Dr. Becky Maes - Is It Bad For You? Approved by Dr. Becky Maes

Is Skim Milk Bad For You?

Also Known As: skimmed milk



Short answer

Skim milk is bad for you. Cows’ milk, in general, has negative effects on the body. If you must drink cows’ milk, opt for an organic whole milk variety, in moderation.



Recommended Alternative

Long answer

Got milk?  Skim milk is promoted as the healthiest option for milk drinkers – all the nutrients, with none of the fats, fewer calories, and less risk of heart disease.  Of course, there is a catch.  Skim milk does contain nutrients without fats – but that is the problem.  We need fats to make us feel full and activate hormones that tell us when we are full.  Without enough fats, we stay hungry.  Additionally, we do not really get many vitamins from milk.  As with whole milk, the vitamins are removed from milk products while being processed.  Thus, you can get those same essential vitamins in your daily living multi-vitamin.  As for skim milk, the vitamins added in are useless, since they are fat-soluble—but it makes people feel better knowing they are there.

The trend toward eliminating dietary fats started sometime around the middle of the 20th century when people became convinced that fat was the enemy.  Rich butter was replaced with margarine, and whole milk was dumped, in favor of the fat-free variety.  Prior to this time, skim milk was considered to be the byproduct of dairy—the waste.  As with many waste products on farms, it was fed to the scavengers (pigs) to fatten them up for the slaughter, due to the aforementioned hormonal correlation of fat and hunger.  As new popularity surrounded this waste product and its claim as a “healthy beverage”, farmers began to sell a product that was previously useless. 

Removal of the rich fatty part of whole milk resulted in a chalky tasting, watery liquid, with a light blue hue.  To make it palatable to the consumers, powdered milk solids had to be added to whiten and thicken the liquid.  The processing of powdered milk causes milk cholesterol to oxidize and toxic nitrites are formed.  This oxidized form of cholesterol causes unhealthy plaque buildup in the arteries, while conversely, non-oxidized cholesterol from natural, whole, unprocessed foods, is an antioxidant.  Antioxidants are known for fighting inflammation in the body.  The powdered milk solids that are used in the skim milk process contain proteins too denatured for the body to recognize and use them.  Dairy manufacturers are not required by the FDA to list the powdered milk solids in the ingredients because technically, it is just milk.  It is ironic that that skim milk is claimed to decrease cholesterol over whole milk, but due to the excessive factory processing, it actually increases cholesterol.

Many believe that the "fat-free fearmongering" phenomenon was a result of lobbying deals towards an agenda among drug companies, government officials, farmers, and plant processors.  The original research done on low-fat diets and saturated fats would not pass current rigorous standards of research and has been debunked many times by modern day scientists.  However, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) stands by their vivacious claim to avoid full-fat dairy products.

A note about Cows’ milk:

Cows’ milk, in general, was never intended to be used for human consumption.  The milk is created solely for the purpose to nourish young calves, just as human breast milk is created for infants.  As with other mammals, the young calves no longer consume their mother’s milk after infancy.  Humans are the only mammal on earth, respectively, that feasts on another animal’s milk.  

The concerns associated with the consumption of cows’ milk, in general, go well beyond the illogical use of drinking another mammal’s milk.  Most of the cows used in mass-producing dairy farms are kept in confinement and fed an unnatural diet, consisting of “roughage”, or what the FDA quotes as, “grass, grain, or byproducts”.  These “byproducts” include parts of other animals.  Byproducts are the parts of the animal not intended for human consumption and often include animal waste among other unimaginable things.  This is a drastic change from the clean grass diet these herbivores were made to graze upon. 

This environment is ripe for infection and they are treated with antibiotics that are passed along into the milk found at the grocery store.  (Think-- mad cow disease.)  While they are fighting infection, the cows produce pus and may bleed from open sores.  Both blood and pus are passed along in the milk that consumers purchase.  The FDA allows 750 million pus cells per liter of milk.

Due to the need for mass production, the cows are also loaded up with hormones that are very harmful to the human body.  Among those hormones is recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH)--a known carcinogenic.  This genetically modified hormone is banned in many other countries.

If you cannot imagine life without skim milk, or milk in general, there are alternatives to your local grocery store brand.  In small amounts, organic whole milk is not harmful.  The key is moderation.  It is reasonable to put a little bit in your coffee or cereal—but lean away from drink large glasses of milk.  Other alternatives include soy milk, rice milk, and almond milk.  Though these varieties are not made from cows, they do come with their own risks.  It is always best to quench your thirst with nature’s best—a clean bottle of purified water.


Things cows are typically treated with



Niflumic Acid

Mefenamic Acid









Sex hormones (17-beta-estradiol)

Steroid hormones (17-alpha-ethinylestradiol)

Growth Hormones (Genetically engineered recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone -rBGH)

Natural hormones (Estrone)



Anti-fungal drugs (Triclosan)

Antibiotics (Florfenicol)

Anti-malaria drugs (Pyrimethamine)

Lipid regulators



Possible short-term side effects

  • acne
  • gastrointestinal distress
  • inflammation in the body
  • infertility
  • creates excessive mucus

Possible long-term side effects

  • skin aging
  • early puberty (hormones)
  • hormonal imbalance
  • cancer
  • immunity to antibiotics
  • calcium deficiency
  • frail bones/osteoporosis

Ingredients to be aware of

  • casein
  • lactose

Healthier alternatives

Our Wellness Pick (what is this?)

Silk Almond Milk

  • Dairy-Free Substitute
  • Unsweetened Vanilla
  • Plant-Based & Vegan
  • Non-GMO Verified
  • Shelf-Stable Convenience
Learn More!

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by DeeAnne Oldham
Published on: 03-03-2016
Last updated: 12-15-2023

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by DeeAnne Oldham
Published on: 03-03-2016
Last updated: 12-15-2023

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