All Facts checked by Rebecca Alcosser – Nutritionist/Dietitian, RD
Milk for weight loss? Are you serious? Yeah, I am serious, let’s learn.
Milk is one of those foods that seems to be getting less and less popular as the years pass by. Back in the day, full-fat milk was all the rage. Doctors recommended 3 serves a day and whole milk was synonymous with a wholesome diet. These days people are becoming more and more aware of the nutritional content of the food they consume – and the calories.
If you are looking to lose some weight – but are fond of a splash of milk in your morning muesli you’ve come to the right place. Read on to find out everything you need to know about what milk is the best choice to help you in your weight loss journey!
Why do People Think Milk is Not Good for Weight Loss?
If you think of a glass of milk, what image comes to mind? Most people still associate milk with a creamy glass of cow milk – high in calcium, and protein – but also in fat content and calories.
Just one cup (244g) serve full-fat dairy milk comes with a whopping:
- 12 g sugar
- 7.9g fat
- 4.6g saturated fat
- 149 calories
- 24mg cholesterol
That’s nearly 10% of your daily recommended calories! From a glass of milk alone! Add it into a bowl of cereal or even a healthy smoothie and it’s pretty clear to see those calories climbing up. So does that mean you need to throw in the towel, hang up the kettle and resist your daily latte?
Absolutely not! The world of milk comes in many different shades of white. From low-fat dairy choices to alternatives like soy, almond, and coconut milk – the following guide of healthy kinds of milk for weight loss will have you staying as slim as skim!
Which Milk is Best to Lose Weight?
Before we plunge in, let’s break our milk down into two main categories – Dairy Milk and Non-Dairy Milk.
When people think of dairy what usually comes to mind is good old traditional cow’s milk. There’s a wide range out there – from sheep to goats, animal milk is the tried and true option. But that doesn’t mean they are the healthiest – or the best for your diet. Lactose intolerance affects many with milk being one of the main culprits.
Dairy milk is also generally high in saturated fats and cholesterol- absolute no-nos when it comes to any diet. Don’t despair though – healthier options do exist. Chances are you’ve passed by a bottle of low-fat milk in the supermarket aisle. But what does that mean? And is it better milk for weight loss? Let’s check it out.
Skim milk – also known as low-fat or skimmed milk started its life as the traditional whole milk we’ve already discussed. It’s then spun in a special machine that acts as a centrifuge to essentially separate the fatty part of milk from the rest – which is what becomes what we know as skim milk.
This process also pretty radically changes the nutritional profile of the milk. Compared to whole milk, from a 245g cup of skimmed, you’ll get:
- 12g Sugar
- 0.2g Fat
- 0.1g Saturated Fat
- 4.9mg Cholesterol
- 83 Calories
That’s almost half the calories! It’s also interesting to note you’re getting more protein in a tall glass of skim! A serving of low-fat milk contains 8.3g of protein, whereas whole only has 7.7g to claim its name. It’s also comparatively easy to find and almost all cafes and restaurants will have a skinny or slim option so you don’t have to miss out on your morning cappuccino or five o’clock flat white.
Skim Milk Advantages
- Low in calories
- High In Protein
- Easy to find
Skim Milk Disadvantages
- Unsuitable for those with lactose intolerance
Move over cows milk, it’s veggies’ turn! The popularity of non-dairy milk has skyrocketed in the past few years and it is pretty clear to see why. Lower in saturated fat, calories, and cholesterol – non-dairy milk has some pretty clear advantages when it comes to selecting your milk for weight loss. Let’s have a deeper look at the pros and cons of some of the most popular non-dairy milk options out there – soy milk, coconut milk, and almond milk.
Soy Milk is the staple of vegans and omnivores alike – and with good reason. Silky and slightly sweet, soy has a distinctive slightly bean-like taste and a rich hue. Soy milk is made from the soya bean and you can usually find a pretty big range in most grocery stores. But can soy milk help with weight loss? Let’s check out the data. Soy Milk contains:
- 6g Sugar
- 4g Fat
- 0.5g Saturated Fat
- 0mg Cholesterol
- 100 Calories
So while Soy Milk makes a great choice if you are looking to cut down on cholesterol, it’s got more calories per serving than traditional skim milk! Also, some people may just not find the distinctive taste of soy milk in their cup of tea.
However, it is a healthier and lower-fat option, and switching your whole milk with soy will help you beat the bulge. It’s also the most popular vegan-friendly option and most cafes will have a soy option on standby.
But is all dairy-free milk created equally? Let’s check out what coconut milk can bring to the table!
Soy Milk Advantages
- Low in cholesterol
- Easy to find
Soy Milk Disadvantages
- Strong soy taste
Golden, delicious, and full of healthy benefits – this turmeric milk is a low-cal weight loss winner Tumeric has long been known for its health benefits, and turmeric milk will help boost your metabolism to help you get rid of that stubborn belly fat!
Make a warm glass a part of your mid-morning routine for the best benefits. All you’ll need is your choice of milk, and some spices you’ve probably already got on hand – let’s check it out!
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1 cup of your choice of milk
- A pinch of black pepper
Gently heat the milk in a small saucepan, just until bubbles begin to form. Add in the turmeric and black pepper and let it infuse, stirring slowly for about a minute. Pour into your favorite heat-proof glass and enjoy!
The world (or grocery aisle) of milk may seem overwhelming at times! With different nutritional profiles and figures, it can be hard to know which milk is right for you. Just remember, if you are looking for a weight loss option, skip the whole milk and choose a skim or sugar-free non-dairy milk.
Because of its satiety benefits, milk can even help you lose weight! You can cheer that with an ice-cold glass! Milkshakes for everyone!
Coconut Milk has grown in popularity over the last few years – and it’s not hard to see why. Coconut milk is rich, creamy, and indulgent, not words you’d typically associate with diet foods! But will it help me lose weight? Well… let’s consider the facts. 226g Coconut milk contains a whopping:
- 48g Fat
- 43g Saturated Fat
- 0mg Cholesterol
- 445 Calories
Those numbers might have you running for the hills but hold up just a second! Because it’s oh so rich and delectably creamy, a tablespoon served (more than enough for a cup of coffee) only contains about 45 calories… much more manageable.
Over the last few years, there’s been a lot of research on the fat-fighting benefits of coconut milk. Studies looking into the specific type of fatty chains called medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) found in coconut milk show promising data as a weight-loss tool. It might sound counter-intuitive but these MCTs stimulate energy production in the body – leading to weight loss!
They can also help keep you feeling fuller for longer, promoting healthy eating choices – what’s not to love?
So, while we don’t recommend using a whole glass for a “healthy” smoothie – a dash of coconut milk in the morning really can help you lose weight!
Coconut Milk Advantages
- The rich, creamy taste
- High in MCTs
Coconut Milk Disadvantages
- High-calorie content
- Can’t be used as a substitute in all recipes
- High in Saturated fat
Almond milks the new kid on the block, and we’re here for it! Light and creamy, almond milk has a delicate taste and is great for those with intolerances to soy or dairy! Almond milk in its most pure form is made from a blended mix of raw almonds and water which is then strained.
The resulting liquid is a low-cal weight loss wonder. Store-bought brands come with different ratios of almond to water, but on average, a glass of unsweetened almond milk will contain:
- 0.2g Sugar
- 2.6g Fat
- 0.2g Saturated Fat
- 0mg Cholesterol
- 30 Calories
With only 30 calories, almond milk makes a great substitute in most recipes. From smoothies to baking and everything in between, substituting whole milk for almonds is a great way to cut out unnecessary calories. It’s also really easy to make your own at home.
Almond Milk Advantages
- Very low in calories
- Works well in most recipes
- Easy to make at home
Almond Milk Disadvantages
- It does not substitute well as a coffee creamer
There is more plant milk we can include in this list. These are also can use as regular milk. These are rice milk, hemp milk, oat milk, nut milk, cashew milk, and raw milk.
Can Milk Lead to Weight Gain?
You may have heard the old myth that milk is super fattening and should be avoided at all costs if you are looking to lose weight – but that’s simply not true.
While cream and dairy have gotten a bad rap over the last few years if you are like us and fancy a dash of milk if your morning cuppa, it can even help you lose weight!
That’s right! Read on to find out how drinking milk can even help you keep the pounds at bay!
Milk consumption is really good when you plan to gain weight. But you can take low-fat milk like a2 milk is best for weight loss. Low-fat milk contains fewer calories which can lead your weight loss. But do not take a large number of dairy products. Most dairy food contains added sugar so it can lead to more weight gain.
Milk contains different types of vitamins like vitamin a, vitamin d, protein, and other nutrients. Milk supplies best clinical nutrition
When to Drink Milk for Weight Loss?
Of course, the cornerstone of every diet is moderation. An apple will keep the doctor away but 20 a day will load on the pounds – and milk is no exception to this rule.
If you enjoy healthy milk in moderation, milk forms a great part of a healthy diet and is loaded with various micro and macronutrients like calcium, protein, iron, and other essential vitamins.
Depending on which milk alternative you go for, a dash of milk in your tea or a drop in your morning coffee can even help you in your weight loss journey. While we don’t recommend drinking jars of the stuff, a glass of healthy milk can have a pretty big impact on the rest of the calories you consume in a day. How’s that?
Milk has a pretty high satiety value. For you and me, that simply means milk can help you feel full – especially when drunk diluted as a part of a hot drink, like coffee, chai, or turmeric tea. Try a glass next time you’re feeling peckish.
By helping keep your tummy full, flow-on effects mean you are less likely to snack between meals and will be satisfied with smaller portions. What’s not to love about making healthier choices? If you are looking for inspiration check out this recipe for turmeric milk for weight loss! Loaded full of super healthy vitamins, turmeric milk is a sure winner to beat the cravings and keep you feeling satisfied!
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Rosily Ryan is an experienced health and fitness writer, editor, and health activist in Sydney, Australia. She’s written for several publications like Pure Green Magazine.