Think twice before reaching for low fat milk, say Harvard researchers


Is milk your preferred breakfast beverage? Well, you might want to ensure that it’s not low fat. According to research conducted at Harvard University, low fat milk contains around the same amount of unhealthy sugars as caffeinated drinks.

The US Department of Agriculture and the American Academy of Pediatrics laid down guidelines recommending three glasses of reduced fat milk everyday. According to David Ludwig, professor of pediatrics at Harvard, the guidelines haven’t taken into consideration the high sugar content of low fat milk. “This recommendation to drink three cups a day of milk is perhaps the most prevailing advice given to the American public about diet in the last half century. As a result, Americans are consuming billions of gallons of milk a year, presumably under the assumption that their bones would crumble without them,” he said.

His paper, circulated in JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) Pediatrics, says that one cup of natural, whole milk contains more calories and fats than its low fat counterpart. However, the latter has more refined starch and sugar. As a consequence, a person who drinks a glass of low fat milk tends to feel less satiated and is prone to overeating. Ludwig suggests this could have played a role in the US obesity epidemic.

What’s worse than low fat milk? Chocolate flavoured low fat milk, says Ludwig. “The worst possible situation is reduced-fat chocolate milk: you take out the fat, it’s less tasty. So to get kids to drink 3 cups a day, you get this sugar-sweetened beverage. We can get plenty of calcium from a whole range of foods. On a gram for gram basis, cooked kale has more calcium than milk. Sardines, nuts, seeds, beans, green leafy vegetables are all sources of calcium.”

The original article can be accessed here.


  1. The best thing we can do is find a healthy diet you know you can stick to combined with a good exercise regime.

    I’m on the paleo diet myself and love it. I have lost a lot of weight and I feel much better with much more energy and positivity.

    The beauty about the paleo diet is that whilst there is a focus on good foods, there are so many resources to help you make these into delicious recipes. I have written about one of my favourite cookbooks here: