Is Milk Good or Bad For Diabetics?

Milk is a dairy product which is both served as an afternoon snack or with cereal as part of daily diets. But milk contains carbohydrates which can affect blood sugar levels in people with diabetes.

It contains carbohydrate and a natural sugar, lactose for energy. One cup of milk contains 12g of carbohydrate. According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), you should eat up to 45 to 60g of carbohydrate in each meal serving. A glass of milk serves up to 1/3rd to 1/4th of carbohydrate recommended for a meal. When cow’s milk provides great taste and calcium to diabetics, but there are other choices which seems to be better for blood sugar.

Types of Milk and Their Nutrition Facts

You can find different types of milk and milk products in the market, such as rice milk, almond milk, whole milk etc. Consider these nutrition facts before choosing one. Keep in mind that these are for 8 ounces or 1 cup of milk.

Skim Milk

  • 91 calories
  • 61g fat
  • 12g carbohydrates
  • 8g protein
  • 316mg calcium

Whole Milk

  • 149 calories
  • 8g fat
  • 12g carbohydrates
  • 276mg calcium
  • 8g protein

Rice Milk (unsweetened)

  • 33g fat
  • 113 calories
  • 22g carbohydrates
  • 67g protein
  • 283mg calcium

Almond milk (unsweetened)

  • 39 calories
  • 88g fat
  • 52g carbohydrate
  • 55g protein
  • 516mg calcium

Different types of milk have different qualities, from more to less carbs and from more to less calcium. Some types of almond milk have more calcium than dairy milk varieties. Some plant milks have less protein unless they have added ones. Rice and almond milks with sugars have high amount of carbohydrates.

Health Benefits of Milk

Milk is enriched with vitamin D, calcium and protein to fulfill your daily need of diet and fluid. According to ADA, you should go with 0 or low calorie drinks which are also low in carbohydrates, such as –

  • Low calorie drinks
  • Coffee
  • Water
  • Unsweetened tea
  • Sparkling water

ADA also recommends low-fat milk along with daily drink intake. Go with skim milk or low-fat varieties and add them to your meal plans. Some of the other types of milk having no lactose are almond milk, rice milk, soy milk, or flax milk. Some of the less known varieties are cashew milk and hemp milk.

You don’t have to add milk to your diet. But you should have at least one calcium containing food to your diet. Most dairy items have carbohydrates, such as cheese, yogurt, and ice-cream. Check nutrition labels properly for carbohydrates and serving sizes.

What is the Best Milk for People with Diabetes?

Well, it is up to your daily diet, flavor choice, and overall daily intake of carbohydrates. For example, if you want to lower as much carbohydrates as possible from your diet, you may want to go with almond milk as it has no or lowest carbohydrates.

If you don’t have allergy with lactose, you may also choose skim milk which contains low calorie and fat. But it has carbohydrates. If you have diabetes, you should have some sort of carbohydrate in your diet.

Is Milk Good for Diabetes?

According to several studies, milk helps reduce type 2 diabetes risk. In a study in Journal of Nutrition on 2011 conducted on 82000 women in post-menopausal stage who were not diagnosed with diabetes. Researchers measured the daily intake of dairy products in women, including yogurt and milk, for 8 years.

If was found that a diet with low-fat dairy has reduced the risk of diabetes in postmenopausal women, especially the obese ones.

In the same year, another study was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition which found the use of dairy products during adolescence was associated with the risk of developing type 2 diabetes as adult. According to the researchers, higher intake of dairy product during adolescence helped reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

According to a 2014 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, yogurt and high fat milk reduce the risk of type-2 diabetes by up to 1/5th. The effects of various saturated fats have been tested by the researchers on the diabetes risk of a person. According to them, a diet loaded with saturated fat in milk helped protect against type 2 Diabetes.

For people who have diabetes, choices of milk vary. They may be more worried of carbohydrate intake than fat. According to the studies, all fats are not harmful, including the ones in milk.

Our Verdict

Along with milk, many foods have carbohydrate, such as pasta, bread, beans, yogurt, starchy veggies, fruits, fruit juices, and desserts. Ignoring milk’s carbohydrate to daily diet is the common mistake most diabetics make. Some of the common examples include 1 cup of soy milk or cow’s milk or 6 oz. of fat-free yogurt, which are similar to one small fruit piece or a bread slice when it comes to exchanges or carbohydrate counts.

You should drink any type of milk in moderation. Check food levels about carbohydrate and serving sizes. If you are allergic to lactose, you can also choose from different milk options like almond, soy, flax, hemp, and rice milks. You can try different types of milk to choose the best taste of milk and stick to it for long time.

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