Which milk is healthier: whole milk, semi-skimmed or skimmed milk?

While whole milk is conceived as a more complete and nutritious dairy (but can also be seen as a drink rich in fat, and therefore reviled), semi-skimmed milk as an intermediate option with less fat and equal contribution , and skimmed milk as an option for diets (but in reality would be "pure water with some milk"), it is likely that in many moments you have doubts about which option to choose, and which would be the most appropriate for Include in your breakfasts, snacks or dinners.


But before discovering which option would be more appropriate - or recommended - from a solely nutritional point of view, it is necessary to inquire a little more about what their main differences are. Especially so that, at least, you have it in mind at the moment when you go back to the supermarket and you face the eternal doubt of which dairy variety to choose.

Of course, we start at this moment from the base of a very interesting intervention What did nutritionist Julio Basulto do in 2015? Healthy people (inside the program People wake up of RNE), in which he stated that " Cow's milk is not essential, but neither is it a poison "

What variety of milk to choose?

What are the differences between the different types of milk? Whole, semi-skimmed and skimmed

Whole milk

It is a type of milk much more consumed and popular than other varieties, although in recent years more maligned because of its higher fat content (especially in saturated fats).

Basically it is fresh milk which has been subjected to an ultra-pasteurization process (UHT). This process consists of exposing fresh milk for 2 to 4 seconds at a temperature that ranges from 135 to 140 ºC. Then it is quickly cooled, at temperatures that do not exceed 32 ºC.

From a nutritional point of view, it tends to preserve all the nutritional properties found in fresh milk, such as proteins of high biological value, carbohydrates in the form of lactose, calcium, iodine, phosphorus, vitamin A, B12 and rivoflavin ... although it has a high amount of saturated fat. Specifically, 100 milliliters provide about 3.9 grams of fat.

Semi-skimmed milk

It consists of whole milk, which is not only subjected to the process of ultra pasteurization, but is also subjected to a process by which part of its fat content is removed, although it maintains different amounts of fatty acids, fat-soluble vitamins and other compounds that we found in milk fat.

100 milliliters of semi-skimmed milk provide about 1.7 grams of fat.

Skimmed milk

It is whole milk that has been subjected to a process of almost complete elimination of fat content. From a nutritional point of view it provides carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins and minerals, although the fat-soluble vitamins are lost from the moment in which the fat is removed from its composition (although they are then added again, being enriched).

100 milliliters of skimmed milk provide around 0.1 grams of fat.

Varieties of milk

Which to choose? What milk would be healthier?

Once we take into account what are the main differences between the different types of milk that exist and that we can find nowadays in the supermarket, it is time to ask ourselves which option would be the most appropriate. Although, this time and as happens in other circumstances, everything will depend on the time or stage of life in which we find ourselves.

Whole milk would only be recommended during the stages of growth and development , given that its caloric contribution - and contained in fats - is much greater, and during this stage it fulfills precisely this function. In addition, it is not adequate in case of follow-up of slimming diets, in people with obesity and overweight, or if they suffer from any type of cardiovascular disease.

However, right from the moment when the process of growth and development stops (which happens between 18 to 20 years of age), it's time to switch to semi-skimmed or skimmed milk , although with nuances.

For example, semi-skimmed milk would be recommended in children with a tendency to overweight and obesity, as long as the pediatrician or infant nutritionist advises the substitution of whole milk for this one.

In fact, many nutritionists advise opting for semidestanada milk, but as long as their daily consumption is not high, given that cow's milk is especially rich in saturated fatty acids, and their daily contribution must be below 10% of the contribution of daily fat.

While, skimmed milk, due to its low caloric content and its almost null contribution to fat, would be more advisable in people who follow a diet of weight loss or who suffer some type of cardiovascular problem.

The nutritive contribution in proteins, minerals and vitamins is practically identical in the three varieties of milks analyzed, so it only varies its fat content and therefore in calories. As you will see below:

Composition per 100 ml Whole milk Semi-skimmed milk Skimmed milk
Energetic value 264 kJ / 63 Kcal 190 kJ / 45 Kcal 142 kJ / 33 Kcal
Fat 3.6 g 1.6 g 0.2 g
- of which saturates 2.5 g 1.1 g 0.1 g
Carbohydrates 4.7 g 4.7 g 4.8 g
- of which sugars 4.7 g 4.7 g 4.8 g
Proteins 3.0 g 3.0 g 3.1 g
Calcium 110 mg 110 mg 110 mg

Images | Istockphoto


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