Skim Milk: Nutrition & Benefits

Skim milk is one of the most popular varieties of milk on the market, but many people don’t understand the specific benefits of skim milk versus other forms of this popular beverage.

What is Skim Milk?

Skim milk is quite simply a lower calorie and low-fat version of traditional full-fat milk. However, unlike what many people believe, it 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. 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.

In the past, skim 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, skim milk 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, and potassium, as well as vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin B2, and vitamin B12. There is a very low level of cholesterol and fat, as well as only 80 calories in an 8-ounce glass, as opposed to nearly 150 calories in a glass of whole milk.

Skim Milk Benefits

Skim milk contains protein, calcium, potassium, vitamin A, vitamin D. It benefits in keeping strong bones, muscles, & teeth, & aids in blood pressure control.

Improves Heart Health

With its lack of cholesterol levels, skim milk can lower your risk of atherosclerosis, and thus protect against other cardiovascular problems, such as heart attacks and strokes.

Bone Mineral Density

The rich density of minerals is ideal for boosting bone strength and reducing your risk of developing osteoporosis at a young age, helping you feel strong as you age.

Weight Loss

Skim milk 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.

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.

Promotes Growth

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 & Whole Milk

When comparing low-fat milk and whole milk, the difference is very clear. 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. In terms of cholesterol, there is about 24 mg of cholesterol per cup in whole milk, whereas skim milk has about 5 mg of cholesterol. This is important for people struggling to protect their heart health. 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 since the fat-removal process will also lower the amount of these vitamins.

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.

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