There are so many types of milk: goat milk, buttermilk, almond milk, whole milk, 2%, and skim milk. Let’s keep to the basics and look at the difference in skim and whole dairy milk. Skim milk contains less fat that whole milk, but how does skim milk nutrition differ from other milk?
Skim Milk Nutrition
The obvious difference between a cup of skim milk and whole milk is the fat content. 1 cup of skimmed milk has 0.4g of total fat. Whole milk has a total of 7.9g of total fat. If you are trying to cut fat out of your diet then go with skim milk. However, cutting all fats out of your diet isn’t going to be the weight loss cure you are looking for. In fact, we have been misinformed for the last few decades. Good fats have many benefits, and cutting fats is not going to result in significant weight loss. In fact, healthy fats in your diet will help your body use protein to burn weight. Milk has good fats and is free of trans fats (bad fats).
Skim milk has a higher omega-6 to omega-3 ratio, but the overall amount of these fatty acids is so small that it won’t make a huge difference. Whole milk has a good amount of these fats with a 5:3 ratio, which isn’t perfect but isn’t too bad.
Most of the vitamin and mineral levels are pretty comparable between kinds of milk. Dairy milk is a good source of phosphorus, potassium, calcium, riboflavin, and B12. Milk from grass fed cows will also be a good source of vitamin K2.
The biggest differences are in the levels of vitamin A and vitamin D. Skim milk has almost no vitamin A, while whole milk has 5% of your daily value. 5% may not seem like a lot, but it does make a difference. It is important to get your vitamins from good whole food when you can and this is one way to add an important nutrient into your diet.
Vitamin A is essential for ocular health, fighting inflammation, and is a cancer preventer. Also, the type of vitamin A in milk is retinol, which is the best type of this nutrient. It is already in a form that the body can use and will do the most good for your health.
There is a significant difference in the levels of vitamin D in types of milk. Skim milk has no vitamin D, while whole milk has 24% of your daily value. If you aren’t getting direct skin to sun contact, you are most likely vitamin D deficient. Since most people are working during peak sun hours or wearing sunscreen, most people are not getting enough of this vitamin.
Vitamin D is arguably the most important vitamin. Humans (and animals) cannot thrive without it. It affects hormones like testosterone, human growth hormone, and estrogen. It plays a key role in our immune system, and inflammation. It’s also needed by our body for calcium metabolism and bone formation.
You can make arguments for any type of milk. Skim milk is a good source of calcium but it is missing some critical nutrients. We tend to keep it simple and stick with good whole food. The less processing the better!