Skim Milk vs. Milk: Which Is Healthier?

Skim milk is the choice for many women who want to lose weight. It contains extra calcium and fortified vitamins without the additional calories from whole milk. The latter may taste better, but against whole milk, which is healthier?

Why Use Skim Milk?

If you have ever tried whole milk, the lid is usually full of fat and it has a fuller creamy flavor. Fat is skimmed off fat free or skim milk to reduce the overall fat content and calories. Fat is filling to the body and keeps the body fuller for a longer period of time. If the same foods can be purchased fat-free, most would choose the latter version.

Skim milk contains 0.5 percent of milk fat or less, whereas whole milk contains 3.5 percent. Skim milk is obviously a healthier choice to reduce the consumption of fat in the body. For each cupl of skim milk (16 oz.) there are 91 calories compared to 147 calories in whole milk.

Positives and Negatives of Skim Milk

  • Positive. Skim milk contains more calcium than whole milk. The top layer of whole milk containing fat does not contain calcium, so by drinking the same amount of skim milk more essential calcium is absorbed by the body to build strong bones.
  • Negative. It can taste watery and bland. Extra sugar or sweeteners may be added to low fat products to add flavor.
  • Positive. Contains less fat and calories. If you switch to skim milk, enjoy saving 1/3 of the calories in whole milk. The fat percentage is drastically reduced per 16 oz. cupful from 3.5 percent (whole milk) to 0.5 percent.
  • Negative. The body cannot absorb calcium from skim milk without the fat.
  • Negative. Both vitamin A and D – contained in milk – are fat soluable. Without the fat, the body cannot absorb vitamins or the proteins in milk.

Positives and Negatives of Whole Milk

Whole milk products do taste better than skim milk products if you can live with the fact that what you consume will be higher in fat and calories.

  • Positive. The body is better able to absorb calcium, essential amino acids contained in the proteins, and vitamins A and D because of the fat content in whole milk.
  • Positive. Glycosphingolipids are contained in milk fat and improve the health of the immune system and metabolism.
  • Positive. Studies have shown that, in moderation, consuming the right kinds of saturated fats – like those found in milk – work to raise High Density Lipoprotein levels (good cholesterol).
  • Negative. Too much whole milk will cause weight gain because of the calorific and fat content.
  • Positive. Whole foods are nutritional because they are not processed.

Which Is Healthier?

Contrary to popular belief, most people believe that skim milk is healthier because of its lower fat content. Whole milk, in moderation, is healthier for the body because it can absorb the vitamins and calcium more easily. When any food undergoes processing – including skim milk – the nutrient content often reduces too.


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