milk in glasses

Whole milk, reduced-fat, low-fat or skim: what’s the difference?

Choices at the grocery store can be overwhelming, and the dairy aisle is no exception. All milk is antibiotic-free and a safe choice for your family, but choosing the right fat content for your family’s health can be confusing.

So, what’s the difference?

Simply put: calories. All types of milk – whole, reduced-fat, low-fat and skim – deliver nine essential nutrients. Milk at the grocery store is also local, coming less than 150 miles from the farm to your table. Only fat and calories vary between milk with different fat levels.

On average whole milk contains 3.25 percent fat. Reduced-fat milk has 2 percent fat and there are also options to buy 1 percent, also known as low-fat, or fat-free milk, also known as skim. These different types of milk are sold because consumers have different preferences. No matter what the fat content is, you can feel good about buying milk for your family and here’s why.

Recent studies have suggested some health benefits to consuming whole fat dairy products:

46% lower risk of getting diabetes

8% lower risk of being overweight or obese

Fat may help improve nutrient absorption (your body’s ability to use the nutrients from the food you eat and drink)

Of course, depending on your family’s health and dietary requirements, a lower fat dairy choice still might be the right choice for you. Regardless of the gallon you reach for at the grocery story, milk is always a naturally nutrient-rich, simple and wholesome choice.