Whole Milk vs. Skim Milk: Which is Better for You?

“Whole milk makes you fat.” “There’s too much fat in whole milk.” “I only drink skim, I’m watching my weight.”

These are some of the assumptions we make when choosing dairy products to lead a balanced diet. The truth is, whole milk has been oftentimes demonized as a heavy contributor to weight gain and an unhealthy fat source. Yet, this isn’t entirely accurate- whole milk has more calories than skim milk but, from a nutritional standpoint, there isn’t much difference.

When choosing dairy products like Greek yogurt for a healthy snack and a balanced diet, this is something to keep in mind. Of course, with some extra fat comes some extra calories- but this isn’t always a bad thing. Even when trying to lose weight, whole milk products could be a viable option. According to Shape, it is a matter of knowing how to distribute your daily caloric intake. What’s more, SF Gate explains, even when nonfat yogurt may offer more benefits in terms of calcium content and caloric intake, whole milk products may perform better in terms of increasing satiety and, therefore, maintaining a healthy body weight. You shouldn’t, then, entirely discard whole dairy products merely for its fatty contents.

Whole milk fats can even offer health benefits. We all know balanced diets also comprise of healthy fats. And whole milk products are an acceptable source. “[F]at isn’t a nutrient to be afraid of—we just need to know where it resides and how to balance it,” states U.S. News. If your diet contains several nutrients with high fatty contents—even healthy fats—consuming the extra fat in whole milk might turn out to be a little excessive. But, if you shy away from fats because of weight control and other health reasons, enjoying a whole milk Greek yogurt for a snack, like Powerful Yogurt, won’t hurt you.

In fact, the fatty contents in whole milk are responsible for its enjoyable flavor. The rich taste of whole milk can be considered superior to nonfat milk. Any snack, or meal, shouldn’t compromise taste for a balanced nutrition. Mike Roussell, an advisory board member for Men’s Health and SHAPE Magazines, said, “I like full-fat Greek yogurt as a standalone snack. It’s well rounded nutritionally, with a hefty dose of protein and fat that will help you feel satiated, plus its creaminess makes it feel more indulgent than the nonfat Greek yogurt.” So, if you enjoy a decadent snack, whole milk products might be a viable option—providing the desired nutrition, and a rich, satisfying taste.

Because of whole milk’s rich flavor, added sugars are not necessary. This should be a fundamental reason to choose whole milk over nonfat dairy products. “One serving of low-fat yogurt can contain as many as 30 grams of sugar—that’s 60% of your daily USDA limit,” (Business Insider). Given the low-fat content in these dairy products, sugar is necessary to compensate for the lacking flavor only dairy fat can offer. On the other hand, whole milk products, containing fat, don’t need added sugars to improve their flavor. Yet, we can’t forget that whole milk also contains naturally-occurring sugars, known as lactose; and that sugars are also necessary in a healthy diet. In this sense, Business Insider concludes, despite their great taste, whole-milk yogurts usually have less sugar. Milk is naturally sweet, so there is no need for added sugars.

Combining healthy fat sources, naturally occurring sugars—and therefore no added sugars—in whole milk dairy products, signifies that they are a healthier choice when trying to avoid life-threatening diseases that have been linked in the past to full-fat dairy product consumption. According to Runner’s World, recent studies have found that saturated fats are not necessarily linked to heart disease in the long run, and—in fact—some fatty chains found in full-fat dairy products might be responsible for decreasing the risk of having a stroke.

While studies might evaluate individuals with a somewhat sedentary lifestyle, these results are even stronger for people who lead an active lifestyle. Athletes and active people have, statistically, lower risk of suffering any cardiovascular disease. Given its high-protein contents, and different vitamins and minerals it contains, having a full-fat Greek yogurt before a workout seems like a smart choice. Keeping these benefits in mind, Powerful Foods has switched to whole milk in its Greek yogurts, providing better nutrition meant to satisfy active lifestyles.

Although this article highlights the benefits of whole milk, it is not meant to be an imperative. After all, a balanced diet depends on much more than switching from whole milk to skim milk or holding back on sugary snacks. While sugary snacks are best kept at a minimum in any diet, whole milk, full-fat dairy products can be included in your diet as a healthy source of nutrients. Try out one of our Powerful Yogurts today for a healthy dose of whole milk and 20g of protein for a snack meant to fuel an active lifestyle.