Does milk contain a lot of fat? Yes and no, depending on whether you use whole, lowfat, or skim milk. Since milk is an animal product, most of the fat in milk is saturated. So you can scratch whole milk from a heart-healthy diet. A glass of whole milk contains five grams of saturated fat, two-percent milk contains 2.9 grams of saturated fat, and a glass of one percent milk contains 1.6 grams of saturated fat. An 8-ounce glass of whole milk also contains 23-31 milligrams of cholesterol, and three glasses of whole milk contain about the same amount of cholesterol as one lean ground beef patty. In contrast, a glass of one-percent (lowfat) milk will contain only ten grams of cholesterol. Three glasses of milk will contain 30 milligrams of cholesterol, only one-tenth of the maximum 300 milligrams a day recommended for an adult and only one-fifth of the maximum 150 milligrams a day recommended for an average pre-school child.
Cow’s milk does not contain any of the essential fatty acids necessary for brain and body growth in young children. The fat composition of milk depends upon the composition of the fat in the cow’s feed, and the essential fatty acids from the cow feed may be hydrogenated or saturated as they pass through the cow’s four stomachs. The fats in cow’s milk even contain trans fatty acids, and the amount depends upon the season of the year the cow is grazing (up to six percent in the summer and three percent in the winter). As you can see, there are many good reasons for choosing lowfat or skim milk over two-percent or whole milk.
Is the warning not to drink milk when you have a cold an old doctor’s tale? Yes and no. Some people do make more mucus when they drink milk, and any high- fat food may produce a sensation of thicker secretions in the back of the throat. Yet, the mucus-producers are probably those that are allergic to milk. Separating out milk-allergic persons, research fails to show any correlation between drinking milk and mucus production during a cold. In conclusion, you need extra fluids during a cold, anyway, so if you’re not allergic it’s okay to drink a few glasses of lowfat milk.