“I avoid low fat milk because it’s higher in sugar” is something I hear regularly. But, as a dietitian, this is why I recommend low fat milk.
Firstly, let’s clear up the ‘higher sugar’ misconception.
The ‘sugars’ in milk are from naturally occurring lactose – or ‘milk sugar’.
When fat is removed during the production of low fat, light or skim milk there is simply more room in the product for other macronutrients. Sometimes, extra skim milk powder is added which further boosts the protein, lactose and calcium and makes it creamier.
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Don’t take this as a free pass to grab a Big M, though. This obviously does not apply to flavoured milk with loads of added sugar.
Also, low fat or light means fewer calories. For milk and yoghurt, you usually consume approximately 30-40 per cent less calories, compared with a full cream version of the same product.
If your morning latte is your only coffee for the day, then this probably won’t make a huge impact on your overall intake. But if you’re reaching for a caffeine fix on your walk to the office, at morning tea and to get you through the 3pm slump, these extra calories can add up quickly.
And, my favourite reason to go low? Lower total fat means less saturated fat – which is better for our heart! Of course, if you have an allergy or an intolerance, you doctor will be able to recommend which milk is right for you.
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Otherwise… skim latte, anyone?
**Low fat items are not recommended for children under 2 years old or people at risk of under nutrition. If you are worried about your diet, book an appointment with your GP who will be able to advise a correct treatment plan.
Paula Norris is an accredited practicing dietitian and creator of the @MovingDietitian Instagram account. Norris is passionate about dispelling nutritional myths and expose the ugly facts about products many companies don’t want you to know. For more, follow her here.