The health debate about whole milk and reduced fat milk has raged on for ages. Regardless, daily consumption of milk in general is highly encouraged by the food and nutrition guidelines established by the U.S. government. Milk naturally provides many nutrients in a single cup, more than most fruit juices and sports drinks. Understanding the differences between whole and 2 percent milk can make your decision on what to serve at the breakfast table a whole lot easier.
Whole Milk Macronutrients
One cup of whole milk from the shelf of your local grocer provides 150 calories, 8 g of fat, 12 g of carbohydrates and 8 g of protein. Five grams of the total fat content are saturated fat, while 11 g of carbohydrate come from sugar.
2 Percent Milk Macronutrients
Two percent milk contains 140 calories per one cup serving, 5 g of fat, 14 g of carbohydrates and 10 g of protein. Sugar content runs high in 2 percent milk, contributing 13 g to the carbohydrate content. On the other hand, saturated fat makes up only 3 g of the total fat content.
Vitamins and Minerals
Regardless of whether it is 2 percent or whole, milk is a nutrient-dense beverage. Milk provides 30 percent of your daily value for calcium, 25 percent for vitamin D, 24 percent for riboflavin, 20 percent for phosphorus, 11 percent for potassium and 10 percent for vitamins A and niacin. Sodium is high in milk, ranging from 120 to 150 milligrams per one cup serving.
Fat content is the primary difference between whole milk and 2 percent milk. Whole milk provides almost 50 percent of the RDA for fat calories in a single 8-oz. serving. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children under the age of 2 be served whole milk. The saturated fat content in whole milk aids in crucial growth and brain development that takes place during this stage of life. After age 2, children, teens and adults consume a sufficient amount of fat in their diets. So the extra fat content of whole milk is unnecessary, but the abundance of vitamins and minerals provided by low-fat milk is essential.