Long-winded answer, but in short: Whole milk is better for you if you are a toddler of about two years or younger, outside of that, lose the fat.
“Whole milk is a good option for toddlers over age 12 months who aren’t breastfeeding and who aren’t drinking a toddler formula. According to the AAP, in their Guide To Your Child’s Nutrition, these ‘young children need calories from fat for growth and brain development,’ and ‘this is especially important in the first 2 years of life.'”
It really does make a difference though, per 8 ounce servings:
* Whole Milk – 150 Calories – 8g Fat
* 2% Milk – 120 Calories – 4.5g Fat
* 1% Milk – 100 Calories – 2.5g Fat
* Skim Milk – 80 Calories – 0g Fat
Ironically, while processing normally strips out nutrients in other foods like whole grains, in the case of skim milk, the skim or fat-free varieties of milk are actually more nutritionally-dense than the whole or full-fat versions. You lose the stuff you don’t want — namely the artery-clogging fat — and you end up with more of the good stuff (protein) gram-for-gram than with the whole milk. This is because when you remove the fat, you increase the amount of protein available in the same amount of liquid.
8 oz whole milk:
* Protein: 7.9 g
* Carbs: 11 g
* Calcium: 276.1 mg
* Potassium: 349 mg
* Cholesterol: 24 mg
* Sodium: 98 mg
8 oz skim milk:
* Protein: 8.7 g
* Carbohydrates: 12.3 g
* Calcium: 349 mg
* Potassium: 419 mg
* Cholesterol: 5 mg
* Sodium: 130 mg
Carbohydrates are slightly higher in skim milk versus whole milk, and so are sodium or salt levels, but this is a function of removing the fat from skim milk, which leaves behind a slightly higher ratio of sodium and carbohydrates by volume. Manufacturers do not add salt to skim milk. The skim milk is also significantly higher in potassium and calcium. In terms of cholesterol and skim milk, skim has much less cholesterol than whole milk.
In terms of vitamins and minerals, whole milk does naturally contain fat-soluble Vitamins A, D, E and K, but these vitamins are concentrated in the fat within the milk. Since skim milk has had the fat removed, manufacturers fortify skim milk with Vitamins A and D in order to restore the natural-vitamin profile of the milk. So in this regard, the Vitamin profile of whole milk is “more natural” than skim. However, from a total vitamin perspective, the fortification process makes the two more or less equal on this front (without the added calories and fat of whole milk.)
Generally, whole milk is not better for your body than skim milk. Animal fat, including dairy fat, is the worst kind of fat to put into your body. Eating foods with animal fats increases your cholesterol and saturated fat is stored in your body, increasing your risk of blood clots, strokes, heart attacks, heart disease, and obesity. Furthermore, animal fat is the most likely food substance to store toxins from herbicides, pesticides and insecticides. Therefore, if you’re going to eat dairy or any animal products, go lean!
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