Q: Why choose 1 or 2 percent milk when whole milk is only 3.7 percent fat? Isnt that too small a difference to worry about?
A: Those numbers can be deceiving. The percentage-of-fat figures refer to how much of the weight of the milk comes from fat.
To see the impact of your milk choice from another perspective, look at the difference in calorie content and the actual amount of fat in each type of milk. The recommended choices for most adults, nonfat (skim) and 1 percent (low-fat) milk, contain 86 to 105 calories in each eight-ounce glass, and 0.4 to 2.4 grams of fat.
Two-percent milk, which contains about 120 to 125 calories and 4.7 grams of fat in the same portion, is appropriate for people with higher calorie needs and who dont eat a lot of high-fat foods (especially children).
Whole milk is appropriate for toddlers and for people who are having trouble getting all the fat and calories they need. But at 155 to 160 calories and almost 9 grams of fat per glass, its not the best choice for most adults, especially those who consume more fat and calories than they need.
Keep in mind that the more milk someone drinks, the more significant that difference becomes. Also, more than half of that fat is saturated, a concern for heart disease and cancer risk. For many people, three eight-ounce glasses of whole milk provide more than the recommended limit of saturated fat for a whole day and thats without counting the meat or other sources of saturated fat that may also be consumed.
By Karen Collins, MS, RD, CDN
American Institute for Cancer Research
Reproduced with Permission