Can milk help you lose weight?
May 26, 2023
May 26, 2023
Milk is one of the most common and significant foods we consume on a daily basis. Be it in its raw form or its by-products like curd, cheese or butter, we Indians are very articulate when it comes to incorporating milk into our diets. Since the white revolution in 1970, India is the largest producer and consumer of milk globally. It alone produces 22% of the global milk production.
While opinion remains divided on whether milk is good or bad for your system, studies have shown that boosting key milk nutrients like calcium and vitamin D can help weight loss. Research also states that milk contains protein that, along with its high water content, can keep you full and satiated for longer and thereby decrease your calorie consumption. Furthermore, milk contains many minerals namely, zinc, magnesium, calcium and vitamin B12, and D. As a result, your bones become stronger, and immunity improves. Also, your metabolism speeds up if you consume milk daily, as stated by this research.
However, be mindful of the variety of milk you choose to include in your weight loss diet. Make sure to have only toned or skimmed milk. Skimmed milk is packed with nutrients including calcium, phosphorus, vitamins B12, A and D and the antioxidant selenium.
Until the last decade, milk for most of us Indians primarily denoted the one extracted from livestock, be it cow, buffalo or goat. However, the idea of plant-based milk was not alien to us either. For instance, the five south-Indian states have been known to consume coconut milk profoundly in their dishes and relish the taste of it.
Skip to 2023, the popularity of plant-based milk is at an all-time high. An increasing number of Indians are turning vegan or switching to keto diets being conscious of what they consume and how it affects their health.
We’ve listed some of the common milk varieties for you to understand their effect on weight management and make an informed decision.
As per research, buffalo milk has an anti-obesity effect on body fat leading to decreased body fat and subsequent weight loss. Compared to cow’s milk, buffalo milk has higher protein, fat, and lactose and thus provides more satiety.
Buffalo milk is easier to digest as it has smaller fat globules than cow milk, which makes it easier for the body to break down and absorb.
Grind dry soybeans with water to obtain creamy soy milk. Enriched with the fibre of soy, this milk is a great supplement for weight loss as it controls your appetite. Soy milk is also high in unsaturated fat that curbs the accumulation of fat in the body.
Be careful to not have too much Soy milk as soya possesses a very high level of phytate that limits the absorption of critically essential minerals like zinc, magnesium, and iron by the body. However, if you have a thyroid condition, it’s best to avoid soy milk.
Mature coconut flesh is grated to extract coconut milk. It is a high-calorie food and thus benefits in reducing fatigue, building muscles and enhancing endurance. Coconut milk contains fewer calories than cow milk. So, it is suitable for keto diets supporting weight loss. But remember coconut milk in large quantities can be harmful. Excess coconut milk means an excess of saturated fats that leads to weight gain. Coconut milk is best in smoothies and cooked foods rather than as a milk alternative that you can put in to a glass and drink as it is.
Blending oat groats with filtered water makes oat milk giving it a mildly sweet flavour and a creamy texture. It is potentially the best alternative to dairy milk for its lactose-free and gluten-free and is also safe for people allergic to nuts and soy. It’s rich in calcium and vitamin D, both of which benefit your bone health. The high dietary fibre content of oat milk improves digestion and nutrient absorption.
On the flip side, Oat milk is high in calories, fat and carbs. In addition to nutrients, oat milk also contains thickeners and emulsifiers that can affect digestive health and may disrupt the gut microbiome.
Almond milk contains fewer calories than dairy milk. It has almost 50% fewer calories than cow’s milk. In addition, it contains fair amounts of protein and low fat. That makes it ideal for weight management.
The most popularly drunk milk for decades was cow’s milk. Based on geographic regions, other fairly popular milks were buffalo and goat milk. But as of today plant-based milks such as soy, oat, almond and pea milk have gained high popularity mostly due to a large number of people attempting to go vegan as well as a large percentage of the population developing lactose intolerance. Milk being a healthy beverage to consume, has been and should definitely remain in your diet no matter which kind you choose.
While milk may not be a magical weight loss elixir, there are several reasons why it can be a helpful addition to a weight loss diet. Milk is a good source of protein, which can help you feel full and satisfied, and prevent overeating. The calcium in milk may help your body burn fat more efficiently, which can contribute to weight loss.
Milk can be a good post-workout recovery drink, helping your muscles recover after exercise and is even better in combination with eggs or protein powders. Finally, staying hydrated can help you feel full and prevent overeating, and milk can be a good source of hydration.
Disclaimer: The purpose of this article is just to disperse knowledge and raise awareness. It does not intend to replace medical advice from professionals. For further information please contact our certified nutritionists Here
Low-fat or non-fat milk are the best milk option for weight loss. They contain fewer calories and saturated fat than whole milk, while still providing the same amount of protein and calcium. Be mindful to choose unsweetened or plain varieties of milk in order to avoid added sugars and thus keep a check on calorie consumption.
The amount of milk you should drink for weight loss depends on your calorie and nutrient needs. It is also affected by your age, sex and activity levels. It is best to consult a professional nutritionist to help you understand your dietary requirements.
Milk is a good source of protein, which can keep you feeling full and satisfied, and it also contains tryptophan, which can promote relaxation and sleep. However, it’s important to keep in mind that consuming too many calories before bed can contribute to weight gain, so it’s best to stick to a moderate amount of milk before bedtime or have it atleast half an hour before bed.
The temperature of milk is unlikely to affect its weight loss properties. However, cold milk takes longer to digest and thus you may feel fuller for longer on consuming cold milk. This makes it a good bedtime snack.
Flavoured milk contains added sugars and other additives that increase the calorie count of milk. Thus, it is best to have plain unsweetened milk for weight loss. If you wish to enhance the flavour of milk, you can consider adding stevia or a drizzle of honey. If you don’t like plain milk, you can consider making it into a sugarless fruit smoothie so that it’s still healthy but flavourful.
Drinking milk is not necessarily better than eating other dairy products for weight loss, as the calorie and nutrient content varies for different milk varieties. What’s important is to pick low or non-fat varieties of dairy products and consume them in moderation as part of a balanced diet. Other dairy products, such as yogurt or cheese, can also provide important nutrients while being lower in calories than whole milk.
By: Sumita Thomas, Masters in Dietetics and Clinical Nutrition Services