Is there any benefit to drinking cow’s milk?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)

The case against whole milk, condemned by some critics as nothing less than a glass of liquid fat, is more complex than it seems. It’s true that kids who drink a lot of whole milk drink a lot of calories, but milk can actually help control weight, since calcium binds with fat in the food digesting in your gut, meaning that you absorb less of that fat. Some studies have seen no significant difference among skim, low-fat and whole milk when it comes to weight control.

What’s more, when you take all the fat out of milk, you’re left with too high a concentration of natural sugars, which interacts like candy with your hormones, especially insulin. The key, for all of these foods, is moderation. Consume more than 16 oz. (0.5 L) of whole milk (or any two servings of dairy) per day and the calorie load swamps the health benefits.

Cows in Field
Milk plays an important role in providing kids with nutrition needed for proper growth and development.  Milk contains nine essential nutrients that most children don't get enough of, including calcium, potassium, phosphorus, protein, vitamins A, D and B12, riboflavin, and niacin.  Drinking milk benefits your bones, brain and even your immune system.  Children who drink milk are healthier than kids who don't drink milk.  Milk also helps all ages maintain a healthy weight.  At one year of age, most kids (and parents) should make their way to nonfat milk.  Nonfat milk has the exact same calcium and nutrients as low fat (1%), reduced fat (2%) and even whole milk, but with each percent there is just extra fat that even thin children don’t need.   For older children who don’t like to drink milk, make drinking milk fun.  Use crazy straws, mix in flavors (flavored milk has same important nutrients as plain milk), teach nutrition and show your children that you drink milk too!

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.