Revealed: how thieves skimmed the workhouse orphans’ cream. Unearthed documents show how Foundling Hospital children were robbed of full milk ration.
Children who drink full-fat milk end up slimmer than those on skimmed
Children should drink full-fat milk until the age of at least six, research suggests – as they are likely to grow up slimmer.
In recent years, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) has recommended that toddlers switch to semi-skimmed milk from the age of two, as part of efforts to prevent obesity.
But research on more than 2,700 children found those given full-fat versions ended up with a significantly lower body mass index than those given semi-skimmed varieties.
Those taking part in the Canadian study were also found to have higher levels of vitamin D, which protects the bones and immune system.
For decades, children in Britain were encouraged to drink full-fat milk, as part of post-war efforts to build the nation’s health.
‘Children who drink lower fat milk don’t have less body fat’ Dr Jonathon Maguire
But in 2009, the FSA warned that children were now consuming so much fat that it was clogging their arteries. Parents are now advised to switch their children to semi-skimmed milk from the age of two.
The new research suggests such efforts could be counter-productive.
Children who drank full-fat milk were likely to end up less hungry, researchers suggested, making them less likely to snack on high calorie foods.
The Canadian research, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found that those children who drank whole milk had a Body Mass Index score that was 0.72 units lower than those who drank one or two per cent semi-skimmed milk.
What is BMI?
- BMI (body mass index) is a measure that adults can use to see if they are a healthy weight for their size
What is a healthy BMI?
- For most adults, an ideal BMI is in the 18.5-24.9 range
- If your BMI is higher than 25, you weigh more than is ideal for your height
- 25-29.9 is overweight
- 30-39.9 is obese
- 40 or more is very obese
To work out your BMI:
- Divide your weight in kilograms (kg) by your height in meters (m), then divide your answer by your height again to get your BMI
- For example, if you weigh 100kg and you are 1.85m tall, divide 100 by 1.85. The answer is 54. Then divide 54 by 1.85, which gives 29, which is your BMI
Lead researcher Dr Jonathon Maguire, a pediatrician at St Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, said the difference amounted to the difference between having a healthy weight and being overweight.
Children who drank one cup of whole milk each day had comparable vitamin D levels to those drinking nearly three times as much skimmed milk, the study found.
This could be because vitamin D is fat soluble, meaning it dissolves in fat rather than water.
Prof Maguire said: “Children who drink lower fat milk don’t have less body fat, and they also don’t benefit from the higher vitamin D levels in whole milk. It’s a double negative with low fat milk.”