What is Skim Milk?
Skim milk, also known as fat-free milk or nonfat milk, is a lower calorie and low-fat version of traditional full-fat milk. The majority of low-fat milk is fortified with vitamin A and vitamin D since these fat-soluble vitamins are often lost when the fat is extracted from whole milk.
Unlike what many people believe, skim milk contains the majority of nutrients of regular milk and is not “watered down”. While it does lack some of the flavors of whole milk, it can be an important alternative for people who are struggling with obesity. In the past, nonfat milk was made by allowing regular milk to sit and separate – allowing the high-fat cream to rise to the top, where it could be “skimmed” off the top and removed. Today, it is typically made through a process of centrifugal separation, in which most or all of the fat molecules are separated from the remainder of the milk. The milk is then homogenized, preventing any additional separation between the molecules, as they are all made of the same size.
Skim Milk Nutrition Facts
There are many critical nutrients in low-fat milk, including a significant amount of protein, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, sodium, zinc, and potassium. In vitamins, it is rich in vitamin A, vitamin B3, thiamine, vitamin B6, folate, vitamin D, vitamin B2, and vitamin B12. Skim milk is low in calories and has a very low level of cholesterol and fat.
Skim Milk Benefits
Skim milk is rich in various nutrients and helps in treating and preventing many health issues. Some of the benefits include:
- Lower risk of osteoporosis
- Stronger bones and teeth
- Healthy muscles
- Weight loss
- Improve cholesterol levels
- Blood pressure control
Improves Heart Health
Bone Mineral Density
Controls Blood Pressure
There is a good amount of potassium in skim milk, which can help to control blood pressure by relieving strain and tension in blood vessels and arteries.
Improves Muscle Function
Calcium, which is found in high levels in skim milk, is integral to muscle and overall nervous system function. This critical electrolyte level must be maintained for normal activity.
Low-fat milk contains a good amount of protein, which helps in the proper growth and development of bones, muscles, cells, and tissues.
Difference: Skim Milk, Fat-Free Milk & Whole Milk
- Fat content: Most skim milk has 0-0.5% fat, whereas whole milk has roughly 3.25% fat (roughly 8 grams per cup) and none of the fat is removed before it is pasteurized and homogenized.
- Cholesterol: There is about 24 mg of cholesterol per cup in whole milk, whereas skim milk has about 5 mg of cholesterol.
The other nutrients found in these milk varieties remain basically the same, although the vitamin A and vitamin D in low-fat milk tend to be synthetic, rather than natural. The other types of milk available in the dairy aisle include reduced-fat milk which has 2% fat and low-fat milk which has 1% fat. They are also known as 2% reduced-fat milk and 1% low-fat milk respectively.
Disadvantages of Skim Milk
Despite the obvious reduction in fat, calories, and cholesterol, there are some disadvantages to drinking skim milk, including lowered nutrient absorption, problems with diabetes, and a lack of satiation, which can lead to overeating.
Nutrient Absorption – Although low-fat milk is often fortified with vitamin A and vitamin D, synthetic vitamins are not always as readily absorbed by our body, which means that you may not be getting the full benefit of these vitamins when you choose skim milk over whole milk.
Diabetes – The glycemic index of skim milk is actually higher than whole fat milk, as saturated fat can have a stabilizing effect on blood sugar, and the entirety of carbohydrates found in it comes from sugar (lactose). For people with diabetes, it can cause you to have less control over your blood sugar levels.
Food Intake – One of the best things about whole milk is its ability to satiate your hunger, thanks to the fat content it possesses. Without that, low-fat milk is unable to quell your hunger pangs, which could lead you to eat less healthy snacks or overeat.