January 20, 2009

You Ask, I Answer: Skim vs. 2% Milk

I'm still confused about which kind [of milk] to buy.

[Reduced fat, or 2%] tastes better than skim, but is it too high in fat for daily consumption?

-- Anonymous
Via the blog

"Reduced fat" (2%) milk isn't really that high in total fat.

An eight-ounce cup of it contains 123 calories and five grams of fat.

This certainly isn't as high as the 13.5 grams of fat in a tablespoon of olive oil or the 164 calories and 14.3 grams of fat in a serving of almonds.

The main concern with reduced fat and whole milk is the amount of saturated, not total, fat.

Whereas that serving of almonds I mentioned above only provides 1.1 grams of saturated fat, the cup of reduced fat milk contains 3.1 grams of saturated fat.

That said, I think there is too much milk hysteria.

It is one thing to worry about using whole milk in a 24 ounce latte (where half the beverage consists of milk).

However, someone who only drinks one cup of coffee with two tablespoons of milk in it each day should not be that worried about the type of milk they use.

Consider the facts below:

Two tablespoons of skim milk contain 12 calories and 0.1 grams of saturated fat.

Two tablespoons of reduced fat (2%) milk contain 16 calories and 0.4 grams of saturated fat.

Two tablespoons of whole milk contain 19 calories and 0.6 grams of saturated fat.

That is one situation where I suggest using two tablespoons of whatever milk you like best, since the differences are rather minimal.

Additionally, if someone is already cutting calories, drinking their sole cup of coffee with whole -- rather than skim -- milk may help feel less deprived and, therefore, stay more motivated with the rest of their new eating regimen.

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