Fat Free Milk Versus Low Fat Milk

Not sure if you should be putting fat free or low fat milk in your cereal? Perhaps this comparison between the two will help you out.

Fat Free Milk

Fat free milk, also called fat-free, nonfat, non-fat or skim milk, is milk in which most of the fat has been removed (less than 0.5% by weight). It is produced by "skimming" the fat-rich cream that naturally rises to the top of raw milk. The resulting product is thinner and less filling than low fat or whole milk due to the reduced fat content.

Low Fat Milk

Low fat milk, also called low-fat or 1% milk, is milk with a fat content of 1% by weight. The term is also used as a generic term for milk with a fat content less than that of whole milk which includes 1% and 2% (reduced fat) milk.

Calories and Fat Content

A 1 cup serving of fat free milk contains about 80 calories and 0g fat whereas 1% milk delivers 100 calories and 2.5g fat and 2% milk delivers 120 calories and 4.5g fat;

Nutritional Differences

Both fat-free and low-fat milk are good sources of the minerals calcium, protein, potassium and magnesium as well as vitamins A and D (when fortified - which is typical). And both are recommended by nutritionists for adults because they pack less calories and saturated fats than whole milk. For young children, nutritionists recommend whole milk because their bodies require calories from fat for growth and brain development.

Some health experts question whether adults should exclusively consume fat-free or low-fat milk, based on studies indicating that the saturated fat and cholesterol in whole milk may actually have health benefits regardless of age. For this reason, some people choose to drink 2% milk which has a fat content half-way between fat-free and whole milk.

Taste Differences

Those who make the transition transition from whole milk to low fat milk (1% or 2%), find it to be an acceptable alternative although initially, it is often considered less tasty and fulfilling. Skim milk is a bit more challenging - some find it to be watery and thin with an unappealing bluish color. Others find it more refreshing and thirst-quenching than milk with a higher fat content, which some consider to be too creamy. Bottom line: skim milk is more of an acquired taste than low fat milk.