Editor's update: (2015) The Farmer's Best milk no longer exists.
There are so many milks in the dairy case these days, it can be hard to work out which one suits you. And when you notice that they cost more than regular low-fat or home-brand milk, you start to think twice.
Here I review three of the more ‘unusual' added-value low-fat milks so you can see if one is worth paying the extra for your health problems.
MILK No 1 - Pura Heart Active™
This low fat milk is enriched with cholesterol-lowering plant sterols, naturally occurring substances found in legumes and vegetables. When you include them in your diet in high enough amounts, in conjunction with a healthy diet, plant sterols can lower your blood cholesterol by around 10 to 15 percent. This could be enough to save you having to take medications every day.
The trick is to ensure you manage to eat three serves of sterol-enriched foods a day (around 25g of the active sterols). If you drink Pura Heart Active and use any plant sterol enriched spread (Logicol, Pro-activ), you can meet this target quite easily. This equates to one serve of Pura Heart Active (a 250ml glass) plus 2 serves of the spread (10g).
Is it for you?
Yes if you have high cholesterol or type 2 diabetes (where you're more likely to have heart troubles). Buy the milk AND the spread and use them every day. They won't work if you don't!
Check it out for yourself
Go to the Heartactive website
MILK NO 2 - Anlene™
This milk drink packs in a lot of nutrients! As well as giving you almost twice the concentration of calcium as low-fat milks, it is also fortified with extra protein, magnesium, zinc and vitamin D - nutrients proven to be important for strong bones.
A 250ml glass of Anlene gives you a huge 500mg of calcium, much higher than other low-fat milks which come in at 300 to 350mg. This means you only need to drink half as much milk to reach your day's target of 1000mg of calcium!
Many of us get enough Vitamin D from the sun. But some people don't including elderly or infirm people who are housebound and Muslim women who cover up for religious reasons.
Two glasses of Anlene provides 10g of vitamin D - that's twice the amount recommended for the average person (5g) and the full day's intake for anyone at risk of not getting enough sun (10g). It's a real alternative to taking a vitamin D supplement.
Is it for you?
If you have osteoporosis (or come from a family with a history of it), this is as good as it gets. It's been tested in research in Asia and found successful in reversing bone loss. Or if you struggle to meet your calcium needs and don't want to drink a lot of milk, then this milk drink may be for you. You may not like its texture however. Unlike other low-fat milks, it tastes really thick and viscous, thanks to three vegetable gums that thicken.
MILK NO 3 - Farmers Best Original™
(Editor's note: this milk no longer exists)
This milk is made by removing almost all the saturated fat from regular milk and replacing it with a little monounsaturated fat so it's healthier for the heart. It was one of the earliest ‘modified' milks.
At 1.4%, Farmers Best has a similar fat content to light milks but a lot less saturated fat. Only one-third of the total fat is saturated compared to two-thirds in other milks. It tastes better than skim milk and you get more calcium.
Is it for you?
It's hard to know who will benefit from this. If you have high cholesterol, you're better off with Heart Active with plant sterols. If your cholesterol is normal and you just want to cut back on saturated fat but you don't like the taste of skim milk, then Farmers Best is for you.
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