Diabetes can affect anyone, and it can be difficult to know what is safe for diabetics to eat. There are many foods that can be healthy for you as a diabetic, such as yogurt and eggs. Milk can also be an excellent source of nutrition! But can diabetics drink milk? What kind of milk should they drink? Read on to find out more about this common food question!

It can be very confusing for diabetics to drink milk. Many people say that can't drink milk because it can cause a spike in blood sugar levels, but is this true? Let's find out!

Can a Diabetic Drink Milk?

It can be very confusing for people with diabetes to drink milk. Many people say that can't drink milk because it can cause a spike in blood glucose levels, but is this true? A diabetic can drink milk if they pay attention to a few things. First, it's important to drink the right kind of milk and only eat small portions at a time.

In general, one cup of milk contains 11 grams of sugar. In comparison, most fresh fruit has around 15-20g each! So as you can see from this fact alone, dairy products are not going to cause your blood sugars levels to skyrocket like many people say that they will.

There is also 12% calcium in every serving which provides an excellent source of nutrition for diabetics who need extra calcium intake without eating too much saturated fat or calories.

What Is The Glycemic Index of Milk?

The glycemic index is a number that represents how quickly a food will cause your blood glucose levels to rise. The glycemic index (GI) of whole milk is around 31 and the glycemic load (GL) is 4, which isn't too bad! This means that drinking milk won't cause the same spike in blood sugars as many other types of foods with many carbohydrates do.

The important thing to remember when you drink dairy products like milk or eat yogurt is not to overdo it because these foods can still raise your blood sugars if eaten excessively and/or without exercise afterward. 

What Are The Health Benefits of Drinking Milk?

There is a difference between low-fat milk and whole milk but each kind of milk has benefits for diabetics. Milk is a great source of calcium and vitamin D which can help with blood pressure, osteoporosis, PMS symptoms, and weight loss!

Low-fat milk contains lower calorie content so it's a smart choice for people trying to lose weight or those who are at risk for diabetes. It also has the same amount of calcium as whole milk but half the fat content!

Milk and dairy foods are an excellent food option that should not be avoided by diabetics because there are many benefits including vitamins and minerals your body needs in order to stay healthy.

Always make sure your dairy consumption is moderate and try to look for fat-free milk or other alternatives.

Can I Drink Milk to Lower My Blood Sugar Levels?

Yes, a study found that if you drink milk with higher protein content, there is a chance it can help to lower blood sugar levels. One study showed that eating high-carbohydrate meals with milk reduced the rise in glucose more than when carbs were eaten alone!

This may be due to the fact that milk slows down digestion and absorption of carbohydrates into your body which reduces how fast insulin spikes are released after you eat. A slower release means lower blood sugars for longer periods of time instead of an immediate spike followed by an extremely low drop-off. 

Which Milk Has the Least Amount of Sugar?

Milk has a lot of nutrients so it's important to drink milk but you need to know which kind of milk is best for diabetics. Low-fat or skim milk has the least amount of sugar while whole milk contains more fat and calories so this would not be a good choice for diabetics who are trying to lose weight. There are also a lot of different varieties like almond milk, flax milk, coconut milk, or goat milk which can be a healthier choice depending on your preference.

The following is a list of milk's nutritional values, as seen on the USDA website. All cup sizes are for 1 cup, or 8 ounces, of milk:

Whole milk

  • Calories: 149
  • Fat: 8 g
  • Carbohydrate: 12 g
  • Fiber: 0g
  • Protein: 8 g
  • Calcium: 276 mg

Skim milk

  • Calories: 91
  • Fat: 0.61 g
  • Carbohydrate: 12 g
  • Fiber: 0 g
  • Protein: 9 g
  • Calcium: 316 mg

Almond milk (unsweetened)

  • Calories: 39
  • Fat: 2.88 g
  • Carbohydrate: 1.52 g
  • Fiber: 0.5-1 g (depends on brand)
  • Protein: 1.55 g
  • Calcium: 516 mg

Soy milk (unsweetened)

  • Calories: 79
  • Fat: 4.01 g
  • Carbohydrate: 4.01 g
  • Fiber: 1 g
  • Protein: 7 g
  • Calcium: 300 mg

Flax milk (unsweetened, no protein added)

  • Calories: 24
  • Fat: 2.50 g
  • Carbohydrate: 1.02 g
  • Fiber: 0 g (depends on brand)
  • Protein: 0 g
  • Calcium: 300 mg

Rice milk (unsweetened)

  • Calories: 113
  • Fat: 2.33 g
  • Carbohydrate: 22 g
  • Fiber: 0.7 g
  • Protein: 0.67 g
  • Calcium: 283 mg

What Type of Milk Should I Avoid?

Milk that contains more carbs, sugar, and fat should be avoided by diabetics.

If you have type one diabetes, always consult with your doctor before drinking any kind of dairy product because every person's blood sugar levels are different.

Some kinds of milk that you should avoid are:

  • Whole milk
  • Evaporated or condensed milk
  • Sugar-sweetened flavored milk like chocolate, strawberry, banana cream, and more
  • Milk with added ingredients such as sugar and high fructose corn syrup (HFCS).

HFCS is found in many processed foods including bread, lunch meats, yogurt cups, and even salad dressings. If you come across any ingredient that ends with "ose" it means there's a lot of natural sugars from fruit which can be extremely harmful to diabetics who have problems maintaining blood sugar levels!

This includes:

  • Sucrose
  • Glucose
  • Dextrose
  • Lactose
  • Galactose

What Are Good Milk Alternatives?

If you are lactose intolerant or have a dairy allergy there are plenty of alternatives that you can drink. Some of the alternatives are:

  • Soy milk
  • Rice milk
  • Almond milk
  • Flax milk
  • Coconut milk (made from the flesh of a coconut)
  • Oat Milk (made by blending oats with water and straining it through cheesecloth. The leftover pulp is oat flour.)
Almond Milk As An Alternative

People who have allergies to soy, dairy products, yeast, or nuts should avoid these alternatives because they might cause inflammation in your body. Drinking any kind of alternative that you're allergic to can lead to more serious complications such as breathing difficulties and skin outbreaks!

Always consult with a doctor before making drastic changes in your diet if this applies to you. If you are diabetic, always check the nutrition facts on packages so that you don't consume something that can spike your blood sugar.

Conclusion

The benefits of drinking milk are endless! Milk is an excellent source of calcium and vitamin D which can help with blood pressure, osteoporosis, PMS symptoms, and weight loss. Low-fat milk contains lower calorie content so it's a smart choice for people with diabetes and people trying to lose weight or those who are at risk for diabetes. It also has the same amount of calcium as whole milk but half the fat content!

Milk is an excellent food option that should not be avoided by diabetics because there are many benefits including vitamins and minerals your body needs in order to stay healthy.

About the Author

Ely Fornoville

Hi, I'm Ely Fornoville and I am the founder of Diabetic & Me. Being a type 1 diabetic since 1996 I developed a passion to help people learn more about diabetes. I write about diabetes and share stories from other diabetics around the world. I am currently using a Freestyle Libre CGM and a Minimed 640G insulin pump with Humalog.

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