By Emily Glass, Dietetic Intern
From cheese, to yogurt, to a glass of milk, dairy is a staple in the American Diet. Nutrition guidelines recommend 3 cups of dairy per day. But, have you ever wondered what the real difference is between all the different percentages and types of milks out there? Why are we always told to select skim or 1% milk over 2% or whole milk? Let me break it down for you.
In dairy milk, the main difference between the percentages is fat content! The amount of protein and calcium remains the same across the board from skim milk to whole milk. As the fat content changes, the calories per serving change as well. Making whole milk the highest in calories while skim milk is the lowest. The main reason you are always hearing to choose a lower percentage milk is to get in the habit of practicing a well-rounded healthful diet! Fat is an essential nutrient for the human body but consuming it in excess can lead to an increased risk of health related problems.
What about milk alternative? Between dairy allergies, lactose-intolerance and personal preference, many people look towards alternative sources of milk. Many of these milks are fortified to give you the same nutrients that occur naturally in dairy milk. Soy milk is very similar to dairy milk with low fat, and high protein. Almond milk on the other hand differs quite a bit for dairy milk. It is low in both fat and protein, making it a low-calorie alternative. When choosing a milk alternative, go for the unsweetened to avoid excess sugar.
For an easy to read breakdown of the different milks, check out the image below!
Whether you prefer skim milk, whole milk, or alternative milks. The national dairy council reports 80% of Americans do not meet the recommended three servings of dairy a day, so enjoy a glass today!
Terps With Taste is run by the Student Nutritionist Team with University of Maryland Dining Services. We write content for students, by students. Enjoy!