Milk is an important part of a healthy, well-balanced diet. It has long been associated with bone health, but did you know that it can offer more including weight loss? Although it has been demonized lately, drinking milk offers a lot of health benefits. Of course, not all milk options are the same. Some are more beneficial for you whereas others are not. The question is – which is the healthiest milk for weight loss? Scroll down to learn more about milk options for weight loss.
1. Soy Milk
Soy milk is, probably, the most well-known replacement for dairy intake. This milk is made from soybeans and filtered water. Similar to other plant-based milk options, soy milk may also contain some thickeners that improve its shelf life and consistency. Since it comes from the plant, it is free of cholesterol and low in saturated fat. Plus, it doesn’t contain lactose. That means drinking milk, specifically soy, is safe even if you’re lactose-intolerant.
When it comes to the nutritional profile, this milk is a good source of protein, potassium, and calcium (when fortified).
If you want to slim down, you may want to add soy milk to your diet. Studies show it’s as effective as skim milk in promoting weight loss (1). Additionally, it can play an important role in reducing waist circumference (2).
You see, soy protein can exhibit a favorable effect on satiety. It can also reduce body fat. Ingestion of soy protein has the potential to improve insulin resistance, the hallmark of obesity. Alongside its constituents, soy protein can decrease plasma lipids and fat buildup in adipose tissue and the liver. As a result, proteins in soy lower the risk of atherosclerosis and lipotoxicity, and other obesity-related complications (3).
Since this milk is a good source of soy protein, it proves to be a useful ally in weight loss endeavors. Another reason this milk is a good option for weight loss is its low-calorie content. It also has a lower sugar content than other milk options, especially if you opt for unsweetened soy milk. Considering the fact soy milk is free of cholesterol and a low fat milk, you can drink it without having to worry about fat content.
If you wish to try soy milk for weight loss, you should put some thought into the buying process. Not every pack on the shelf is equally good for you. Ideally, you should opt for the unsweetened type. But, if you want your milk to have some flavor then unsweetened vanilla soy is a practical choice. You may also want to make sure your soy milk is fortified and contains calcium and vitamin D for bone health.
Keep in mind soy contains phytoestrogens, so it’s practical to drink soy milk in moderation.
2. Cashew Milk
Cashew milk is made of water and whole cashews. This non-dairy milk has a creamy and rich consistency. Plus, it is available in both sweetened and unsweetened varieties. Cashew milk has a strong nutritional profile consisting of protein, healthy fats, and a wide range of vitamins and minerals.
The greatest portion of fat in cashew milk accounts for unsaturated fatty acids known for boosting heart health and other favorable effects on your wellbeing (4).
Why is cashew milk a good option for weight loss? It’s all down to low calories. A cup of cashew milk contains about 25 calories only (5). That means you can drink milk, and use it in different recipes without upping your daily calorie intake dramatically.
Successful weight loss happens when you consume fewer calories than you burn. Proper diet is vital, you shouldn’t starve yourself. At the same time, you need to be careful to avoid dramatic calorie consumption. Cashew milk could be helpful here.
Compared to some other types of milk, cashew milk has higher fat than carbohydrate content. That means cashew milk could be ideal for keto fans. Many people nowadays follow the keto diet and hope it will help them slim down.
Cashew milk is one of the healthiest milk to help you slim down. It’s important to clarify a misconception here. Milk, regardless of whether it’s dairy or plant-based, is not a replacement for a healthy diet and regular exercise. It would be a mistake to drink milk hoping to slim down but refuse to make lifestyle modifications. Cashew milk could be a great weight loss tool, but it should be an adjunct to other lifestyle measures.
3. Cow’s Milk
Cow’s milk has gotten a bad rep lately. The most frequently consumed dairy milk has been demonized for a while and is considered unhealthy or dangerous to our health and wellbeing. The reality is that drinking milk (cow's milk) can indeed help improve your health. It can also support weight loss.
Studies show dairy products may have modest benefits at facilitating weight loss, especially if you’re on an energy-restricted diet (6).
Cow’s milk may support weight loss through its calcium content. Evidence confirms that supplementation with calcium, especially through dairy products, supports weight and fat loss secondary to caloric restrictions. Moreover, calcium can increase the percentage of fat lost from the trunk region (7). Fat in the trunk area is stubborn and generally difficult to lose.
Men and women who aren’t vegetarians or vegans could benefit from cow’s milk. If you’re lactose-intolerant, you can always go for lactose-free milk.
4. Goat’s Milk
In the United States, goat’s milk is seen more like a specialty item, but about 65% of people in the world drink this milk (8). Compared to cow’s milk, goat’s milk is more abundant in protein and calcium. Additionally, goat’s milk can enhance the body’s ability to absorb important nutrients from other foods (9). Enhanced absorption of nutrients from food allows the body to function properly. And that’s exactly what you need for underlying processes concerning weight loss.
While goat’s milk contains lactose, it’s still a lower concentration than in cow’s milk. Even some people with lactose intolerance can easily drink and digest goat’s milk.
As seen above, goat’s milk is abundant in calcium. This type of dairy milk also contains linoleic acid, which can support blood glucose control, decrease body fat, and help maintain lean body mass. For these reasons, goat’s milk is a practical option for men and women who want to slim down and also improve their lean muscle mass (10).
You can drink milk (goat's milk) the same way you’d incorporate other types of milk into your diet. It goes well in smoothies, cereals, and other meals and recipes. You can also use goat’s milk to make your protein shake, for example.
5. Almond Milk
Almond milk is one of the best types of milk for weight loss. First, it’s useful to mention that almond milk is nutritious and fortified to supply the body with nutrients such as calcium, vitamin E, riboflavin (vitamin B2), vitamin D, among others.
Although it may seem odd, because almonds are high in calories, almond milk is a low-calorie beverage. How could that be? Well, almond milk is processed and only a small portion of almonds is present in the finished product. This is particularly useful for men and women who want to slim down.
More precisely, one cup of unsweetened almond milk contains 30 to 50 calories. This means almond milk is an ideal low-calorie milk option for a person who wants to lose weight. After all, restricting calorie intake is an effective way to lose weight, especially if you combine it with exercise. So, if you are attempting to slim down, just replacing two or three daily servings of dairy with almond milk could lead to a calorie reduction of about 348 calories.
If you are vegetarian/vegan, or simply want to significantly reduce your intake of calories, almond milk is a suitable choice.
Not only is almond milk low in calories, but it’s also low in sugar.
6. Coconut Milk
Coconut milk is becoming increasingly popular and that’s not so shocking if we bear in mind people love coconut. The milk comes from the white flesh of mature brown coconuts. Thick consistency and rich creamy texture make coconut milk a beverage of choice for many.
We could easily describe coconut milk as a paradox. Why? This milk is high in calories! One cup of coconut milk contains 552 calories, a staggering number (11). And yet, evidence shows coconut milk can decrease body weight and visceral fat. The combination of a high-protein diet and coconut milk has the potential to reduce visceral fat, weight gain percentage, cholesterol, food intake, cholesterol, and triglycerides (12).
Weight loss and other health benefits of coconut milk have a lot to do with a high level of medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) found in this beverage. The MCTs are associated with weight loss. They work by stimulating energy through the process of thermogenesis, or the production of heat. Studies confirm MCTs can decrease body weight and waist size (13). They also work to support the balance of unstable gut microbiota. This matters because the absence of this balance may play a role in weight gain and obesity.
One study found the consumption of MCTs at breakfast can decrease food intake later in the day (14). For most people, the biggest enemy of successful weight loss is a tendency to consume more calories than necessary. Overeating is a common problem, but it’s necessary to tackle it in order to achieve a healthy and stable weight loss. One way to combat this problem is to decrease calorie intake and consume foods that promote satiety and keep you full for longer. Coconut milk could help you achieve that.
Additionally, MCTs enhance insulin sensitivity (15). Insulin sensitivity can also promote weight loss.
7. Oat Milk
Chances are high you’ve come across oat milk in the stores. Oat milk is, basically, just rolled oats and water blended then strained to leave the pulp behind. This milk has a creamy and rich consistency.
Compared to other forms of milk, oat milk is higher in fiber. You need fiber for proper digestion, but it’s also crucial for weight loss or maintaining your weight in a healthy range. Evidence confirms dietary fiber intake, regardless of caloric or macronutrient consumption, promotes weight loss and dietary adherence (16). Fiber suppresses your appetite and keeps you feeling full for longer. As a result, your calorie intake decreases and you stop overeating. Not only does fiber intake support your weight loss, but it may also prevent you from gaining even more weight.
Besides fiber, oat milk also supplies the body with protein which can also promote satiety. This is yet another mechanism through which oat milk can help you improve appetite control for successful weight loss.
Oat milk is a truly wonderful choice for men and women who want to lose weight. After reading all this, understandably, you want to go to the store and buy oat milk. You need to be careful, though. It’s not just enough to look for unsweetened milk. You also need to check the label to ensure it doesn’t contain added sugars and preservatives that would weaken the health benefits oat milk provides.
Store-bought oat milk is not the only option, though. You can make it on your own. To make your oat milk you will need water, oats, a blender, and gauze, or something else you can use to strain the oats. All you need to do is to soak oats in water for at least 30 minutes. For the best absorbency, the best thing to do is to keep it overnight. Then, drain the oats and proceed to blend. Strain the oats and you will get your very own oats milk.
Other Types of Milk
The list of milk that could support weight loss is truly long. But it doesn’t stop there. Other forms of milk you may want to try include:
- Macadamia Milk: May contain compounds that increase the metabolism of fat thus helping you burn more body fat.
- Hemp milk: Hemp seeds are abundant in Omega-3 fatty acids which can reduce the risk of heart disease, but also lower inflammation. The inflammatory state is a major contributor to weight gain.
When buying milk, you should always prioritize quality. Make sure the milk is unsweetened because it doesn’t contain much sugar that way. Fermented milk delivers important nutrients to your body. But you should modify your diet too, so you don’t end up consuming more vitamins and minerals than your body needs.
Weight loss requires lifestyle changes. We need to change pretty much our entire lifestyle to achieve our goal. We also need to give different foods and beverages a try. In this post, we discussed the best milk for weight loss. Options are truly numerous. You have the opportunity to get the type of milk that suits your needs and preferences the most. Some types of milk are higher or lower in calories than others. But, they do supply your body with important nutrients. Keep in mind successful weight loss, you shouldn’t only drink milk. You also need a well-balanced diet and regular exercise.