If You’re a Milk Drinker, You Need to Read This!

 

By Joy Stephenson-Laws, JD, Founder

If you’re a milk drinker, let’s just say that you have options when it comes to your choice in milk no matter what your preferences or dietary restrictions may be.

For example, there is:

If you are in favor of cow’s milk, you may have a preference for either whole milk, two percent, one percent or skim milk. And depending on the type of cow’s milk you choose, you will be getting more or less fat.

“Whole milk has close to 50 percent of its calories as fat, and 1 percent milk has about 20 percent,” said one doctor, in this Stanford Medicine report.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), only one percent and skim milk are “truly low-fat” milks.

(No matter what the fat content, all the milks have the same amount of protein, calcium and other minerals and vitamins. They are also all fortified with vitamin D).

So when it comes to deciding how fatty the milk you drink should be, it can be a bit confusing. We recently blogged about evidence which showed that high-fat dairy (in moderation) is okay for people to consume if they are healthy. However, if someone has heart disease or is overweight (for example), then low-fat dairy is probably a better option. 

(This isn’t to say that fat is the enemy. Fat is a necessary nutrient to include in our diets. Fat is one of the six groups of nutrients we need to stay healthy. The other nutrient groups are water, carbohydrates, protein, vitamins and minerals. There are also good fats and bad fats, which you can read all about here).

With all that said, a recent study on milk produced results that, no matter what our health status, may make us rethink our milk type choice. The study argues that drinking skim or one percent milk (the two kinds that the USDA says can only really be classified as low-fat) is “significantly associated with less aging in adults,” according to one report discussing the study.

I don’t know about you, but I’m all about aging healthily! Aging is not a bad thing, but we want to delay the effects of aging for as long as possible by following as healthy a diet as possible.

The study, which examined more than 5,000 U.S. adults, found that those who consume low-fat milk “experience several years less biological aging than those who drink high-fat (2% and whole) milk.”

(Almost half of the people in the study consumed milk daily and another quarter consumed milk at least weekly).

What do they mean by “biological aging?”

Well, the researchers looked at telomere length.

“Telomeres are the protective caps on the ends of the strands of DNA called chromosomes, which house our genomes. In young humans, telomeres are about 8,000-10,000 nucleotides long,” reports Stanford Medicine.

And the study report says, “They act like a biological clock and they're extremely correlated with age; each time a cell replicates, humans lose a tiny bit of the endcaps. Therefore, the older people get, the shorter their telomeres.”

Shorter telomeres have been linked to cardiovascular disease, dementia and even cancer. 

So the researchers found evidence which suggested that the more high-fat milk people drank, the shorter their telomeres were. 

“The study revealed that for every 1% increase in milk fat consumed (drinking 2% vs. 1% milk), telomeres were 69 base pairs shorter in the adults studied, which translated into more than four years in additional biological aging.”

If you normally drink two percent, you are now probably considering going for the one percent or skim. The results also showed the whole milk drinkers had telomeres that were 145 base pairs shorter than non-fat milk drinkers.

It is important to also note that the results showed that people who did not drink any milk at all had shorter telomeres than those who consumed low-fat milk. More research is needed, and this doesn’t mean that you should force yourself to drink cow’s milk if you prefer plant-based milks or to not drink milk at all.

I think there are two main takeaways. One is that low-fat cow’s milk may be a better option than two percent or whole. And the second takeaway is that good nutrition is key when it comes to delaying aging. 

“Various nutrients influence telomere length potentially through mechanisms that reflect their role in cellular functions including inflammation, oxidative stress, DNA integrity, DNA methylation and activity of telomerase, the enzyme that adds the telomeric repeats to the ends of the newly synthesized DNA,” according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Our milk choice is important, but I think what is most important is making the daily decision to be proactive about our health by eating plenty of nutrient-rich foods such as fruits and vegetables.

It is also important to schedule routine nutrient tests in order to identify any nutrient imbalances or deficiencies you may have. Being nutritionally balanced is important in delaying aging. And as we age, our bodies become less efficient at absorbing nutrients from the foods we eat. If the test reveals you have too much or too little of a certain nutrient, a competent healthcare professional can work with you on making the necessary dietary changes and recommend quality supplements if necessary.

Taking advantage of IV vitamin drips or injections is also a great way to ensure that you are nutritionally balanced as you age since it may be difficult for your body to absorb all its nutrients from the foods you eat.

Enjoy your healthy life!

 

The pH professional health care team includes recognized experts from a variety of health care and related disciplines, including physicians, attorneys, nutritionists, nurses and certified fitness instructors. This team also includes the members of the pH Medical Advisory Board, which constantly monitors all pH programs, products and services. To learn more about the pH Medical Advisory Board, click here.

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