Milking It!

You would be correct in assuming that the thought of milk has udderly plagued my mind recently. I get ready for bed, I think about how cows get ready for bed. I go to sleep, I count cows instead of sheep. I wake up, I think about if the cows have also woken up. I eat breakfast, I consider the cow that’s given me the milk for my granola. I hop on the ferry to work; I wonder how many cows there are in that paddock in the distant horizon…

From this, I think you’ve gotten a pretty good insight into my mind as of recently. I cannot help but think about all things dairy since starting an internship at Fonterra about a month ago – New Zealand’s largest company, responsible for 30% of the world’s dairy exports. So, you won’t be surprised to hear that my milk consumption has skyrocketed now I am at Fonterra. I have become quite the milk snob too actually. The zero lacto milk I highly rate (note that it is pretty sweet tasting but that is just what I like sadly).

Despite my recent obsession with milk, I had previously learnt a lot about it at university. My nutrition lecturers always talked about the nutritional value and the importance of drinking milk. In my role at Fonterra, I have been learning entirely different things about milk in a supply chain context i.e. where the it comes from and how it distributed within and outside of NZ.

With my dairy knowledge now absolutely bursting at the seams I couldn’t help but think about milk  and type 1 diabetics (T1D)… What effect does eating/drinking dairy have on my blood glucose levels?

To understand this one has to know what the Glycaemic index (GI) is. GI tells us how quickly a food raises blood sugar. This is so very helpful when it comes to managing T1D as we’re trying to maintain a stable blood sugar within an ideal range. Carbohydrates are digested and absorbed at different rates and GI ranks how fast each carbohydrate-based food/drink makes blood sugar levels rise having eating them.

Now, milk and other dairy foods have a relatively low GI because of the moderate GI effect of the lactose (the natural sugar in milk) added with the effect of the milk protein, which slows down the speed of stomach emptying. This means dairy is a good choice for avoiding massive blood sugar spikes and subsequent inflammation.

So next time I pour myself a tall glass of milk, I’ll think about its nutritional benefit, the grass to glass process and distribution channels and finally just how easy it is a take a big swig of the golden liquid as someone with T1D.

Happy New Year!

Glucose upon publishing: 6.6mmol/L

9 thoughts on “Milking It!

  1. Glad you are enjoying life at Fonterra. I didn’t realise that it was such a big company.
    All the very best for 2023.
    Love Grandad

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