Sweeteners Negate Milk’s Health Benefits

Milk is touted as an excellent source of calcium, vitamin D, and other essential nutrients. The USDA recommends children and adults alike drink two to three cups of milk a day or at the very least to supplement with other dairy products like yogurt and cheese in order to attain the health benefit.

However, milk, both regular and chocolate, may not be doing a body good, especially if you are drinking down a cold tall glass of added sweeteners. The sugars used to enhance the flavor of most low-fat store-shelf dairy products can negate the health benefits, according to Harvard pediatrician David Ludwig.

Ludwig is the director of the New Balance Foundation Obesity Prevention Center at Boston Children’s Hospital.

“Americans are consuming billions of gallons of milk a year, presumably under the assumption that their bones would crumble without them,” Ludwig wrote in an article published in the medical journal JAMA Pediatrics. On average, the US dairy industry produces 20 billion gallons of milk annually.

Drinking reduced fat milk has been recommended as a way to meet dairy intake guidelines and avoid saturated fat. But when the fat is reduced in milk or yogurt products, it’s often replaced with sweeteners, which makes it taste better but also adds sugar and calories, reports TODAY.

“The worst possible situation is reduced-fat chocolate milk: you take out the fat, it’s less tasty,” Ludwig says. “So to get kids to drink 3 cups a day, you get this sugar-sweetened beverage.”

One cup of low-fat chocolate milk is 158 calories, with 68 calories coming from solid fats and added sugars. One cup of unflavored, reduced-fat 2 percent milk is 122 calories, with 37 calories from solid fats and added sugars.

Several other studies have addressed the use and impact of sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and artificial sweeteners on one’s health – finding them addictive and causal to metabolism related diseases and disorders.

People are better off eating other calcium-rich or calcium-fortified foods as a healthier substitute in lieu of drinking sweetener-laced milk. These foods are easier to find with a growing number of adults becoming lactose intolerant.

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