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Healthy Diet Plans >>  Therapeutic Value of Different Foods >>  Low Fat Dairy

Benefits of Low Fat Dairy Products

Milk and dairy products make up almost 10 to 12 percent of our total dietary fat. With nutrients such as calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and protein, dairy products are an essential part of our diet. However, the move from whole milk to low fat milk may help lower the risk of obesity and related diseases such as diabetes, high cholesterol, hypertension, and cardiovascular disorders.

Low fat vs. whole milk

Low fat milk or 1 percent milk has very little fat as compared to whole milk or even reduced fat or 2 percent milk. Fat free milk is completely devoid of any fats.
For many individuals used to drinking whole milk, it will take some time to get used to the taste and texture of low fat milk. You can start with 2 percent milk and gradually move towards low fat or fat free milk.

Move to low fat milk

Consider this: One cup serving of low fat milk or ¾ cup serving of low fat yogurt contains less than 90 calories as compared to 150 calories from a cup of whole milk. Changing your milk consumption patterns from whole milk to low fat milk continues to provide all the critical nutrients such as calcium, protein and Vitamin D without the ill effects of fat and saturated fat intake from drinking whole milk. For nutrient data of low fat milk, you may visit

List of low fat dairy products

To maximize benefits of low fat dairy products, consider including the following into your daily diet.

  • Use low fat milk for your breakfast cereals or oatmeal, to blend a smoothie, or make a protein shake.
  • Low fat natural yogurt with probiotics can aid a healthy digestive system and improve gut health. Create delicious yogurt parfaits with cut fruits and granola. Since low fat natural yogurt has no added sugars, it can reduce your sugar and calorie intake.
  • Flavored low fat yogurt can make a guilt-free dessert. Some artificial flavored yogurt may contain sugar or corn syrup to compensate for taste and creaminess. Read labels to restrict or avoid added sugar or fruit concentrates.
  • Full fat cheese has big flavor and significant amounts of fat from milk solids. You may replace these in your pizza, lasagna, or macaroni with non-fat cheese. Non-fat mozzarella, fat free cream cheese, low fat cottage cheese are some of the options that provide both taste and keep calories in check.

For lactose intolerant individuals, you may need to explore alternate sources such as fortified soymilk for calcium and vitamin D.

Health benefits of low fat diary

  • Weight loss or obesity: Low fat diary consumption has been associated with lower risks of hypertension and type II diabetes. Studies suggest that the antihypertensive effects of calcium from low fat milk and energy metabolism from low fat diary products may help adult weight management. Think of low fat dairy as fat burning food. Significant amounts of protein and calcium from low fat dairy products help build muscle mass. As part of your increased metabolism, muscles continue to burn calories even after you stop exercising for the day.
  • Pregnancy: During pregnancy, women who consume 3 cups of low fat or non-fat milk per day (USDA recommendations) may provide essential nutrients such as calcium, protein and Vitamin D along with essential folates for the growth and development of the fetus. Studies suggest that infants born to mothers who drink milk during pregnancy have a lower risk of suffering from multiple sclerosis, decreased birth weight and other health problems. Low fat milk with added vitamin D is a healthier option for women suffering from gestational diabetes.
  • Children: Obesity concerns among school going children has prompted the use of low fat milk and dairy products instead of caffeinated beverages in school cafeterias. Although they contain low amounts of added sugar, parents can offer low fat chocolate milk or flavored yogurt to encourage diary consumption. Milk is inappropriate for babies aged 1 year or younger.  You may introduce toddlers no longer being breastfed to low fat milk at the age of 2 years.


Submitted on January 16, 2014