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Difference in Fat Content Between Whole, 2%, and Skim Milk

Updated on February 6, 2013
(click column header to sort results)
One cup whole (5%) milk  
One cup 2% milk  
One cup 1% Milk  
One cup skim milk  
Total Fat (g)
Carbs (g)
Fiber (g)
Sugar (g)
Protein (g)

Popular misconception

Milk is a staple in almost everyone's diet starting from the time we are born and get mommy's milk or some type of cow-based milk formula. It is also one of those things that people will develop a taste or habit for and depending on which type of milk you have "grown up on" you may be surprised to learn that the differences between our milk types go deeper than the color of the label!

If you are like me you always assumed that whole milk contained all of the natural goodness of milk along with all of the fatness that goes along with it! So you've happily slurped down your 2% all your life thinking that surely there is not much fat in this milk, after all it only has 2% of the fat that is normally in whole milk. Right?

Let's Take a Look at the Facts

Wrong! Whole milk normally contains about 8grams of fat per 8 ounces serving while 2% milk contains about 5grams. This is nowhere close to 2% of the fat content. It's not even 50%! Once you've wrapped your head around those numbers we can head over to the other sections of the table and see that skim or "non-fat" milk carries 0 or sometimes .5g of fat per serving. At this point we are finally starting to knock on that 2% figure compared to our whole milk.

The reason for the confusion lies in the natural makeup of cow's milk. "Whole" or raw cow's milk is made up of about 3.5-5% milk fat before any processing is done to it. Using 5% as the full amount of fat possible in milk makes a lot more sense as you would then compare them as 5%, 2%, and 1%.

Those of you that have struggled with weight all of your lives may not have been helping the issue by drinking your 4 glasses of good old fashioned whole milk everyday. In fact, one 8oz glass of whole milk contains approximately 150 calories compared to skim at around 90 calories. Cutting your drinkable calories in half while still retaining the useful vitamins and minerals found in the world's most consumed drink sounds like an easy decision in my book.

Putting skim milk in your coffee, cereal, smoothies, and baked goods will do wonders for your waistline while still giving those dishes the creamy addition that they need. If you are skeptical at first I urge you to check out the other colors in the dairy section to see if you might be willing to change your old ways and save a few calories in your glass that could be added to a meal or used to lose a little weight before the summer rolls in!

What's in your carton?

Which type of milk do you prefer?

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    • Angela Brummer profile image

      Angela Brummer 

      6 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

      Really great information!


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