpointed by the 2015-2020 dietary guidelines for Americans as under consumed nutrients, meaning most Americans don’t meet the recommended daily amount of them.
Studies have also shown that milk has numerous health benefits. Folks who consume three daily servings of milk and dairy every day have been shown to have a diet filled with important nutrients and a higher quality diet compared to folks who don’t meet the daily recommendation. Consuming milk and dairy has also been associated with bone health, and a reduced risk for chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension (or high blood pressure).
Myth #2: Non-dairy alternative are more nutritious than cow’s milk
Non-dairy alternatives include almond, rice, and coconut milk. These non-dairy alternatives do not come close to the nutrient composition found in cow’s milk. Most often, you’ll find the protein falls short in these non-dairy alternatives. For example, one cup of cow’s milk has 8 grams of protein while almond milk has only 1 gram. Further, the price of almond, rice, and coconut is about 1 ½ times more expensive per glass compared to cow’s milk. Plus, in my opinion it just tastes better!
Further, cow’s milk has a short ingredient list with only three ingredients, while non-dairy alternatives like almond milk have a long ingredient list.
Myth #3: Milk is full of sugar
The dietary guidelines recommend limiting added sugar to no more than 10% of total daily calories. However, many often confuse natural with added sugar. Natural sugar is found foods like fruit and milk which also contain a boatload of healthy nutrients that the body needs to stay healthy. Added sugar is sugar that is added to a food in order to enhance the flavor. Foods with a lot of added sugar tend to lack important nutrients. Common foods with added sugar include soda, candy, cookies, cakes, and the like. It’s these junk-type foods that should be minimized since they don’t provide much nutrition. Cow’s milk contains a natural sugar, called lactose, along with 9 essential nutrients which are important in a balanced, healthy diet.
If you’ve been cutting out cow’s milk I urge you to give it another try. From my family to yours, cheers to milk!