Skim milk– not quite the traditional “milk” consistency but not quite yet water, either, this dairy product is just whole milk with the cream skimmed off of the top. Although many experts tout the low-calorie way to get the same protein and calcium found in whole milk, others advocate for the health benefits of whole milk. So, what’s the deal? Is whole milk the better version of milk, or is skim? Researchers are still divided. Read on to decide for yourself.
If you consider only the economic aspect of the debate, skim takes the cake. The sales of skim shot upward from 1975 to 2014, during which the sales of whole milk plummeted downward. The sales of skim milk are so high partially due to the efforts of scientists after World War II. The history of skim milk’s prevalence begins here and continues to this day.
Fat and Calorie Counting
When you compare skim milk to whole milk, the calorie difference is shocking. Whole milk has 150 calories, and skim has 90 calories per cup. Skim milk also has lower amounts of saturated fat than milk does. Saturated fat, linked to instances of heart disease, is the primary reason scientists in the mid 19th century warned people about. Whole milk and skim milk, however, have the same amount of protein and calcium, making them equal in that regard.
Many scientists, however, have been steering people away from skim milk and toward whole milk. After a review published in the European Journal of Medicine found that the majority of studies conducted about skim versus whole milk found that people who drank whole milk over skim milk reported lower rates of obesity than their skim-drinking companions. When a 2014 study found that fat was essential for heart and eye health, scientists began to swing the other way and recommend higher-fat whole milk as opposed to the long-standing nonfat milk trend. This recommendation is possibly due to the filling nature of whole milk when compared to skim, and the more soluble quality of several fat-soluble vitamins contained within whole milk.
Besides the slightly higher calorie count, whole milk seems to be healthier for you. However, if you are counting calories, skim may be a better option. Ultimately, the skim milk versus whole milk debate comes down to personal preference and your reason for drinking milk and counting the calories.