January 14, 2009

You Ask, I Answer: Reduced Fat Milk

I'm REALLY confused.

I know that "reduced fat" milk is a newer term for what used to be called "2 percent" milk, but why was it called 2 percent?

I can't figure it out!
If you look at the nutrition label on a carton of "reduced fat" milk, it says that one cup has 123 calories and 5 grams of fat, which equals 8 percent of the Daily Value of fat.

So how did they ever get the "2 percent" figure?

-- Helen Berry
Seattle, WA

Your question perfectly demonstrates some of the reasoning behind the 1998 milk name-change -- most people had no clue what "two percent" meant!

Or, if they did, they were incorrect (i.e.: thinking each cup of "two percent" milk only contained "two percent" of the daily value of fat.)

Alas, the two percent figure is the product of dividing the grams of fat per serving by the total grams of everything (the rest of what is in milk, including protein, carbohydrates, and water) in that same serving.

Using real numbers, you simply divide the 5 grams of total fat in one cup of reduced-fat milk by the 244 grams of everything that make up that cup of reduced-fat milk and you get the magical 2 percent figure.

A useless figure, as far as I'm concerned. Daily Values are far more informative -- and important.


healthy nutrition said...

This is an excellent post. Even I really did not realize the difference after they began changing the labels.

Anonymous said...

Great post! I'm still confused about which kind to buy. 2% tastes better than skim, but is it too high in fat for daily consumption?