Most of our childhood went by with parents trying to urge us to drink milk for energy. In fact, we never used to know the type of milk provided to us. However, as we grew up, we realized the different types of milk and understood their nutrition profile. Although milk or dairy products are still considered to be an essential part of a diet, it is also one of the controversial food types for people with diabetes.
It is often said that milk is not healthy for diabetics. However, did you know not all types of milk are a no in diabetes? On World Milk Day, we give you an overview of the relationship between milk and diabetes.
Types of Milk
Before we get started, please understand that not all types are milk for diabetics. Therefore, it is essential to understand the different types and choose the one that best suits our body. Here are the different kinds of milk available:
Regular or full-fat milk
Full-fat milk, also known as whole milk or full-cream milk contains milk fat between 3.2% – 3.8%. It is pasteurized and homogenized and has a rich, creamy texture. Also known as full-cream or whole milk, it has a rich and creamy texture. It is closest to the most natural form of milk and contains all the nutrients, even after processing.
As the name suggests, low-fat milk has less fat. It has the same nutritional benefits with excess calcium content, except for the fat, which is less than 1.5% milk fat on an average.
Skim milk is when almost all the milk fat is removed from the whole milk. It has not more than 0.15% milk fat and needs milk solids to improve the taste. Skim milk is often recommended as milk for people with diabetes.
Lactose-reduced or lactose-free milk
Found in most of the milk, lactose constitutes 2-8% of milk. However, in some instances, people are intolerant to lactose and therefore opt for lactose-reduced or lactose-free milk. It removes some or all the lactose removed from the milk, thus being easier to digest for lactose intolerant people.
Buttermilk or cultured milk
Buttermilk is formed after souring the milk. It has a tangy flavor and is excellent for baking.
Flavored milk is made by adding different flavors to whole, low-fat, or skim milk. Although they have calcium content, they also are high in carbohydrate content due to the added sweeteners.
Powdered milk is formed by evaporating pasteurized milk. The powder contains close to 40% milk solids dried to prevent particles from clumping and to reduce the moisture content. This is even available for diabetics in the form of diabetic milk powder.
Condensed milk is made by removing all the water content from the whole milk. Mostly used in dessert dishes, it is thick and creamy in nature and can last for years if canned and unopened.
Composition of Milk
As per the National Dairy Council, milk contains nine essential nutrients that are beneficial to our body:
- Calcium: Helps in developing strong bone structure; maintains bone mass
- Protein: Repairs or builds muscle tissues; source of energy
- Vitamin D: essential for healthy bones
- Potassium: maintains the blood pressure
- Vitamin B12: develops healthy red blood cells and nerve tissue
- Vitamin A: necessary for a strong immune system, good eyesight, and skin
- Riboflavin(B2): helps to convert food into energy
- Niacin: metabolizes fatty acids and sugars
This is why milk is considered a nutrient punch to the body. In fact, a glass of milk can provide the same amount of Vitamin D as 100 gms of fish, the same amount of calcium as 2 1/4 broccoli, as much potassium as one banana, and as much Vitamin A as two baby carrots.
Benefits of Milk
The nutritional value of milk was well known to our parents. No wonder they used to urge us to consume it daily. Although it is clear that milk is a power-package of nutrients, here are a few benefits of milk for diabetics:
Supplier of calcium
Milk is one of the best sources of calcium for our body. Calcium is an essential element to have strong bones. It determines the bone matter and bone mineral density measurements of our body.
Improves heart health
Although calcium is mostly associated with bone health, it is also helpful to reduce cardiovascular diseases in the body. Moreover, the magnesium and potassium content available in milk act as vasodilators that are known to reduce blood pressure and chances of stroke.
Helps in developing healthy bones
As mentioned above, calcium is the most important part of a strong bone structure. And, milk is the least expensive, easily available, and quickest source of calcium.
Improves dental health
Did you know milk helps in protecting your teeth? Well, they do! It protects the enamel from acidic substances.
As the nutrition profile of milk states it as a wholesome food of nutrients filled ßin it. A glass of milk can provide you with so many nutrients in one go, which is difficult to achieve in other food types. Along with milk, you can go for healthy breakfast options from the likes of Masala Poha, Masala Oats and more.
The Best Milk for Diabetics
Several studies have shown a relationship between milk and diabetics. In fact, certain studies stated adding milk to the diet can reduce the risk of diabetes. However, the studies also stated the results could also factor lifestyle changes too. Moreover, the fat present in milk is saturated fat, which is proven to have helped in Type-2 diabetes.
One point to be noted is that selecting the type of milk is essential, especially in the case of diabetes. This mainly depends on your daily diet, daily carbohydrate intake, and the flavors you prefer. For instance, someone who has a low-carb diet can opt for whole milk. Similarly, skim milk would be the best option for people who wish to reduce their carbohydrate intake.
The best way to find the best-suited milk for diabetics is by checking the blood sugar levels using a handy glucometer.
Although we are not kids anymore, milk is still one of the healthy drinks for people with diabetes to enjoy. On this World Milk Day, let us pledge to replace all the sweetened beverages with milk.