Can milk & dairy make me fat?

Milk and dairy can make you gain weight, as they have many calories. Whole cow’s milk, cheese, butter, and heavy cream, in particular, are fattening foods. Milk has 50-60 calories per 100g, while butter has 720 calories per 100g!

How many calories in milk?

Whole milk has 60 calories, while reduced fat (2%) milk has 50 calories per 100g. A cup of whole milk has about 150 calories. A cup of reduced fat (2%) milk has about 120 calories, or 20% fewer calories than whole milk.[1,2]

So, drinking a couple of glasses of milk a day can cause belly fat. We gain weight when we consume more calories in a day than we burn.

However, drinking 1-2 cups of milk a day, as part of a healthy, well-balanced, hypocaloric diet, supports weight loss. Reasonable amounts of milk or dairy won’t make you fat.

As low-fat milk has fewer calories and saturated fat, you should prefer it for maintaining a normal body weight and for good health.

Cheese & butter make you fat

Certainly, you have to consume yogurt, cheese, butter, ice cream, and heavy cream in moderation if you want to lose weight. Most dairy have too many calories per serving. High portion sizes cause weight gain.

Cheese, heavy cream, and butter cause belly fat, in particular, as they’re super calorie-dense foods.

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

Even reduced fat (1%) cottage cheese contains 72 calories per 100g!

Most noteworthy, the calories of dairy come from fat. Especially from the dangerous saturated fat.

Saturated fat in milk may lead to obesity

Above all, we should consume milk and dairy in moderation because they’re pretty high in saturated fat. Actually, about half of the calories of whole milk come from fat.

According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, we shouldn’t get more than 35% of calories from fat. Cow’s milk and dairy can significantly increase the consumption of fat, though.[3]

Most noteworthy, the American Heart Association recommends eating no more than 13 grams of saturated fat a day. Saturated fats increases cholesterol in the blood, causing increased risk of heart disease and stroke! Also, consuming too much saturated fat has been associated with obesity[4,5]

Actually, a cup of milk has about 4.6 grams of saturated fat, or 35% of the Daily Value. It’s easy to consume more saturated fat than the maximum safe dosage if you drink milk or eat dairy!

Is protein in milk good for weight loss?

Milk has a decent amount of protein. A cup contains about 8 grams of protein.

Protein in milk is good for weight loss because it:

  • maintains lean body mass during dieting
  • has the highest thermic effect. We burn 30% of calories of protein during digestion
  • regulates appetite

But, too much protein can make you fat.

Does sugar in milk cause belly fat?

Moreover, milk naturally contains sugars. A cup of milk has about 12 grams of sugars, which are absorbed really fast, causing insulin spikes. Hence, drinking high amounts of milk may cause increased insulin secretion and insulin resistance.[6,7]

Insulin resistance is highly associated with obesity.[8]

Avoid foods with added sugar, white flour, or other refined carbs if you want to lose weight. These foods increase insulin secretion, keeping us hungry all the time. These foods make it impossible to follow a hypocaloric diet for weight loss for a long time!

Hormones in milk are bad for weight loss!

Most noteworthy, milk is rich in hormones. For instance, just a cup of milk can increase the insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) hormone concentrations. High levels of IGF-1 hormone may cause obesity.[9,10]

Do we need calcium from milk to lose weight?

Calcium is beneficial for keeping a normal body weight. It helps the body burn fat for energy and prevents fat absorption. A glass of milk has about 300 mg of calcium, or 30% of the DV. Milk isn’t the only good source of calcium, though. Actually, there are many plant-based foods high in calcium.[11]

Is plant-based milk fattening?

There are many plant-based milks on Amazon. You can find vegan milk from almonds, soy, oats, rice, coconut etc. Each type has a different calorie content. Always check the nutrition facts label. There are plant-based milks with many calories, as they’re high in sugar. These are fattening!

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