Full-fat milk bad, low-fat good — that’s been the health mantra for decades and many have dutifully followed that prescription, or given up milk completely, in the belief that it protects against cardiovascular disease and helps keep the pounds off.
Sales of milk have dropped by £240 million over two years, according to research for The Grocer published last December, with many people swapping to plant-based drinks such as almond and soya varieties.
Fifteen years ago these made up just 5 per cent of the market. They’re now predicted to reach 20 per cent by 2021.
Sales of milk has dipped by nearly a quarter of a billion pounds in the last two years
But have we got it all wrong? New research suggests milk does not increase the risk of diabetes or heart disease, nor will it make you fat. Furthermore, low-fat milk, instead of full-fat, may even raise the risk of Parkinson’s.
Meanwhile, children who have been raised on milk alternatives such as soya are likely to be shorter, it’s been reported. And last week there was an EU court ruling that these products can’t even be called ‘milks’ at all.
Milk’s reputation has had more swings than a political opinion poll, it seems. Years ago, it was regarded as such a superfood that it was supplied free to schoolchildren. It was seen as vital for growing strong bones and teeth and provided a valuable package of nutrients, including protein, fat, vitamins and minerals.
But from around the early Eighties its reputation shifted, with concerns that the saturated fat in milk could raise the risk of heart disease and lead to people piling on pounds, because fat has more calories per gram than carbohydrates.
Today, the official advice is to cut back on full-fat milk. Last year, Public Health England reduced the number of calories recommended to come from dairy almost by half, to 200 for men and 160 for women. That’s less than what you would get from one medium latte, with the milk…