What Happens To Your Cholesterol When You Drink Milk Every Day

You shouldn't hide your love for milk, even if you're a few decades past childhood. Milk packs a lot of nutrients, like minerals such as calcium and vitamins A, B2, B12, and D. Milk is also a better option than soda if you're cutting calories. A cup of whole milk has about 150 calories, 8 grams of protein, and 8 grams of fat (four grams of which are saturated fat). And if you're trying to cut back on your fat grams, you could opt for a cup of nonfat milk. Skim milk saves you 66 calories while providing the same amount of protein, vitamins, and minerals.

If you're trying to lower your cholesterol without medication, you might shy away from the saturated fat in milk and reach for the skim. After all, the American Heart Association suggests limiting your saturated fat intake to about 12 grams each day if you want to lower your cholesterol. Interestingly, milk can improve your cholesterol levels, but not in the way you think.

Whole milk raises your good cholesterol levels

In a 2018 study in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, people drank about 16 ounces of either skim or whole milk each day for three weeks. Later, they swapped for the other type of milk for another three weeks. When the people drank whole milk, their HDL "good" cholesterol levels increased. Both skim and whole milk didn't increase total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol. In other words, drinking milk every day can be healthy if you're trying to watch your cholesterol.

Efforts to address childhood obesity have included removing heavily processed foods from children's diets. A 2022 article in PLoS One had a group of children eat minimally processed foods such as green vegetables, beef, and whole dairy butter on their bread. They were also required to drink about 10 ounces of whole milk every day. The other group of children ate their normal diet. Several months later, the children who swapped minimally processed foods in their diet saw their HDL cholesterol improve, and their total cholesterol/HDL cholesterol ratio also significantly decreased to improve their heart health.

Health effects of milk

Drinking whole, low-fat, or skim milk has other health benefits, according to a 2021 meta-analysis in Nutrition and Metabolism. Although high-fat milk might increase your risk of stroke, drinking more milk is linked to a lower risk of stroke, cardiovascular disease, and high blood pressure. The more low-fat milk you drink, the less likely you'll develop colorectal cancer. Milk might also lower your risk of type 2 diabetes. Each 7-ounce glass of milk you drink per day can lower your risk of metabolic syndrome by 13% and obesity by 16%. Milk also reduces your risk of osteoporosis by 40%.

However, milk can increase your risk of prostate cancer, gastric cancer, and a type of lymphoma. And while milk might lower your risk for Alzheimer's disease, it's also linked to an increase in Parkinson's disease. In addition, too much milk for infants can increase their risk of anemia. Lastly, drinking more milk could be linked to more acne, but it doesn't seem to be connected to endometriosis or dental problems.