Fat-free skim milk is the quintessential staple of any health-conscious home in America. You’re supposed to drink skim because whole milk has too much fat, too many calories, and cholesterol that can give you heart disease. Right? In case you’ve been led to believe these lies, I’ve got a few things I’d like you to know about the darling of the dairy industry, skim milk.
Before processing, skim milk has a very unappetizing blueish color, a chalky taste, and watery texture that doesn’t resemble natural milk at all. So, to whiten, thicken, and make it taste a little more normal, powdered milk solids are often mixed into the milk.
It was designed to profit off of you, not make you healthy.
People haven’t always bought into the idea that fat is unhealthy. It all started with a flawed theory by a really bad scientist who said that saturated fat and cholesterol cause heart disease. Which is pretty weird, considering no one had heart attacks around the turn of the century when everyone was still eating pounds of butter and cream every week.
Somehow, by the time World War II rolled around, we were all convinced that fat was the enemy, anyway. Butter was replaced with cheap margarine made from toxic industrial oils, and creamy, full-fat milk was dumped in favor of skim.
Dairy manufacturers were thrilled with this new trend, however, because what was once an industrial waste product had quickly become a highly-desirable “health food.” When cream was skimmed from milk, the remaining fat-free milk used to be considered a nearly useless byproduct of obtaining the cream. But, market that wasteful skim milk as being a healthful choice for consumers, and suddenly, you’ve got a serious money-maker on your hands! Now, the agribusiness giants running the dairy industry are able to profit off of both products, and don’t intend on stopping anytime soon.
It contains antibiotics, nasty bodily fluids, and GMOs
The skim milk you’ll find in most grocery stores is a mass-produced product from animals in concentrated animal feeding operations, or factory farms, where the cows are kept in confinement and fed a diet that is completely inappropriate for their species. Because cows are designed to eat grass, when they are fed a diet consisting primarily of corn, as they are in factory farms, they get sick.
And because they get sick, they’re often given antibiotics to keep them alive so they can continue to produce. But because they’re still fighting off infections, things like blood and pus from open sores frequently make their way into the finished product — the milk we see on store shelves. The FDA allows up to 750 million pus cells per liter of milk, to be sold legally.
Also legal, are the injections of recombinant bovine growth hormones, or rBGH, a known carcinogen banned in virtually every industrialized nation in the world, except the United States. The “recombinant” part of the growth hormone means that it was genetically modified from the cow’s natural growth hormones to stimulate increased milk production.
It provides almost no nutritional value.
Real milk really does do a body good. It has many valuable nutrients in it. In addition to vital minerals like calcium, milk provides vitamins D, A, E, and K.
Well, skim milk actually has no vitamin K because it’s concentrated in the butterfat of the milk. And as for the others? They are fat-soluble vitamins. So even if you were to get a little bit of them in from drinking your fat-free milk, you won’t actually be able to absorb and assimilate them into your body. Unless, maybe, you paired your glass of skim with a nice heaping spread of butter over toast or something!
But, if you’re not getting milk from a farm that raises cows on green pastures instead of in concentrated animal-feeding factories, your milk won’t have very much of those essential fat-soluble vitamins. Cows get their vitamin E, A, and K from the nutrients they eat in grass, and vitamin D from cruising around in the sunlight all day. Also, because confinement dairy cows are bred for unnaturally-high levels of milk production, the vitamin content of the milk is severely diluted, as the cow only transfers a set amount of vitamins to her milk supply.
As for the rest of the nutrition in skim milk from factory farms? Well, it does provide a bit of denatured (and therefore, potentially quite harmful) protein, thanks to high-heat pasteurization. But no beneficial enzymes and probiotic microflora — those are all killed off in the pasteurization process — which aid in digestion.
And then of course, some chemically-synthesized vitamin D is usually added since confinement cows are severely lacking in it. Except the kind that humans and animals are able to assimilate from exposure to the sun, vitamin D3, isn’t at all the same as the manufactured D they dump into skim milk — synthetic vitamin D2. A study referenced by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition concluded that synthetic vitamin D2 “should no longer be regarded as a nutrient appropriate for supplementation or fortification of foods,” because of how basically worthless it is to your body.
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