Which Milk is Best for You?

June was Dairy Month, so let’s talk milk! Milk, as well as other dairy products, is a part of a healthy balanced diet. Milk is a good source of protein: 8 grams per cup and 8 other essential nutrients to promote good health. Consumption of dairy products is important for bone health. It can also help to maintain healthy blood pressure and reduce the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease. This infographic shows how milk is a natural nutrient powerhouse!


Most people know that milk is a good source of protein and essential nutrients, but there is still some confusion about which milk fat percentage is the best choice. Did you know that all cow’s milk, no matter the percentage of fat, contain the same 9 essential nutrients? To help clarify some confusion, here are the differences between different cow’s milk.

  • Whole Milk: 3.25% milk fat, 150 calories/serving
  • Reduced-fat Milk: 2% milk fat, 120 calories/serving
  • Low-fat Milk: 1% milk fat, 100 calories/serving
  • Skim Milk: 0% milk fat, 80 calories/serving

That’s right; the only differences are the milk fat percentage and calories per serving. The amount of protein, carbohydrates, and nutrients remain the same. Vitamin A and D are usually fortified back in lower fat milks, which is lost during the skimming process.

So, which is better for you to drink? It completely depends on your tastes, and what your goals are. If you are trying to gain weight, whole or 2% milk is probably a better option. If you are trying to lose or maintain weight, 1% or skim is probably a better option. If you prefer a higher fat milk but are looking to lose weight, try 2% instead of whole milk.

No matter which cow’s milk you chose, you will be getting a good source of protein and other essential vitamins. Include 3-servings of dairy as part of a healthy diet.

Ashley Pearson, RDN, LDN

Registered Dietitian at Performance Fitness