1% Milk vs. Skim Milk: What's the Difference?

What type of milk is best: skim or low-fat?
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The primary types of cow's milk are whole, 2-percent, 1-percent and skim. Skim and 1-percent milk contain less and fewer calories than whole and 2-percent — an advantage for the calorie-conscious but a drawback for children, who need higher-fat milk. But all varieties can be found fortified with vitamin A and D.

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Types of Milk

The percentages listed on the labels of milk let the consumer know how much fat is in the milk by weight.

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  • Low-fat or 1-percent milk contains only 1-percent milk fat.
  • Skim milk — also referred to as fat-free or non-fat milk — contains less than 0.2 percent milk fat.

Tip

Keep in mind that you should allow a small amount of fat in your diet to give your body energy and support bodily functions.

Fat and Calorie Content

You'll consume less fat and fewer calories when choosing skim milk over 1-percent milk. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Nutrient Database, 1-percent milk contains 102 calories and 2 grams of fat per 8-ounce serving. In comparison, skim milk has 83 calories and 0.2 grams of fat for the same serving size, per the USDA.

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Essential Nutrients

You aren't undermining your intake of essential nutrients when drinking skim milk instead of 1-percent. Non-fat milk contains 299 milligrams of calcium, 8 grams of protein and 382 milligrams of potassium, according to the USDA. Similarly, 1-percent milk has 305 milligrams of calcium, 8 grams of protein and 366 milligrams of potassium.

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Sugar and Carbohydrates

Although 1-percent milk has a slightly higher fat content, you won't be consuming a large amount of extra sugar with each serving. The total carbohydrates for low-fat milk is 12.18 grams and total sugars are 12.7 grams, notes the USDA. And skim milk has 12.5 grams of carbohydrates and 12.5 grams of sugars.

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