Does milk & dairy make you gain weight?

Milk and dairy can make you gain weight. Milk, cheese, yogurt, or heavy cream are high in calories. Even reduced fat milk may be bad for weight loss, as it’s particularly rich in fat! You better prefer other sources of protein and calcium!

How many calories does milk have?

We gain weight when we consume more calories than those we burn. So, milk can make us fat, as it has lots of calories. 100g of whole milk has 60 calories and reduced fat (2%) milk has 50 calories.[1,2] Practically, a cup of whole milk has about 150 calories and a cup of reduced fat (2%) milk has about 120 calories.

Therefore, drinking a couple of glasses of milk a day can definitely make you gain weight, as it has many calories. Just for comparison, a cup of milk has more calories than a can of other fattening beverages, such as soda drinks (120 calories) or beer (130 calories)!

Moreover, other dairy products can also make us gain weight, as they contain even more calories than milk. Especially, cheese, heavy cream, and butter are bad for weight loss, as they’re particularly rich in calories.

Is protein in milk good for weight loss?

Milk is well-known for its high protein and calcium content. Actually, whole and skim milk has a decent amount of protein. A cup contains about 8g of protein.

Protein is good for weight loss. Food high in protein has the highest thermic effect and also regulates appetite.

Actually, the digestion of protein burns up to 30% of calories! The digestion of carbs burns only 5-10% of calories, and the digestion of fat burns 0-3% of calories. So, when we follow a high-protein diet, we burn more calories!

Even so, we shouldn’t consume too much. Especially, if we want to lose weight. Protein still has calories. 1g of protein has 4 calories.

Saturated fat in milk may lead to obesity

Moreover, milk can make us gain weight, as it’s pretty high in fat. A cup of whole milk contains 7.8g of fat. Actually, about 50% of calories of whole milk come from fat.

According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, we shouldn’t consume more than 35% fat of total calories.[3] But, milk and dairy can significantly increase the consumption of fat.

Most noteworthy, about 58% of fat in milk is saturated fat! Actually, a cup of whole milk has 4.5g of saturated fat.

The American Heart Association recommends eating no more than 13g of saturated fat a day.[4] Just a cup of whole milk contains about 35% of the upper limit. Drink 2 glasses of milk, and eat a slice of pizza, and you would have consumed more saturated fat than the daily upper recommended dose!

Consuming too much saturated fat can lead to obesity.[5] Also, foods with saturated fat may make it difficult for you to lose weight.

Above all, foods containing saturated fats increases cholesterol in your blood, causing increased risk of heart disease and stroke!

Even reduced fat (2%) milk can make you fat

Certainly, whole milk, and dairy such as cheese and butter are foods high in saturated fat. But, even reduced fat (2%) milk is high in saturated fat![4] A cup of reduced fat (2%) milk has 4.6g of fat. Actually, 2.7g of them are saturated fat. Furthermore, even 2% milk is pretty high in calories. So, even reduced fat milk can make you gain weight

Sugars in milk increase insulin secretion, making us fat

Additionally, milk naturally contains sugars. A cup of milk has about 12g of sugars. Furthermore, sugar of milk is absorbed really fast, causing insulin spikes. Hence, drinking milk, or consuming dairy may lead to increased insulin secretion and even cause insulin resistance.[6,7] Insulin resistance is highly associated with obesity.[8]

Besides milk, you better avoid sugar, white flour, and other refined carbs, if you want to lose weight. These foods increase insulin secretion, keeping us hungry all the time. So, we eat too many calories, leading to weight gain.

Hormones in milk make you gain weight

Most noteworthy, milk is particularly rich in hormones. After all, milk is the food of a calf which gains hundreds of pounds in 6 months! These hormones are necessary for a baby cow, not adults. Actually, they can be dangerous for adults.

For instance, milk and dairy can increase the insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) hormone concentrations. Actually, just a cup of milk is enough.[9] Most noteworthy, high levels of IGF-1 hormone have been linked to increased risk of certain types of cancer. Especially, prostate, breast and colorectal cancer! Also, IGF-1 hormone may contribute to the development of obesity.[10]

Do we need calcium from milk to lose weight?

A glass of milk has about 300 mg of calcium. We need 1,200 mg of calcium a day. On the other hand, higher daily doses above 2,000 mg may cause health problems, such as constipation, or kidney stones.

Calcium is beneficial for keeping a normal weight.[11] It helps the body burn fat for energy and also prevents fat absorption.

Milk isn’t the only good source of calcium, though. On the contrary, there are many plant-based sources that provide high amounts of calcium. Beans, kale (254 mg per 100g), turnip greens (190 mg), chia seeds (255 mg), whole-wheat bread (30 mg per slice), spinach (99 mg), arugula (160 mg), and almonds (260 mg) are only a few good plant-based sources of calcium.

Calories in dairy, such as cheese & yogurt make you fat

Moreover, consuming dairy may cause weight gain, as they contain even more calories than milk.

per 100g
2% milk50
whole milk60
heavy cream340
Calories in dairy.

Even reduced fat (1%) cottage cheese which is considered to be pretty low in calories, contains 72 calories per 100g! Most noteworthy, calories of dairy come from fat. Especially from the dangerous saturated fat.

Can I lose weight with plant-based milk?

We lose weight when we burn more calories than those we consume. Certainly, cow’s milk may lead to weight gain. But, you better be careful about the calories in other types of milk, as well. There are many plant-based types of milk on Amazon. You can find milk from almonds, soy, oats, rice, coconut etc.

In any case, check the amounts of calories per 100g or per serving. Companies try to make their products have a good taste, adding sugar or fat. So, even plant-based milk can make you fat…