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.
There are many critical nutrients in skim milk, including a significant amount of protein, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, sodium, zinc, and potassium. In vitamins, it is rich in vitamins A, B2, B3, B6, B12, and D, as well as thiamine and folate. A cup of skim milk has 8 grams of high-quality, complete protein, which contains all essential 9 amino acids required for the growth and development. It is low in calories and has a very low level of cholesterol and fat.
The most important benefits of skim milk include its ability to build and maintain lean muscle, lower risk of osteoporosis, strengthen teeth, boost weight loss, improve cholesterol levels, among others.
It is a rich source of complete protein containing all essential amino acids, which is responsible for building and maintaining lean muscle mass.
Calcium, which is found in high levels in this milk, is integral to muscle and overall nervous system function. This critical electrolyte level must be maintained for normal activity.
The skimmed version has roughly half the calories of whole milk, so for those who are trying to watch their overall calorie intake, it can help aid weight loss efforts.
Growth & Development
Low-fat milk contains a good amount of protein, which helps in the proper growth and development of bones, muscles, cells, and tissues.
Bone Mineral Density
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.
People who switched from whole milk to non-fat milk lowered their cholesterol levels by 7% and the LDL (bad) cholesterol by 11% after six weeks.
Blood Sugar Levels
Types of Skim Milk
The different types of skim milk are:
- Nonfat dry milk: It is a powdered form of skim milk that lacks water and cream
- Concentrated skim milk: It is nonfat milk from which a certain amount of water has been removed. This gives the skim milk a thicker consistency. It is also a more concentrated source of protein, natural sugar, vitamins, and minerals
- Reconstituted skim milk: It is nonfat dry milk with water added to it, forming the consistency of regular skim milk
- Organic skim milk: This is made from milk that comes from cows which are not treated with synthetic growth hormones or antibiotics, and given only organic feed.
Skim Milk Vs Fat-Free Milk Vs 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. These include:
- Lowered 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 to use skim milk over whole milk.
- Diabetes: The glycemic index of the skimmed variety 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.
- Overeating: 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.