Milk Varieties

Whole milk is a good choice for children aged 1-2 years and anyone else for whom fat intake is not a consideration. Whole milk must contain not less than 3.25% milkfat and 8.25% "milk solids not fat" (protein, carbohydrate, water-soluble vitamins and minerals). All milks are approximately 87% water. Whole milk contains 150 calories and 8 grams (g) of fat per 8-fluid oz. serving. Although not required, whole milk may be fortified with Vitamin A and/or Vitamin D (see "Fortified milk," below). 

Reduced fat milk is a good choice for those seeking moderate restriction of their fat intake.  Reduced fat milk is whole milk in which the milkfat level has been reduced from 3.25% to 2% (hence its popular name, "2% milk").  Reduced fat milk contains about 38% less fat than an equal serving of whole milk.  Like whole milk, it must contain not less than 8.25% "milk solids not fat" and is approximately 87% water.  Reduced fat milk contains 120 calories and 5 g of fat per 8-fluid oz. serving.  Vitamins A and D are removed with the milkfat, so they are added back to reduced fat milk (see "Fortified milk" below).

Low fat milk is a good choice for those seeking somewhat greater restriction of their fat intake. Low fat milk is whole milk in which the milkfat level has been reduced from 3.25% to 1% (hence its popular name, "1% milk"). Low fat milk contains about 69% less fat than an equal serving of whole milk. Like whole milk, it must contain not less than 8.25% "milk solids not fat" and is approximately 87% water. Low fat milk contains 100 calories and 2.5 g of fat per 8-fluid oz. serving. Vitamins A and D are removed with the milkfat, so they are added back to low fat milk (see "Fortified milk," below).

Fat-free milk is a good choice for those seeking to restrict their fat intake considerably. Fat-free milk is whole milk in which the milkfat level has been reduced from 3.5% to essentially none (the PMO allows milkfat residuals of up to .5%). Fat-free milk is often referred to as "skim milk." Like whole milk, it must contain not less than 8.25% "milk solids not fat" and is approximately 87% water. Fat-free milk contains 80 calories and 0 g of fat per 8-fluid oz. serving. Vitamins A and D are removed with the milkfat, so they are added back to fat-free milk (see "Fortified milk," below).

Flavored milk helps children to get their recommended three servings of dairy each day. Flavored milk is milk to which a flavoring "such as cocoa or cocoa powder, strawberry or vanilla extract" and a sweetener have been added. Some manufacturers of flavored milk also add stabilizers or thickening agents to improve taste and texture. Flavored milks are available in whole, reduced fat, low fat and fat-free varieties. The addition of sweeteners adds calories to flavored milk; for example, chocolate milk contains about 60 calories more than unflavored milk per 8-fluid oz. serving. Like unflavored milk, flavored milk must contain not less than 8.25% "milk solids not fat" and is approximately 87% water. It may also feature added Vitamins A and/or D. There is no scientific evidence that the sweeteners in flavored milk contribute to hyperactivity in children (Glinsmann, Irausquin and Park, Evaluation of health aspects of sugars contained in carbohydrate sweeteners, J. Nutr., 1, 1986; White and Wolraich, Effect of sugar on behavior and mental performance, Am. J. Clin. Nutr., 62 (Suppl.), 242, 1995).

Cultured Buttermilk is valued as a recipe ingredient and digestive aid. Buttermilk is freshly pasteurized or ultra-pasteurized fat-free or low fat milk with added fat-free dry milk solids. It can also be made with whole fluid milk or reconstituted fat-free dry milk. (In the past, buttermilk was a by-product of churning cream into butter.) Buttermilk's pleasantly tart taste and smooth body is produced by adding a safe, lactic acid-producing bacterial culture (usually Streptococcus lactis) and incubating it at 20-22 degrees C until its acidity reaches 0.8-0.9% (pH 4.6). Salt in quantities of 0.01-0.15% and citric acid or sodium citrate in amounts up to 0.2% may be added to enhance taste. Buttermilk cultured with Lactobacillus bulgaricus for increased tartness is known as Bulgarian buttermilk. Its name does not mean that it was manufactured in Bulgaria.

Evaporated milk will stay fresh for extended periods. Evaporated milk is made by heating homogenized whole milk under vacuum to remove about 60% of its water, fortifying it with Vitamin D, standardizing its nutritive components to required levels, canning and stabilizing. It is heat-treated (at 115.5-118.5 degrees C for 15 minutes) to sterilize it for prolonged storage. The addition of Vitamin A is optional. Evaporated milk must contain not less than 7.5% milkfat and 25% "milk solids not fat." Evaporated milk requires no refrigeration until its can is opened.

Evaporated fat-free milk is similar to evaporated whole milk except that it is made with fat-free milk and must contain not less than 0.5% milkfat and 20% "milk solids not fat."

Sweetened condensed milk is a valued recipe ingredient. Sweetened condensed milk is whole or fat-free milk with about 60% of its water removed and to which a nutritive sweetener (usually sucrose) has been added. The sweetener - amounting to 40-45% by volume - acts as a preservative. Sweetened condensed milk is typically used in candy and dessert recipes. Since evaporated milk contains no sweetener, it cannot be substituted for sweetened condensed milk. The latter must contain not less than 8% milkfat and not less than 28% "milk solids not fat." Sweetened condensed fat-free milk (0.5% milkfat, 24% "milk solids not fat") is also available.

Acidophilus milk is a great digestive aid. Acidophilus milk is pasteurized milk - usually low fat or fat-free - to which a beneficial bacterium, Lactobacillus acidophilus, has been added. L. acidophilus is bile-resistant and helps to relieve the symptoms of lactose maldigestion. The composition, nutritive characteristics, natural flavor (pH 6.5-6.7) and consistency of the milk is unchanged.

Reduced lactose milks are a great choice for those coping with lactose maldigestion. These milks are treated with the enzyme lactase to reduce their lactose content by about 70%. Lactose - the natural sugar in milk - is poorly digested by some people. Reduced lactose milks are sweeter-tasting than conventional milk because the lactose has been broken down (hydrolyzed) into glucose and gelactose sugars. Otherwise, the composition, nutritive characteristics and consistency of these milks are unchanged. Reduced-lactose milks are available in reduced fat, low fat and fat-free varieties.

Low sodium milk allows people on salt-restricted diets to include a protein-rich food in their meal plan. Low sodium milk has had 95% or more of the sodium that occurs naturally in milk removed. The sodium content is reduced from about 49 mg to about 2.5 mg (per 100 g of milk) by replacing it with potassium. The milk is then pasteurized and homogenized. The composition, nutritive characteristics and consistency of the milk is otherwise unchanged.

Eggnog is a great treat for the whole family. Eggnog contains milk, egg yoke, egg white and nutritive carbohydrate sweetener. It may also contain salt, flavorings, color additives and stabilizers. Eggnog must contain not less than 6% milkfat and 8.25% "milk solids not fat." Egg yoke solid content may not be less than 1% by weight of the finished product. Eggnog must be pasteurized and may be homogenized.

Whole dry milk allows milk to be enjoyed when refrigeration is not available. Whole dry milk is pasteurized whole fluid milk from which the water has been removed. On a dry weight basis, whole dry milk contains between 26% and 40% milkfat and not less than 5% moisture on a "milk solids not fat" basis. It has added Vitamin A and may also contain added Vitamin D. Except for some loss of ascorbic acid, Vitamin B-6 and thiamin, drying has no appreciable impact on the nutritive characteristics of the milk. Whole dry milk has limited retail distribution; it is used mainly in processed foods such as infant formula, chocolate and candy.

Low fat dry milk is similar to whole dry milk except that it contains between 5% and 20% milkfat on a dry weight basis.

Fat-free dry milk (or non-fat dry milk) is pasteurized fat-free milk from which the water has been removed. On a dry weight basis, fat-free dry milk contains not more than 1.5% milkfat and not less than 5% by weight of moisture. Fat-free dry milk contains about half of the calories of whole milk. Almost all fat-free dry milk is fortified with Vitamins A and D. "Instant" fat-free dry milk is made of larger particles that dissolve more easily in water. To earn the "U.S. Extra Grade" designation, instant fat-free dry milk must have a sweet, pleasing flavor and a natural color. It must also dissolve immediately upon contact with water. The low moisture content of fat-free dry milk inhibits the multiplication of microorganisms so it can be stored for longer periods.

What is Milk

What Does That Mean? - Definitions of Milk Related Items