The primary types of cow's milk sold in grocery stores are whole milk, 2 percent milk, 1 percent milk and skim milk. Skim milk and 1 percent milk contain lower amounts of fat and calories than whole milk and 2 percent milk -- an advantage for calorie-conscious dieters but a drawback for children, who need higher-fat milk. Both varieties can be found fortified with essential nutrients such as vitamin A and vitamin D.
The percentages listed on the labels of milk let the consumer know how much fat content is in the milk by weight. Low-fat milk 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. 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 Calories
You'll consume less fat and calories when choosing skim milk over 1 percent milk. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, 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 per serving.
You are not undermining your intake of essential nutrients when drinking skim milk instead of 1 percent milk. Non-fat milk contains 299 milligrams of calcium, 8 grams of protein and 382 milligrams of potassium, according to the United States Department of Agriculture. Cow's milk with 1 percent fat content has 305 milligrams of calcium, 8 grams of protein and 366 milligrams of potassium.
Sugar and Carbohydrates
Although 1 percent milk has a slightly higher fat content, you will not be consuming a large amount of extra sugar with each serving. Total carbohydrates for low-fat milk are 12.18 grams and total sugars are 12.69 grams notes the United States Department of Agriculture. Skim milk has 12.5 grams of total carbohydrates and 12.47 grams of total sugars.