Milk has been getting some good press lately; recent months have highlighted studies about its protective health effects.
A Harvard School of Public Health study following nearly 4,000 people for twenty years found that a fatty acid present in milk was protective against developing Type 2 diabetes—the people with the highest levels were protected 62% more than people with the lowest levels. This finding is ground-breaking, and partly because it belies the “common wisdom” that has been dictating groceries store shelves hosting non- and low-fat dairy products: this protective fatty acid, trans-palmitoleic acid, is most prevalent in whole milk. Contrary to current dieting trends, drinking the whole-fat version does a body more good.
In more good news for milk, in June 2010, the Journal of Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism published a study finding that when comparing exercisers who drank milk, water or sports drinks, the milk drinkers were able to exercise longer in the next session.
These results bolster study findings from Loughborough University (UK) showing that milk is the superior workout drink because it contains a lot of electrolytes and is absorbed from the stomach more slowly than sports drinks, which keeps the body longer hydrated. Skim milk was shown to be more effective than milk with higher fat contents.
Long touted as beneficial for children, but thought too fattening for adults’ regular consumption, milk seems to be making a comeback.
To avoid the controversial practice of injecting artificial hormones into cows to make them produce more milk and its health implications, purchase milk absent of the hormones. A number of diary companies and retailer store brands have pledged to not use rBGH milk (Hormone-free Milk: Dairy Companies Pledging Not to Use Artificial Bovine Growth Hormone) Similarly, those concerned about pesticides or genetically modified organisms consumed by the cows, organic milk is an option.
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