Even with the nutrition facts label being right on the containers of milk, there seems to be a lot of confusion about which is healthier because of the differing opinions of “experts” in the media, so I decided it was time to shine the light of truth on the subject.
Skim milk is the MOST nutrient dense of the milks, which means that there are more good-for-you nutrients per calorie (such as calcium and protein). In other words, by drinking skim milk instead of whole milk, you will be getting all of the good nutrients you need for much less calories and NO fat. On the nutrition labels to the right, you can see that both have 8g protein, but almost twice the calories in whole milk plus lots of unhealthy fat. This makes skim milk better for your heart AND your waistline. To also illustrate how bad whole milk is for you, keep in mind that there is the same amount of saturated fat in 1 cup of whole milk as there is in 5 strips of bacon.
In addition, I recently heard that someone well-known in the media (not mentioning names for liability purposes) said that skim milk will make you fat vs whole milk because there is more sugar in skim milk. This is NOT TRUE. Notice on the labels above that there is the same amount of sugar in both types of milk (12g), so it’s a fact, not my opinion, that they have equal amounts of sugar. For that matter, I would also like to dispute the fact that this person also stated you should “stay away from fatty vegetables like corn and peas.” First of all, STARCH and FAT are two different nutrients that play two different roles in the body. These vegetables are considered starches because they are high in carbohydrates and should not be counted as your vegetables for the day, however they are not fatty. As long as you count them as carbohydrates in your daily intake and not your vegetables, they can definitely be included in your healthy lifestyle!
To eliminate further confusion about whole milk vs skim milk, I have listed the general guidelines for what type of milk is the most appropriate for each age group as stated in The Dietary Guidelines for Americans written by the US Department of Health and Human Services and the USDA:
- Infants 0-1 year =NO cow’s milk (will cause iron deficiency)
- Toddlers 1-2 years= whole milk
- Ages 2+ years= skim or 1% milk