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Articles Fitness Nutrition

Skim Milk: Is It Healthy?

May 10, 2010

From a young age, you were programmed to believe that milk is healthy, but as you got older, you started questioning the differences between skim milk and whole milk. You know that skim milk is probably better for your waistline, since it contains virtually no fat, but is it really worth sacrificing the taste of whole milk and opt for the fat-free variety? Can skim milk provide the same nutrients as whole milk, and it is healthy? The answer to all these questions is simply, yes.

Nutrition of Skim Milk

Skim milk is also labeled as fat free milk, and in order for milk to be considered skim, it must contain less than 0.5% milk fat. In comparison, whole milk contains 3.5% fat and over half of this fat is saturated. One cup of skim milk holds 90 calories, while whole milk delivers 145 calories a serving.

Skim milk consists of the following nutrients:

  • Sodium – 130 mg
  • Carbohydrate – 13g
  • Sugars – 12g
  • Potassium – 382mg
  • Protein – 9g
  • Cholesterol – Less than 1%
  • Vitamin A – 10%
  • Vitamin C – 4%
  • Calcium – 30%
  • Vitamin D – 25%

Benefits of Skim Milk

Skim milk has the obvious benefits  of being kind to your waistline and not filling your body with fat or cholesterol. But, what about the nutritional potency of skim milk? Since the fat is removed, does this mean that vital nutrients are as well? While the fat content of skim milk decreases, the nutritional composition does not. In fact, some nutrients are actually increased during the fat removal process, such as protein, potassium and calcium.  

Drawbacks of Skim Milk

While skim milk delivers a lot of vitamins and minerals, some of these vitamins are fortified. Whole milk naturally contains fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K, which skim milk lacks since the fat is removed. Therefore, manufacturers will add vitamin A and D, which isn’t quite as natural, but still beneficial.

After the fat removal process, sodium and carbohydrates are left behind, leaving the sodium and carbohydrate content higher in skim milk than in whole milk. Another disadvantage of skim milk is that it contains 12g of sugar, as stated above. While skim milk should be included as part of a healthy weight loss routine, you must keep in mind that it does contain sugar. Therefore, limit your consumption to a serving or two a day.

Another drawback of skim milk, and of all milk for that matter, is that many adults suffer from lactose intolerance and cannot consume skim milk without experiencing discomfort. However, some lactose intolerant individuals find they can handle skim milk with greater ease than with whole milk. If you are lactose intolerant, there are still options available that will enable you to reap all the health benefits of skim milk. You can opt for skim milk that is lactose free or indulge in light soy milk.

All drawbacks aside, skim milk is considered healthy and should be a part of your balanced diet. In comparison to whole or low-fat milk, it comes out on top and should be your milk of choice.   

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