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 has come under fire. In the last few months as we’ve seen the shelves emptied of full cream milk we’ve heard accusations being thrown at the previously favoured fat free and low fat milk. These range from “full of added sugars” to “highly processed”. Should you too be going full cream? Or is this another food fad that will pass?
Many people are under the impression that when fat is removed from dairy, sugars are added, and as a result it is 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, as detailed in the 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.
|Milk Type (250ml)||Energy (kJ)||Fat (g)||Carb (g)||Protein (g)||Calcium (mg)|
|Full cream milk||611||7.9||12.8||7.9||276|
|Fat free milk||359||0.4||12.5||8.4||301|
The other reason doing the rounds, that explains why full cream should be favoured is because it is supposedly 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. All milk undergoes processing in order to be labelled as either full cream, low fat or fat free. The fat is removed from all milk – this allows uniform amounts to be added back to ensure that the milk contains either 3.5 % fat (full cream) 2% fat (low fat) or 0.5% fat (fat free). All milk is also 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 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.