Skim Milk Doesn't Prevent Childhood Obesity, Isn't Great for Weight-Loss and Is Basically Water

Illustration for article titled Skim Milk Doesnt Prevent Childhood Obesity, Isnt Great for Weight-Loss and Is Basically Water

Good news for everybody out there who hates the white water: skim and low-fat milks aren't as awesome for weight-loss as we were once told, according to new research.

The study, published in the Archives of Disease in Childhood, found that "within every ethnicity and every socioeconomic strata…children who drank skim milk and 1% were heavier than those who drank 2% and whole." The findings are surprising, since both the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Heart Association recommend skim and low-fat milks for children 2 and up as a low-calorie option.

Leading the research team, Dr. Mark Daniel DeBoer, an associate professor of pediatric endocrinology at the University of Virginia School of Medicine, used the database of 10,700 children in the Early Childhood Longitudinal Survey, Birth Cohort to study the relationship between the type of milk the kids drank and their body mass index. His findings:

14% of the heavier 2-year-olds drank 1% milk compared to 9% of normal-weight youngsters, and 16% of the overweight or obese 4-year-olds drank the 2% milk compared to 13% of the normal-weight 4-year-olds. Overall, children who drank the 2% milk showed lower BMI scores than those drinking the 1% milk.
Even more puzzling…children who were normal weight at the start of the study and consistently drank the 1% milk showed a 57% increased chance of becoming overweight or obese by the they were 4.

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One theory for the weight difference is that whole milk may help kids feel more feel, and so they eat less than those who drink the lower-fat milks.

Drinking skim milk may not lower child obesity risk [CNN]

Image via Zern Liew/Shutterstock

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DISCUSSION

As a lifelong dairy-free individual, I find these debates fascinating. Is the taste dissimilar? Is the consistency really that different? And are the calorie counts so disparate as to make it worthwhile to buy something lower in percentage if in fact it does have a different taste and texture? I used to have a roommate, and I fucked up the milk thing almost every time I took a turn going to the grocery store. It's very confusing if you're not accustomed to the various milk options. Why drink milk at all if we're not sure what the effect is on weight and health? Habit? Or is it super challenging to get kids to eat natural sources of calcium like leafy veggies and bony fish? I could definitely see the latter being true. Anyway, sorry for the obnoxious wall of questions. I can't help my curiosity about milk.