Skimmed milk cholesterol: Best and Worst Milks to Drink for Your Cholesterol Levels
Best and Worst Milks to Drink for Your Cholesterol Levels
By Amy KraftMedically Reviewed by Michael Cutler, DO, PhD
The milk aisle is changing, now offering a growing number of options for what to pour on your cereal or drink down as a late-night snack. But what do the newer types of milk mean for your heart health if you have high cholesterol? Old-fashioned cow’s milk, for example, is loaded with calcium and vitamins A and D, which are all good for your heart and overall health. But too much of the saturated fat and cholesterol in whole milk — and even in 2 percent milk — may counteract those health benefits. When you’re trying to get to healthy cholesterol levels, you’ll want to limit the amount of saturated fat in your diet.
Alternative milks can provide similar nutritional benefits if you’re watching your cholesterol, are lactose intolerant, vegan, or allergic to certain proteins in cow’s milk; or if you simply prefer something other than cow’s milk. “People choose a milk based on tolerability and taste — in addition to health beliefs,” says Deborah Krivitsky, RD, a dietitian based in Boston. “Each milk will provide different pluses and minuses.”
Organic Cow’s Milk: Good for Protein, Bad for Cholesterol
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Whole cow’s milk contains around 160 calories, 5 grams (g) of saturated fat, and 35 milligrams (mg) of cholesterol in a 1 cup — or 8 ounce (oz) — serving. “It’s a tremendous source of protein and nutrients, contains essential vitamins and minerals, and provides a third of a person’s daily recommended intake of calcium,” Krivitsky says. Cow’s milk also contains potassium, which may help prevent high blood pressure (hypertension). What’s more, a study published in Food Science & Nutrition found that grass-fed dairy cows produce milk with the highest levels of omega-3 compared with other cows, which is important because omega-3s promote heart health.
But when it comes to your cholesterol levels, “high-fat dairy could get you into trouble,” says John Day, MD, a cardiologist in Salt Lake City. Saturated fat in your diet raises LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, which increases your risk of heart disease and stroke, according to the American Heart Association. If you drink cow’s milk, most doctors recommend low-fat or nonfat versions. A 1-cup serving of skim milk has around 83 calories, no saturated fat, and only 5 mg of cholesterol.
Raw Cow’s Milk: A Full Dairy Alternative, but at Great Risk
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Thinking about switching to raw cow’s milk, also known as unpasteurized milk? It has about the same amount of calories, saturated fat, and cholesterol as regular dairy milk. But pregnant women and children should avoid drinking raw milk and eating dairy products such as cheese made from raw milk, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Since raw milk doesn’t go through the process of pasteurization that kills potentially harmful bacteria — like salmonella, listeria, and E. coli — people with compromised immune systems are at higher risk of getting foodborne illness from it, though it has the potential to sicken anyone.
Soy Milk: No Cholesterol, but Could Be Missing Calcium
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With 80 calories and only 2 g of fat per 1-cup serving, plain, light soy milk is a great alternative for people who are watching their cholesterol or cannot tolerate the lactose found in dairy milk. Because the source of soy milk is a plant, it has no cholesterol and only negligible amounts of saturated fat. Soy milk also contains 7 g of protein per serving, which is great for a heart-healthy diet. Twenty-five g per day of soy protein, like that found in soy milk and tofu, may also reduce your risk of heart disease, according to the National Institutes of Health. This may be due not just to the protein, but to soy’s high levels of polyunsaturated fats, minerals, vitamins, and fiber, as well as to its low levels of saturated fat. Still, Krivitsky says, it’s important to read the label to know what you’re getting: “Make sure there’s no added sugar and that it’s fortified with calcium.”
Almond Milk: No Cholesterol, but Low in Protein
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“Almonds are heart-healthy,” says cardiologist Dr. Day, who recommends almond milk to his heart patients. Unsweetened almond milk contains between 30 and 40 calories per 1-cup serving and has no saturated fat. And because it’s a plant-based milk, it also contains no cholesterol. Fortified versions contain the same amount of vitamin D as skim cow’s milk, and some brands even contain up to 50 percent more calcium. Almond milk also contains polyunsaturated fatty acids, which may lower LDL cholesterol and help maintain your body’s cells, according to the American Heart Association. Unfortunately, almond milk is also low in protein compared with cow’s milk and other milk alternatives, making it a less ideal choice.
To maintain a healthy heart, Day says, be sure to drink unsweetened almond milk. “The biggest issue with alternative milks is that most of them are sweetened,” he says. “Added sugar in any form can be dangerous to your heart.”
Oat Milk: Gluten Free, but Carbohydrate Heavy
Oat milk is one of the newer options on the market. Made of combining oats with water and milling the mixture down into a fine consistency and strained, 1 cup of oat milk contains about 80 calories, and like other plant-based milks, no saturated fats or cholesterol. Additionally, oat milk has higher levels of vitamin B, which helps convert food into energy. While this does make for better cholesterol levels and heart health, oat milk does come with higher sugar carbohydrate levels than other milk alternatives, which can raise blood sugar levels and could put consumers at risk for diabetes.
Hemp Milk: No Cholesterol and Good for MagnesiumRenata Dobranska/Stocksy; Jean Cazals/GettyImages
Hemp milk comes from the seeds of the hemp plant (cannabis), but it doesn’t contain THC — the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, which is a different variety of cannabis. With a flavor and consistency similar to almond milk, hemp milk is a good choice if you’re watching your cholesterol levels, are lactose intolerant, or if you have milk or soy allergies. A 1-cup serving of hemp milk contains 80 calories, 1/2 g of saturated fat, and no cholesterol. Hemp milk is packed with omega-3 fatty acids, especially heart-healthy alpha-linolenic acid. It’s also a good source of calcium and magnesium, both of which are essential for heart health. Getting enough magnesium helps your heart keep a normal rhythm, and having too little can lead to arrhythmias — irregular heart rhythms — like atrial fibrillation.
Coconut Milk Beverage: Healthy but Untested
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This option adds natural sweetness to your coffee, oatmeal, or cereal, and has only 45 calories in an 8-oz glass — and no cholesterol. One cup of unsweetened coconut milk beverage contains 4 g of saturated fat, but most of it is made up of medium-chain fatty acids, which may have some health advantages. “Some populations eat a lot of coconut and don’t get heart disease,” Day says.
But there’s not enough research to conclude that coconuts and coconut milk are a heart-healthy choice when you have high cholesterol.
“The final verdict is still out,” says Lavinia Butuza, RD, a nutritionist in Sacramento, California. “Heart patients need to be careful with anything coconut, and treat all saturated fats as the same, for now.”
Rice Milk: No Cholesterol, Very Low in Protein
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Cup for cup, rice milk is a plant-based milk that contains as much calcium as cow’s milk. A 1-cup serving of rice milk has 113 calories (just 30 more than in a cup of skim cow’s milk). Rice milk has no saturated fat, and no cholesterol — but like oat milk, it’s naturally higher in carbohydrates. Rice milk is also very low in protein, so if you do drink rice milk, be sure that you’re getting enough protein from other sources in your diet. “Protein is related to a heart-healthy diet,” Butuza says. “If you don’t get enough protein, you may be taking in too many carbs, and too much of that can turn into higher bad cholesterol levels.”
Goat’s Milk: Less Potent Than Cow’s Milk
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Goat’s milk can be a good option if you want a beverage with a similar nutritional profile to whole cow’s milk but you have trouble digesting lactose. On the downside, a 1-cup serving of goat’s milk is high in calories (168) and saturated fat (6.5 g), and it also contains 27 mg of cholesterol.
According to Mayo Clinic, limiting saturated fats in your diet can help reduce your blood cholesterol levels and lower your risk of coronary artery disease. High levels of cholesterol in your blood can lead to the plaque buildup in your arteries, called atherosclerosis — a condition that increases your risk of stroke and heart attack.
Butuza notes that it’s difficult to find a low-fat version of goat’s milk, and that it has fewer essential vitamins and minerals than cow’s milk. “There’s a lot less folate and B12 vitamin in goat’s milk,” Butuza says. And if it’s raw, she says, “There’s a risk of foodborne illness — unless you have a goat in your backyard.”
Camel’s Milk: Hard to Find but Rich in Vitamins
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The latest craze to make its stamp on the milk market is camel’s milk. One 8-oz glass contains 107 calories, 3 g of saturated fat, and 17 g of cholesterol. And this milk option is packed with vitamins and minerals: According to research published May 2021 in the Saudi Journal of Biological Studies, camel’s milk has 3 to 5 times more vitamin C than cow’s milk and has anti-diabetic properties due to the high presence of insulin and insulin-like protein in the milk. It’s also a natural probiotic that can contribute to gut health.
This milk option is still hard to come by in the United States — and it’s expensive. “It’s certainly something to look out for, and it needs to be pasteurized,” says Krivitsky. As a note of caution: Camel’s milk may be one of the animal sources of the MERS coronavirus in the Middle East.
Additional reporting by Zachary Smith.
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In 82 subjects, aged 21-73, we studied the effect of skim milk supplementation on serum cholesterol concentration, blood pressure, and serum triglyceride level. The study involved a 1-week pretreatment baseline period followed by 8 weeks of milk supplementation. Sixty-four people were designated to a test group and 18 people were placed in a seasonal index group. The study was designed as a free-living trial, i.e., participants were requested to maintain their normal lifestyles, including dietary pattern, except for the supplementation of one quart of 2% solids-not-fat fortified skim milk to the daily diet in the test group. Supplemental milk treatment was associated with a 6.6% reduction (p = 0.0004) of serum cholesterol in the high cholesterol (greater than or equal to 190 mg/dl) test subgroup within the first 4 weeks. No change was noted in serum cholesterol in the low-cholesterol (less than 190 mg/dl) subgroup throughout the study. Body weight and seasonal variation of blood cholesterol did not significantly influence serum cholesterol levels. Reduction (p = 0.0140) in percentage of calories from fat in the high-cholesterol subgroup was not correlated with the decrease in serum cholesterol in this test subgroup. Reductions in systolic and diastolic blood pressure occurred in the test subgroups; the low-cholesterol subgroup had a greater reduction (p = 0.0002) in diastolic blood pressure than the high-cholesterol group (p = 0.0049). Milk supplementation was associated with reduction (p = 0.0370) in serum triglycerides in the high-cholesterol subgroup.
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Drink to the bottom: the link between milk and cholesterol is refuted | Articles
Regular consumption of milk cannot be associated with elevated cholesterol levels. This conclusion was made by researchers at the University of Reading and several other scientific institutions in the UK and Australia and New Zealand. The work was published in the International Journal of Obesity. Details – in the material “Izvestia”.
In three large populations, scientists observed that people who consumed milk on a regular basis had lower levels of both “good” and “bad” cholesterol, although their body mass index was on average higher than that of people who did not drink milk. It turned out that the risk of coronary heart disease in milk lovers is 14% less.
The new paper comes after several controversial studies that have tried to find a link between high consumption of milk and dairy products and cardiometabolic diseases like obesity and diabetes. To rule out the influence of different sample sizes or factors such as ethnicity, the team conducted a meta-analysis of the data 1. 9million people from the British Biobank.
In addition, a genetic approach was applied, taking into account in their calculations the gene responsible for the production of the lactase enzyme, which is needed for the breakdown of milk sugars (lactose).
The analysis found that although those with the gene were, on average, 11% less likely to develop type 2 diabetes, the study found no association between higher milk intake and increased risk of diabetes or associated symptoms such as elevated glucose levels of inflammatory biomarkers.
University of Reading Nutrigenetics professor Vimal Karani says the study clearly shows that there is no increased risk of cardiovascular disease from milk consumption, despite the fact that dairy drinkers on average have a higher body mass index and more body fat. However, the work, according to the scientist, could not determine the cause of this phenomenon. “It is not clear whether low cholesterol is a consequence of the fat content in dairy products or if some hitherto unexplored “milk factor” intervened,” the scientist noted.
The discussion about the potential harm or benefit of milk and dairy products has been going on among doctors and nutritionists for many years. American doctors in their dietary prescriptions for 2015-2020 urged adults to consume “milk” up to three times a day. However, the World Health Organization has strongly recommended reducing milk consumption in recent years due to the saturated fats found in dairy products that were thought to cause increased risks of heart disease. WHO considers that milk and its derivatives should not exceed 10% of daily calories received by a person.
Photo: TASS/Egor Aleev
At the same time, doctors noted that dairy products contain many useful compounds, including some amino acids and phospholipids. In addition, in 2018, The Lancet published a study according to which the consumption of three servings of dairy products a day reduces the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases by three times. The researchers emphasized that countries and segments of the population showed similar differences in mortality, regardless of income level.
Good for the heart
Another study from Harvard University found no link between milk and cardiovascular disease. The authors noted that much depends on what people eat instead of milk – plant foods or red meat. At the same time, experts advised a diet that relies less on saturated fats. Interestingly, skimmed milk was found to be more harmful to children than whole milk, with the latter having a 39% lower risk of obesity. The find remained exclusively empirical, scientists could not establish a causal relationship in this case either.
In 2019, Spanish scientists from the Universities of Granada and Madrid concluded that milk may reduce the risk of cancer. The Russian Ministry of Health, in turn, drew attention to the fact that there is no evidence-based data on this issue.
Photo: TASS/Vedomosti/Andrey Gordeev
Russia is among the 20 largest consumers of milk in the world. Per capita in the country in 2017 accounted for 165 kg of milk. The leader is Finland with 458 kg per person. Milk consumption is growing rapidly around the world. Growth of 1.7% per annum is expected between 2019 and 2028, with developing countries accounting for most of the growth (both through population growth and increased per capita consumption). In developed countries, growth will slow down to 0.3% per year. At the same time, according to the forecast of German researchers, the demand for milk in the world by the end of the next decade may significantly outstrip production, which will lead to a global increase in milk prices.
Articles on therapy from the medical center Eco-safety
In order to lower your blood cholesterol levels, the total amount and nature of dietary fats you eat must be changed. Saturated dietary fats (mainly of animal origin) tend to increase blood cholesterol, while polyunsaturated fats (of plant origin) help to lower it. Fish products also help lower blood cholesterol and can be recommended. When frying meat, vegetable oil (sunflower, corn, soybean, olive) should be used.
Meat . Eat lean beef, veal, lamb, avoid pork. Choose lean cuts of meat for cooking (loin, shoulder, thigh, loin, tenderloin). Trim off all fat before cooking. Eat less processed meats (sausages, bacon, salami, smoked meats). These foods are often prepared with saturated fats. Avoid offal (liver, kidneys, brains). They have a lot of cholesterol.
Bird . Try to eat more poultry, replacing them with beef, pork. When processing it, remove the skin and fat.
Dairy products . With hypercholesterolemia, the use of skim milk (1-2%) is recommended. Cheese, fatty cottage cheese, butter, which contain a lot of cholesterol, should be avoided.
Eggs . Egg yolks are high in cholesterol. Eat no more than 4 eggs per week. There is no cholesterol in egg whites, their use is not limited.
Bread and pasta. These foods are rich in carbohydrates and provide a good source of calories while limiting animal fats. Eat more wholemeal bread containing bran. Rich products, as a rule, are prepared on the basis of cholesterol-containing products (butter, milk, sour cream, eggs), so their consumption should be reduced. Cereals are very useful in dietary nutrition. When preparing cereals, try to replace whole milk with skim milk or cook with water.
Alcohol . Moderate alcohol consumption has a protective effect on the progression of atherosclerosis.
Coffee . It has been proven that regular consumption of brewed rather than instant coffee leads to an increase in cholesterol, since boiling causes the extraction of fats from coffee beans. There is evidence that the complete rejection of coffee leads to a 17% reduction in blood cholesterol.
Tea . According to recently published scientific data, drinking tea has a beneficial effect on the cardiovascular system.
Nuts . Nuts, mainly walnuts, have a moderate cholesterol-lowering effect. At the same time, their high calorie content can contribute to weight gain.
Fish , which contains useful Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, lowers cholesterol, lowers blood pressure, and reduces the tendency to thrombosis. Sardines, sprats, mackerel, salmon, herring – 2-3 servings of 200-400 g per week. Tuna, cod, haddock, flounder – no limit.
Turkey and chicken – they contain less cholesterol than duck and goose, which are high cholesterol foods. When cooking turkey and chicken, remove the skin and fat and cook the poultry without fat. If you remove the fat after cooking, the broth will contain more cholesterol, and when frying, cholesterol from the adjacent fat penetrates into the meat.
Veal, young lamb without visible fat
The older the animal from which the meat is prepared, the higher the fat content. The cooking method is the same as for turkey and chicken.
All of the above dishes should be mostly boiled, steamed or grilled without adding oil, if you really want fried, then a small amount of the above products can be fried in vegetable oil. It must be remembered that vegetable oil is a high-calorie product.
Herbal products. It is believed that a healthy person’s diet should contain 400 grams of vegetables and fruits (except potatoes) daily and all year round. At least a third must be fresh. Of the most powerful cholesterol-lowering vegetables available, cabbage, carrots, and beets can go. Don’t forget the turnip, which has an effect. Useful and eggplant, all gourds and squash crops: cucumbers, zucchini, pumpkin. It is recommended to use vegetable oil, especially olive or palm oil, because they contain high-density lipoproteins, that is, as people say, good cholesterol. Corn and soybean oils, and especially fish oils, are also good. As a side dish, peas, beans or any other legumes are an excellent product, especially since milk is not needed for their preparation. The addition of soy protein to minced meat products reduces cholesterol levels, namely triglycerides and low-density lipoproteins, without affecting the level of high-density lipoproteins.
It is now medically proven that a daily intake of 25 g of soy protein can reduce total cholesterol by 8-9 mg/dl, 50 g by 17.4 mg/dl, and 75 g by 26 mg/dl. If the initial level of cholesterol is normal, then with this diet, a decrease in blood cholesterol does not occur, that is, it only reduces initially high cholesterol. If you have not been able to normalize your cholesterol levels with a diet, before you start taking cholesterol-lowering drugs, try to go on a diet consisting of soy or other legumes, mushrooms, vegetables and fruits in vegetable oil. Completely exclude dairy and meat products from the diet for a period of 2 weeks. At this time, increase the amount of physical activity, walk more in the fresh air, go to the gym, swim well and especially gymnastics in the water.
What can be eaten with atherosclerosis:
Cereals, cereals, ordinary, not instant. In general, you should not use anything in bags, cubes, jars, cups, because these products contain a large amount of additives and preservatives to improve the taste, especially monosodium glutamate, which causes palpitations and sweating. Try to cook cereals with water, as milk, in turn, contains cholesterol, in extreme cases, on skim milk or buttermilk with the addition of water
Soups – vegetable, vegetarian. When preparing meat broths from the above meat products, the first broth should be poured out and a new portion of water should be poured
Nuts – walnuts, almonds
Dried fruits. Keep in mind that they are high in calories, but very useful
Vegetable fibers found in bran bread, wholemeal, black bread; vegetables and fruits. Vegetables and fruits with atherosclerosis can be consumed in unlimited quantities
Wine – 200 grams 2 times a day, it is recommended to drink or dilute with still mineral water
Limit but do not exclude
Eggs . As a rule, only 3 eggs per week are recommended in a hypocholesterol diet, including those eggs used in the preparation of other products. Eggs should not be completely excluded, because they also contain anti-cholesterol substances (lecithin, etc.). My personal opinion (Shamsutdinov A.R.) – you should not use eggs as an independent product, since many products include an egg as a supplement, this is quite enough for the body. In unlimited quantities, you can use egg white, since cholesterol is found only in the yolk. I also think that the opinion that quail eggs can be consumed is doubtful, since any yolk contains cholesterol in large quantities.
Butter . It is usually recommended within 2 teaspoons without top (two sandwiches with butter) referring to the fact that they contain anti-cholesterol substances. My opinion also contradicts these data and I believe that it is necessary to limit butter as completely as possible. The indicated dosage is allowed to be taken in the case when the cholesterol level is normalized, if the cholesterol level has increased butter completely exclude for a while
Dairy products must be low-fat or fat-free. The cholesterol contained in them is absorbed very quickly, almost immediately enters the bloodstream, so a large amount of high-fat dairy products should not be in your diet. Cottage cheese – 0% or 5%, milk – a maximum of 1.5%. In the same way, all fermented milk products: kefir is both 1% and fat-free. Eat any type of fermented milk products with a reduced amount of fat, but do not overdo it.
Mayonnaise . Dress salads with yogurt, kefir, low-fat sour cream
Cottage cheese pastes , curds; cheese, buns, premium bread; shrimp, squid, caviar, hard margarine, bacon, ice cream, puddings, cakes, biscuits, sweets
Sausage products , pâtés, etc.