Thoughts of milk may conjure up childhood memories of carton filled half-pints with school lunches. Variations of this beverage are usually the opaque and white liquid derived from the mammary glands of cows. Consuming this nutrient rich drink helps promote proper growth and maintenance of the human body. Milk is a great source of calcium and protein. Butterfat lends milk its color and the liquid is chemically classified as a colloid emulsion that’s water-based. The production and selling of milk remains one of the most regulated food industries in the United States. Pasteurization and homogenization of “raw milk” makes bottled milk safe for human consumption. Here’s a short primer on this healthy beverage:
Whole milk – recommended for young children and those without dietary restrictions. Whole milk possesses the highest allowed fat content with guidelines calling for no less than 3.25% milk fat.
Reduced fat milk – recommended for those that need to limit their fat intake. This is whole milk in which the milk fat has been reduced from 3.25% to 2%. Reduced fat milk contains 38% less fat compared to an equal serving of whole milk.
Low fat milk – recommended for those that need to further limit their fat intake. This is whole milk in which the fat content has been reduced to no more than 1%. Low fat milk contains 69% less fat compared to an equal serving of whole milk.
Skim milk - aka fat-free milk. The fat content has been reduced to nearly none and has an 87% water content.
Flavored milk – mainly produced to help kids get the recommended amount of 3 servings of milk every day. A sweetener and flavoring, such as cocoa powder or strawberry syrup, gets added so that it taste better for kid that don’t like the usual flavor of regular milk.
Goat’s milk – more highly consumed outside the United States with similar nutrients to cow’s milk.