What are the advantages and disadvantages of drinking full cream milk?

All types of cow’s milk from full cream to skim are rich in essential nutrients including bone building calcium and protein, so you can choose the right milk for your age and life stage.

Last updated 30/04/2021

The Australian Dietary Guidelines, provide recommendations about the amount and kinds of foods that you need to eat for health and wellbeing. All types of milk (including full cream) are recommended every day as part of a balanced diet.

Milk, yoghurt and cheese are rich sources of calcium and other minerals, protein, and vitamins, including B12. Eating these foods can protect us against heart disease and stroke, can reduce our risk of high blood pressure and some cancers, may reduce our risk of Type 2 diabetes and may contribute to stronger bones.1

Within the dairy supermarket aisle there is an ever-increasing choice. Use the below as a guide to help you choose the right milk for your age and life stage.

Full cream milk

It is recommended that babies should be breast fed or have an infant formula as the main drink until 12months of age. After this time, until the age of two years, the Australian Dietary Guidelines recommend full cream milk (3-4% fat content) to provide optimal energy (kilojoule intake) for growth and development.1

Full cream milk may also be the best choice for adults over 70 years, especially if they are underweight, frail or recovering from surgery or a fall. High energy, high protein diets for the elderly often recommend custards, rice pudding and hot chocolate drinks made with full cream milk.1,2

Reduced fat milk

Low fat milk (less than 1.5% fat) and skim milk (less than 0.15% fat), like full cream milk, provide calcium, protein and other essential nutrients, however with lower fat and kilojoules. The Australian Dietary Guidelines recommend that adults should enjoy mostly reduced fat versions of milk, yoghurt and cheese for this reason, to take into account overall dietary patterns and due to the fact over two thirds of the population are overweight or obese.1

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