Go to any grocery store to pick up some milk and you’ll find yourself trying to decide between a surprising amount of options like whole, skim (nonfat), 1 percent, 2 percent, and organic. That doesn’t even include the non-dairy choices such as almond, soy, or rice milks. So which one should you opt for? Depending on your dietary needs and personal preferences, certain milk options will be more beneficial to you than others. Here is a breakdown of the different types of milk you can choose from, and what kind of diet they best benefit.
Organic foods are always the best option, as long as you can afford to shell out the extra dollar or so per gallon. Organic milk from organic dairy farms is required by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to use 100 percent organic feed, no growth hormones, and no antibiotics. Yes, it is pricier, but for the peace of mind you’re getting, as well as the added omega-3 fatty acids, most people would argue that the price is worth it.
Nonfat, 1 Percent, Or 2 Percent
There are definitely noticeable differences between these types of milk, mostly found in the calorie count. Nonfat, also known as skim, milk has the least amount of calories, at just 83 grams per every eight-ounce serving. By contrast, 2 percent has 122 calories, while 1 percent (also called low-fat) has 102 calories per every eight ounces. Interestingly enough, skim milk has slightly more calcium than whole milk, so if you’re looking for the healthiest option out of these three choices, go for skim to get lots of calcium with very few calories.
There’s good news and bad news when it comes to choosing whole milk. On one hand, whole milk has conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which can increase your metabolism and lean muscle mass while protecting against cancer and heart disease. However, whole milk has 4.5 grams of saturated fat per every eight-ounce serving; remember, saturated fat is the unhealthy type of fat, as opposed to unsaturated fat. If you’re looking to lose weight, consider drinking nonfat or 1 percent milk instead.
UHT Labeled Milk
If you’ve ever seen “UHT” labeled on a milk carton, it stands for “ultra high-temperature processing”. This means the milk has been heated to at least 275 degrees F for one or two seconds, effectively killing virtually all bacteria in the milk. This makes the milk have a longer shelf life (anywhere from one to six months!), but besides altering the taste to give it a more cooked flavor, it can reduce the amount of vitamin B levels normally found in milk. Choose UHT milk only if you need it to last for a while; otherwise, stick to whole or skim milk.
If you don’t like the taste of dairy, or are lactose-intolerant, try adding a calcium supplement to your diet. Calcium is necessary for maintaining healthy bone density while preventing osteoporosis.
This article is made available for general, entertainment and educational purposes only. The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of The Joint Corp (or its franchisees and affiliates). You should always seek the advice of a licensed healthcare professional.