Types of Milk Explained
Many Americans have milk in their refrigerator, but what types of milk are they drinking? There are different types of dairy milk to fit every age and lifestyle – whether it’s organic, flavored or lactose-free, there are a variety of fat and calorie levels to choose from.
The primary options available are whole milk (3.25 percent), reduced-fat milk (2 percent), lowfat milk (1 percent) and fat free milk (less than 0.2 percent). These percentages, which tell how much milk fat is in the milk by weight, are indicated on the label and designated by different cap and label colors.
Every variety of dairy milk, whether lowfat or fat free, contains nine essential nutrients, including eight grams of high-quality protein per cup. Measuring milk fat percentages by weight can seem confusing, but the different types of milk only differ in calories and fat grams, not nutrients. Here’s more information about the different types of milk:
Whole milk contains 150 calories with eight grams of fat per 8-ounce glass and is actually 3.25 percent milkfat by weight, which is not as much as many people think. Many Americans are concerned about consuming fat, but a growing body of research suggests that not all saturated fats are the same, and there may be health benefits from consuming the saturated fats found in dairy. While more research is needed on the potential benefits of dairy fats, many experts agree on milk’s important role in a healthy diet, no matter the kind of dairy milk.
Reduced-fat milk, or two percent milk, contains 120 calories and five grams of fat, and has the same nine essential nutrients as every other type of dairy milk. The percentage does not mean that the glass of milk contains two percent fat, but that the milkfat is two percent of the total weight of the milk.
Similar to reduced-fat milk, lowfat milk has one percent milkfat of the total weight of the milk. It contains 100 calories and 2.5 grams of fat in an 8-ounce glass.
Fat free milk
If you want to get the same nutrients as whole milk while cutting calories and fat, fat free milk is a good choice. The fat is skimmed, leaving zero grams of fat and 80 calories per cup. Many people believe that fat free milk is just watered down whole milk, but that is not the case – no water is added and all nine essential nutrients remain intact.
No matter the fat percentage, dairy milk makes a great smoothie base. Try this recipe to incorporate milk’s nutrients into your day, and for more ideas, visit milklife.com.
Protein-Packed Berry Burst Smoothie
- 1 packet plain instant oatmeal
- 1/2 cup lowfat or fat free milk
- 1/2 cup strawberries, hulled and chopped
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon walnuts, chopped
- In carafe of blender, combine oatmeal, milk, strawberries, honey and cinnamon. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
- In the morning, blend mixture until smooth. Top with chopped walnuts.