Milk bad for diabetes?

milk_diabetes_bad I counsel many clients who are in the pre-diabetes stages or are suffering from full blown diabetes. They are worried about table sugar and are ready to skip it in their morning cuppa or just quit eating sweets..But we have many doctors who know all about “nutrition” and “diet” and end up advising patients about their diets and project themselves that they know it all. I have heard doctors advising to skip sugar(okay acceptable), stop eating fruits(why on earth do they advise this) and stop drinking milk!!! These are the foods considered by doctors to be high in sugar. To tell you the truth, all foods contain sugars except for oils,egg whites,poultry and meats etc and also air and water. I ask my clients who want to have sugar free diets whether they want to live only on these foods and air and water. Then they realize that they were depriving themselves of the foods their body requires. If any doctor asks you to miss a complete food group in your diet, then he or she is misleading you.

Avoiding sugars is acceptable as most of our foods do provide us with natural or “hidden” sugars but avoiding dairy products is like a crime to the body. Milk and milk products are like elixir to the body. It has been proved that consuming low fat dairy products can help to reduce insulin resistance, than those who were avoiding dairy. The sugar present in milk products are lactose, which is also known as milk sugar, is said to be converted to blood sugar relatively slowly. This can help in blood sugar control and also help in reducing insulin resistance. (Pic showing a smart lady sipping on milk)

The protein present in milk too will fill you up and will prevent mid meal binges. If you are overweight, then you can opt for fat free milk products, but if your weight is under control, then you can opt for low fat milk, where the fat content is less than 2% of fat. The fat too will keep you satisfied and hence milk products can work as good snacks.

So how can you incorporate milk products in your diet…

  • Add milk in your high fiber cereal for breakfast.
  • Make smart choices for snack. Eat low fat yogurt with fruits for a snack.
  • Add cottage cheese in your salad.
  • Add low fat cheese in your sandwich…
  • Drink milk after dinner as a post a dinner snack.
  • Make low fat milk sweets at home for dessert.
  • Make fruit smoothies with milk and you can also add low fat dry milk powder for the extra boost of vitamins and protein…

So do not skip dairy if you want to maintain your blood sugars…

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Sanjana Shenoy

About Sanjana Shenoy

A dietitian from Mangalore, India. A post graduate diploma holder in “Dietetics” and a university topper from Welcomgroup School of Hotel Administration from the prestigious Manipal University. At present working as a Dietitian for the Manipal Group of Hospitals namely KMC hospital Mangalore, India. Consultant for corporates like Infosys and others, conducting talks and presentations for various associations and local television shows.

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22 Responses to Milk bad for diabetes?

  1. Jen October 1, 2010 at 10:52 pm #

    I love milk. As a baby boomer, I was brought up drinking milk at every meal, and I still drink fat free milk every day with meals, and sometimes as my snack as well. I must admit I drink a lot of milk (about a gallon every three days). I was advised by my medical practitioner to stop drinking so much milk as I am a diabetic (type II) and it is not good for me due to the sugar content. I read a lot on the subject and get many different comments and advice about milk consumption. It would just be very difficult for me to stop drinking milk.

  2. Sanjana Shenoy
    Sanjana - Dietitian November 16, 2010 at 2:33 pm #

    Hi Jen,

    You do not need to stop drinking milk. It has natural sugars which are beneficial to health. You may consume 500 ml of fat free milk per day. Enjoy!!!!

  3. yve legler November 21, 2010 at 9:18 pm #

    Hi,
    (diabetes Type 2 – average 3 months tests from 6.5 to 8.5 mg/dl – 195 lbs for 5ft 9)
    Some doctors say Milk is bad for diabetes (type2), some say you need to drink lots of it to have any sugar level problems. I like milk, therefore I believe what accommodates me… I often make myself a fruit (Kiwi, pear or apple) or coffee smoothie at night ( 350 ml of full milk, 1 egg, coffee (or fruit), no sugar, ice). It fills my stomach… Wise? Not so sure.
    As far as Low fat versus full milk, its the same story. Some dieticians say that one should refrain from consuming Low Fat products, because the fat they contain are an absolute necessity for the body. Right? Tend to believe it but have no clue…
    Same story concerns fruits (I believe it is a question of slow vs fast sugars?). I have been told that the only fruits I can eat is kiwi, pear and apple. Other diabetologist say I should just avoid grapes, strawberries, oranges and bananas. Now my breakfast consists of Yogurt with fresh low sugar fruits (kiwi, pear, apple, berries. Wise? Not so sure.
    All this is so confusing for someone who loves to cook and to enjoy a good meal.
    Any professional & constructive comment is more then welcome.
    Thank you
    Yve

  4. eric November 24, 2010 at 5:18 pm #

    which is a better food for diabetics between milk and curd

  5. patriciaharris February 17, 2011 at 10:52 pm #

    can i make sweetened condensed milk with powdered milk using fructose. this is to make pies and other desserts. will it hurt him or can he eat a small amount and not be injured.

  6. Sanjana Shenoy
    Sanjana - Dietitian February 24, 2011 at 6:40 pm #

    Hi Patricia,

    It is better to use sucralose fpO sweetening…It can be used for baking too…

  7. JoelinPDX March 10, 2011 at 5:15 am #

    You know, I hate milk, I don’t take cream in my coffee and yogurt is just spoiled milk is’;t it? So, this whole milk is good/milk i bad argument is lost on me. I do like ice cream though…so maybe not.

  8. d chandra May 6, 2011 at 7:50 am #

    thanks for clearing my doubt about use of milk in dibetic conditions . i like milk very much and take it thrice a day ( 2 cups every time ) regularly for last 61 years and feel energetic despite of my severe type 2 diabetes for last 21 years..i am a regular brisk morning walker for 100 minutes a day and try to avoid regular intake of medicines !

  9. T.S.SUNDARAM. May 7, 2011 at 12:20 pm #

    D.Chandra.

    I have seen your mail of 06 may,2011. Very glad to note that you are managing your severe type 2 diabetes by a regular brisk morning walk for 100 minutes a day as well as trying to avoid regular intake of medicines. May I know for the benefit of our readers and myself your Diet in detail which you are having daily three times, apart from the milk you consume. .

  10. Roy June 20, 2011 at 6:53 pm #

    Dear Dietitian,
    Your article was really a good read and it cleared a lot of doubt that I had. Not that I am a blood sugar patient, but it runs in the family and so I watch out my diet these days. I have heard/read many times that fruits like mango, banana are not advisable for blood sugar patients. Could you please advise more on this? I mean, can someone following “sugar free” diet afford to have these fruits, if yes then at what quantity and frequency?
    Looking forward to a post from you on fruits. Because I never can stop eating them. :)

  11. Claire July 9, 2011 at 11:19 pm #

    I just wanted to let you know that I love your web site; it is very informative.

  12. DeAnna August 22, 2011 at 10:52 am #

    I drank milk my entire life. I also steadily gained weight until I was diagnosed with diabetes II. I took a look at my diet and the heaviest amout of sugar came from milk. There is about 2 1/2 teaspoons of sugar in one 8 ounce glass of milk. After quitting milk cold turkey, I lost 12 pounds very quickly.

    The data regarding diary being good for diabetes is unfortunately skewed. They took a study and twisted it to their liking. Calcium can be derived from other sources. Actually, too much calcium is not a good thing. I still crave milk because of the sugar content but I have to stay away because of the diabetes.

  13. Don August 28, 2011 at 7:41 pm #

    I am 62, and I have always drunk a lot of milk, about a gallon every three or four days. My father got mature onset diabetes at 65, and my blood sugar has been creeping up for the last two or three years. I cut out almost all sugar from my diet, but it kept going up into the 160′s. About three months ago I cut out milk totally and substituted almond milk, which has no sugar. I the first test since, my reading went down into the low 120′s, and my AC1 went down to 5.8 from 6.1. In addition, I have lost 10 pounds without any change in exercise level. This is anecdotal, but there’s no question in my mind that milk, at least in the quantity I was drinking, definitely affects blood sugar levels.

    In addition, my legs had started aching at night and were very stiff when I first got up. Within a week of quitting milk, they went back to normal. Two doctor friends have told me since that, for people over 21, milk can be an inflammatory. It may be coincidence, but that’s the way it happened.

  14. lawal garba September 24, 2011 at 9:20 pm #

    we are very happy with this articles pls keep it up

  15. Amanda September 28, 2011 at 9:47 am #

    my husband just found out he is type 2 diabetic… I am concerned about his milk intake he LOVES to drink milk a gallon lasts maybe 2 days. He has always drank milk this way. Should he cut milk completely out or how many cups a day can he have. Also which milk is better for him to drink?

  16. Alex October 13, 2011 at 4:40 am #

    Hi. You are way out of line by just blindly telling everybody that they should drink milk. I’ve heard these claims, that the sugar in milk is converted to glucose slowly, and recently I’ve decided to test it out for myself. I bought a blood glucose meter called accu-check compact plus. On several different occasions I have tested my blood sugar on an empty stomach then tested my blood sugar after drinking 16 ounces of milk. I have consistently gotten approximately 80 before and approximately 150 about 20 minutes after drinking the milk. The lactose in milk is fully capable of making blood sugar rise rapidly. I have gotten the same results with whole raw milk, or whole pasteurized/homogenized milk.

    Please respond to this.

  17. Don October 17, 2011 at 6:02 pm #

    I don’t doubt Alex is right. As I said above, after I quit drinking milk my blood sugar levels dropped by a third. An update is that I have also lost about 18 pounds.

  18. sreelakshmi dietician February 19, 2012 at 10:53 am #

    i suggest my patients to have one and half glasses of milk daily including tea. is it applicable for the patients with diabetes

  19. Mark March 14, 2012 at 6:54 pm #

    Our bodies deal differently on the food we eat, we are all different and declaring that one-food-type is good or not good over another-food-type can be misleading. I am type 2 and discovered that almost all starchy foods are my enemy, the drive my blood sugars cracy. White or brown/dark bread; white, brown, black rice; potatoes, beans, etc raise my blood sugar a lot.

    Milk does the same. Vegetables, fish, poultry on the other hand, do not.

    You could be right in saying, “To tell you the truth, all foods contain sugars except for oils,egg whites,poultry and meats etc and also air and water.” And that is precisely why we need to avoid certain foods over others. Some foods have a higher Glycemic Index (GI) than others, for example, brown rise has a GI of 104 and a banana a GI of 79, while fish has a GI of 28 and eggs a GI of 42. Most green leafy vegatables such as spinach and cabbage have low GI and low carbohydrate levels. Therefore, by omitting foods that are very high in carbohydrates does not automatically translate into ejecting “a complete food group in your diet”. The vegetables that are very low in carbohydrates are metabolised into the sugars that a diabetic body can cope with and thus avoid the danger of high blood sugar peaks over elongated periods of time (read real dangers to some internal organs).

    Thanks,
    Mark

  20. Joy June 6, 2012 at 1:07 am #

    With all the replies that I read, maybe i should avoid or minimize eating foods that contains
    sugar. But I’m still using 2 tsp milk for my cup of coffee w/out sugar. Thank you…

  21. Lynn Hayner August 18, 2012 at 2:15 am #

    You should review the literature on this subject. According to recent extensive research,
    the protein in dairy products (casein) is a leading cause of some cancers. See The China Study
    by Drs. Campbell or watch the video “Forks Over Knives”. Common sense would tell you that God designed cow’s milk for baby cows, not human beings.
    Also, in countries such as China, the Phillipines, etc. where dairy products are used very little, there is almost no osteoporosis, diabetes, or breast cancer.

  22. Amanda August 19, 2012 at 6:23 am #

    I think you should apply caution here. One good thing is that you indicate up to 500 mL per day of milk while some of the people commenting are drinking much more than this. We recently reintroduced milk into my daughter’s diet and it caused hyperglycemia to the point she is considered mildly diabetic. Removing it from her diet has dropped her fasting blood glucose down a bit and she is not having the high postprandials she was having. There is research indicating milk itself does not slow down the rise in blood sugar, but that yoghurt does so it may be the type of milk that is ingested depending on the person.

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