Some of you may be thinking “that glass of milk is still okay, right?” In theory beverage milk would not seem to be a major contributor to obesity. It is much lower in fat than many other food options, and is filled with calcium, a recently suspected weight loss helper. Oddly enough, several large studies have actually pinpointed beverage milk as a factor in the rising rates of obesity.
Dairy Consumption: The Effects on Diabetes, Obesity, and Heart Disease in Women
The British Women’s Heart and Health Study examined 4,286 British women ranging in age from 60 to 79 for links to the Metabolic Syndrome. The Metabolic Syndrome was defined as those women who had Type 2 Diabetes or Pre-Diabetes (insulin resistance or high fasting glucose) and, in addition, at least two of the following: Obesity, Hypertension, and Lipid Disorders (i.e. high triglycerides or low HDL). The results were promising. Those women who avoided milk were about half as likely to have the Metabolic Syndrome when compared to milk drinkers. The non-milk drinkers benefited from lower insulin resistance levels, lower triglyceride levels, lower BMI’s (an indicator for obesity) and higher levels of that healthy HDL cholesterol.
Children & Milk Consumption: Are They Growing Up or Out?
A large study led by Catherine S. Berkey of Harvard Medical School and Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston, followed the diets and weight of 12,829 United States children. The children were diversified across all 50 states, and ranged in age from 9 to 14 years when the study began in 1996. Data was collected from the children through 1999, and the results were a bit of a surprise. Those children consuming more than 3 servings of beverage milk per day were approximately 35% more likely to become overweight than those children who drank just 1 or 2 glasses of milk per day, even though most of the children were drinking low-fat milk. This association still held after the researchers took into consideration physical activity, other dietary factors, and growth. This study has emerged at a time when obesity among children is at an all time high, the rate has more than tripled since 1980.
- “Avoiding milk is associated with a reduced risk of insulin resistance and the metabolic syndrome: findings from the British Women’s Heart and Health Study.” By Lawlor DA, Ebrahim S, Timpson N, Davey Smith G.; Diabetic Medicine, 2005;22:808-11.
- “Milk, Dairy Fat, Dietary Calcium, and Weight Gain.” By Catherine S. Berkey, ScD; Helaine R. H. Rockett, MS, RD; Walter C. Willett, MD, DrPH; Graham A. Colditz, MD, DrPH; Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, 2005;159:543-550.