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Skimmed Milk or Whole Milk?

Updated: Feb 2, 2022

As an associate nutritionist I have always been in favour of whole milk and have never recommended skimmed milk because I believe it’s not a healthy option. It also has a watery consistency and tastes bland to say the least!

My heart sinks when I’m picking up my coffee on the go to find there is every type of “skinny” milk offered… but no whole-milk in sight! But more frustrating for me, is to find schools serving skimmed milk to growing children who actually require every available nutrient in its unadulterated form.

Needless to say, when I read the research confirming that whole milk is a healthier choice than skimmed milk, I jump with joy! After decades of guidelines recommending only low-fat dairy products for everyone over the age of two, researchers are finally highlighting the negative impact this is having on our health.

Skimmed Milk Is Not Necessarily The Healthy Option

It is believed that skimmed milk appears to stimulate insulin growth factor, which has a stimulatory effect on the Sebaceous glands causing acne. Also, by skimming off the fat from milk the anti-inflammatory fatty acids are removed.

Skimmed milk has an impact

on acne in teenagers

Skimmed milk is devoid of nutritional value. The vitamins A, D, E and K found in milk are fat soluble. This means that the body can only adsorb them with the presence of fat. Plus, the calcium content of milk requires Vitamin D to help adequately facilitate its absorption.

The crucial chain of absorption of vital nutrients

is disrupted by skimmed milk

Skimmed milk often contains skim milk powder. The processing of skim milk powder causes the cholesterol in the milk to oxidise which leads to plaque build-up in the arteries. Naturally occurring cholesterol in food is not an issue but oxidised cholesterol causes inflammation in the body which leads to the onset of several diseases.

There is more sugar in skimmed milk

than whole milk

The fat in Skimmed milk is removed, but sugar is added. It is well known that sugar makes you fat, therefore if you are consuming skimmed milk to manage weight loss then you are making a mistake! The saturated fat in whole milk has a blood sugar stabilising effect on the body by slowing the release of sugar into your blood stream. Not only does this keep you feeling fuller for longer but it reduces the risk of developing diabetes and hypoglycaemia.

Whole Milk Helps Manage Weight!

Recent studies have found that when people cut out the healthy fats from their diets, they compensate by loading up on carbohydrates, which the body converts into sugar, and then body fat! Studies are indicating that those who drink whole milk tend to weigh less.

There is no evidence to suggest that consuming

whole milk instead of skimmed will make you gain weight!

A study of nearly 20,000 women found that those who consumed more than one serving of whole milk per day were 15% less likely to gain weight over a period of nine years than women who drank no milk or low-fat milk

Another study of 1,782 men found that those who had a high intake of high-fat dairy products had a 48% lower risk of developing abdominal obesity compared to men who had a medium intake, and those with a low intake of high-fat dairy products had a 53% higher risk of developing abdominal obesity. This is particularly significant because abdominal obesity, where fat is stored around the waistline, increases your risk of dying from heart disease and cancer

Whole Milk Reduces the Risk of Chronic Diseases

Multiple studies show that drinking whole milk lowers the risk of developing metabolic syndrome which includes insulin resistance, abdominal obesity, low HDL levels and high triglyceride levels.

A 2016 study of nearly 10,000 adults found that consuming high-fat dairy products decreased markers of metabolic syndrome. The study also found that there were no beneficial effects from eating low-fat dairy over full-fat diary. The study concluded that the fatty acids found in whole milk and full fat dairy products were the most likely responsible for reducing the risk of chronic diseases.

A similar study found that people with the highest amount of fatty acids in their bloodstreams, from full fat dairy products, had a 44% lower rate of diabetes than those with the lowest amount. Both these findings highlight the health effects of the dietary and metabolic factors of these fatty acids found in full-fat dairy products such as whole milk.

T he recommendation to avoid whole milk

has never been supported by science!

Final Word

Skimmed milk is a processed food and not a health food. The very fact it has been altered causes imbalances in the body. Our bodies thrive on wholefoods and by eating foods full of high quality protein and fats such as whole milk will give our body a nutritional advantage. Drinking whole milk on a regular basis may help you manage your weight over time and lower your risk of chronic diseases. Therefore, do not be fooled by the clever marketing tactics for skimmed milk, choose full fat milk and organic if possible. Organic milk must come from a cow that has not been treated with antibiotics or hormones for either reproduction or growth and has been fed at least 30 percent of its diet on grass.


Drehmer, M., Pereira, M. A., Schmidt, M. I., Alvim, S., Lotufo, P. A., Luft, V. C., & Duncan, B. B. (2015). Total and Full-Fat, but Not Low-Fat, Dairy Product Intakes are Inversely Associated with Metabolic Syndrome in Adults, 2. The Journal of nutrition, 146(1), 81-89.

Holmberg, S., & Thelin, A. (2013). High dairy fat intake related to less central obesity: A male cohort study with 12 years’ follow-up. Scandinavian journal of primary health care, 31(2), 89-94.

Huang, P. L. (2009). A comprehensive definition for metabolic syndrome. Disease models & mechanisms, 2(5-6), 231-237.

Rosell, M., Håkansson, N. N., & Wolk, A. (2006). Association between dairy food consumption and weight change over 9 y in 19 352 perimenopausal women. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 84(6), 1481-1488.

Yakoob, M. Y., Shi, P., Willett, W. C., Rexrode, K. M., Campos, H., Orav, E. J., ... & Mozaffarian, D. (2016). Circulating biomarkers of dairy fat and risk of incident diabetes mellitus among US men and women in two large prospective cohorts. Circulation, CIRCULATIONAHA-115.

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