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Don't Skim
on the Milk
The benefi ts of full-fat, whole milk &
dairy products for kids up to 2 years.
By Marjie C. Andrejciw
he American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) guidelines,
pediatricians and federally funded food programs,
This becomes an even greater concern for people
Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children
who live in the northern states because of reduced sun expo-
(WIC), recommend reduced-fat and non-fat milk products for
sure during the cold weather months.
children ages 2 to 6.
Improved cardiovascular health later Vitamin A – also a fat soluble vitamin is highest in full-fat
in life and reduced obesity and blood sugar imbalances is the versions of milk. It works synergistically with vitamin D and
logic behind these recommendations. helps to strengthen the immune system.
There appears, however, to be a trend in parents of chil- Studies have shown that vitamin A helps to prevent
dren under the age of 2 mistaking these recommendations, childhood diseases like the measles. Vitamin A helps the
even through the AAP specifically recommends full-fat milk body to produce and repair epithelial cells which make up
or formula for children age’s birth to 24 months. smooth tissues such as the skin, eyes, lungs, heart, and mu-
From in-utero to age 6 is a critical stage in development cosal lining of the digestive tract.
for children, especially for proper bone and brain develop-
Vitamin K – is also a fat soluble vitamin which works syner-
ment, and the nutrients found in whole-fat dairy products
gistically with both vitamin D and A. It helps to build bone
are needed for proper development. Pregnant and lactating
density and promote proper blot clotting in the body; this is
women provide the necessary nutrients for the infant and
especially important in a newborn baby.
also need full-fat dairy products in order to pass those nu-
trients on to the baby. If mom is deficient in these nutrients,
Fatty acids – whole milk is high in conjugated linoleic acid
then the baby will also be deficient. During this time frame it
(CLA) fatty acids. These are medium chain fatty acids that
is critical to consume full-fat dairy products, not reduced-fat
actually help to increase metabolism. They are the preferred
source of energy for the heart and muscles and are part of the
building blocks for healthy cell membranes and brain cells.
Specific nutrients in full-fat milk: Consuming CLA fatty acids helps to prevent cancer,
Vitamin D – is a fat soluble vitamin that requires fat for
lower cholesterol, improve blood sugar levels, and prevent
proper absorption. Whole milk provides this necessary fat
atherosclerosis (arterial plaques).
and in the correct forms for proper vitamin D absorption. Whole milk and whole milk products such as cottage
Assuming that enough fat and in the proper forms will cheese, yogurt, cheese, and butter are good choices. Cows
be absorbed from other foods in the diet is short sighted. Vi- raised in pasture consuming grass have been shown to have
tamin D is needed for developing strong bones and teeth. It the highest levels of the fat soluble vitamins and CLA fatty
helps to regulate the absorption of calcium and phosphorous acids. A healthy animal means a healthy animal product.
in the digestive tract, and is important for proper immune Choose milk as close to it’s natural state as possible. The less
function. An adequate level of vitamin D helps to protect processed and fresher the milk is, the more nourishing.
against heart disease, diabetes, rickets, autoimmune diseases, Parents concerned with preventing childhood obesity
and cancers.
Even though vitamin D can also be produced and sugar imbalances need to eliminate the real culprits:
by the body when exposed to sunlight, there is a disturbing sugar, pop, artificial sweeteners and refined carbohydrates
trend of low vitamin D levels according to The Vitamin D from candy, pastries, cookies, boxed cereals, chips and white
22 Genesee, Lapeer & Shiawassee
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