What Are the Nutrients of Whole Milk?

These days, many people have begun to shy away from full-fat and whole milks because they want to cut back on caloric intake and fat. However, recent research has actually shown that whole milk may be better for you than skim and other low-fat milk options. So, how can you know which milk choice is right for your needs? By becoming informed about the nutrients in whole milk and the role they play in our health, you can come to a better-educated decision the next time you need to buy a gallon of milk.

Nutrients Found in Whole Milk

There are nine essential vitamins and nutrients found in whole milk. These include:

  • vitamins A, B, and D
  • calcium
  • potassium
  • protein
  • riboflavin
  • phosphorous
  • potassium
  • niacin

And in fact, many of these same vitamins and nutrients are found in other types of milk, such as skim milk and 2% reduced fat milk, at similar levels. So, what makes whole milk the better choice? It’s actually the fat content in whole milk that allows the body to actually absorb vitamins A and D. That’s because these vitamins are fat-soluble. If you’re drinking milk but not getting enough fat, your body won’t be able to absorb these vitamins and thus won’t reap their many benefits.

Why We Need These Nutrients

Vitamins A and D are an important part of your overall health, so you can’t exactly afford not to get them. Specifically, vitamin A is known to benefit:

  • skin
  • vision
  • soft tissue
  • bone
  • mucus membranes

Vitamin D, on the other hand, is a must for maintaining the health of your bones and teeth, regulating insulin levels, supporting lung function, and more. And of course, the body needs protein to build lean muscle in addition to calcium to further support strong bones.

Who Benefits Most From Whole Milk?

Simply put, everybody can benefit from drinking whole milk, and studies have actually shown that those who opt for whole milk are at no greater risk of heart problems than those who drink low-fat milk. Furthermore, no evidence has been found that those who drink low-fat milk are any more likely to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight than those who drink whole milk. The key is moderation.

Specifically, however, whole milk has been recommended as the milk of choice for young children, pregnant women, and elderly adults. In fact, one study showed that drinking whole milk during pregnancy not only provided pregnant women with health benefits, but led to a reduced risk of diabetes for the child later in life. The same study also found that drinking whole milk during pregnancy led to taller children later in life

Unfortunately, there has been a lot of misinformation out there in past decades about the health of whole milk. While it’s true that it has a higher fat content and contains more calories than other forms of milk, it provides a number of health benefits to those who drink it. Now that you have a better understanding of what whole milk is and isn’t, you can make a better informed decision about which type of milk is best for your body’s needs.