For years milk has been consumed with reckless abandon – the lower in fat, the better. Until recently when low fat milk and its fat free counterpart have come under fire. In the last few months shelves have been emptied of full cream milk. Accusations have been thrown at the previously favoured fat free and low fat milk. These include: “the milk is full of added sugars” or “too highly processed”. Should you too be going full cream? Or is this another food fad that will pass?
Its crazy the amount of times you hear clients say that when fat is removed from dairy, sugars are added, hence it’s always best to just go for the full fat version. This is a myth that can be dispelled by simply comparing the carbohydrate value (the more sugar present, the higher the carb value will be) of fat free versus full cream milk. See table below. Full cream milk has 12.8 g carbohydrate, whilst fat free has 12.5 g carbohydrate – a decimal difference in favour of fat free.
Table comparing nutrient composition of full cream and fat free milk:
Milk Type (250ml)
Full cream milk
Fat free milk
The other reason why people say you should favour full fat over a lower fat option is because it is “less processed” – removing the fat from the milk is just not natural – ever seen a fat free cow? Unfortunately, unless you are getting your milk straight from the udders, processing is something that is hard to avoid. The fat is removed from all milk – this allows uniform amounts to be added back to make the milk either fat free, low fat or full cream. The milk is then all homogenised so that the fat that has been added back, is evenly distributed.
Opting from full cream over lowered fat is a personal choice – all that really changes amongst the 3 varieties of milk, is the fat content, and therefore overall kilojoule value. So if you are looking for a place to cut kilojoules, choosing a lower fat option will help you. But if you love the full cream taste, then try to control the amount you drink or eat per day. If you’ve always been happy using the low fat options then keep buying them, they certainly aren’t full of sugar or more processed than the other varieties.