Nutritional oxymoron: Fat-free milk with omega-3’s

When I saw an ad for this milk the other day, I couldn’t help but laugh.

A milk that contains DHA cannot, in a strict sense of the word, be fat-free.

Also, it’s kind of funny that the company first skims the milk of all its fat, and then goes back and adds fat in.

So how is it “fat-free?” Although I could not find any information about the amount of DHA in each serving on Horizon’s website (nor can I find it on their nutrition label—hmm), an article in the Chicago Tribune claims each serving contains 32mg DHA, which is so little that the company can still legally call the milk “fat-free.” (Smart Balance also sells fat-free milk with DHA.)

But if the milk contains so few omega-3s, is it likely to actually provide health benefits? Not really. The American Heart Association recommends that healthy people consume at least two servings of fatty fish per week, which, based on the amount of DHA in a serving of salmon, adds up to about 2.9 grams of DHA each week. You would have to drink 91 glasses (!) of Horizon’s milk per week to get that much. People with established heart disease, who the AHA advises should consume one gram of omega-3 supplements each day, would have to drink 13 1/3 glasses of the milk every single day. Far better to cook up some fish, I think.  (And I don’t even really like fish.)

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6 Responses to Nutritional oxymoron: Fat-free milk with omega-3’s

  1. Old Geezer says:

    That is somewhat like the “Fat free” cooking spray that has zero mg of fat per serving because a “serving” is defined as a 1/4 second spray of product. Read the label for a good laugh.

  2. Yes, definitely. I think I have some of that spray in my cupboard…I will check out the label. :)

  3. Pingback: A fishy remedy for women’s heart problems – Times of Malta | Philippines -

  4. When the customer comes back and complains that this fatfree milk can’t contain Omega 3, the seller may give this (classic) answer:

    – There you see! It works! You still have healthy brains.

  5. Paul says:

    Hilarious! And a perfect example of two things:

    1) Supidity: As you indicated, a milk that contains an added fat – albeit a “good” fat, can’t possibly be labeled “fat free.” Duh.

    2) Label dressing: Retailers do this all the time; include a mere sprinkling of an ingredient in their product, claim all of the benefits attributed to a full sized therapeutic dose, and charge a premium for their product.

    It’s highway robbery.

    What’s worse is that the people who buy this stuff think they’re doing something helpful and healthful for themselves.

    Great blog, BTW. Just discovered today after doing some surfing over at Obesity Panacea!