If you are a regular skim milk drinker and optimal nutrition is your goal, there are certain times when low-fat (1%), reduced-fat (2%), or soy (rather than skim) is the way to go.
Although all milk in the United States is fortified with vitamins A & D, non-fat milk is a rather useless vehicle for it. Why? Vitamins A and D are fat-soluble, meaning they need to be consumed along with a small amount of fat (3 or 4 grams usually suffice) to be absorbed.
If at any point in the day you are drinking non-fat milk without any other source of fat, you are much better off opting for a low-fat variety.
Remember, an 8-ounce cup of low-fat milk only contains 14 more calories, 1.8 more grams of fat, and 0.9 more grams of saturated fat than that same amount of skim milk.
If you enjoy the taste of soy milk, make yourself a vegan latte. A cup of soy milk contains enough fat to help you absorb fat-soluble nutrients.
Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your dairy consumption:
- Accompany your fat-free morning latte with a healthy fat (i.e.: 1 tablespoon of the nut butter of your choice on whole grain toast)
- Not a fan of sipping coffee between bites of food? Make your coffee with low-fat, reduced fat, or soy milk
- If you only like your oatmeal with non-fat milk, throw in some raw almonds or walnuts in there to help you absorb vitamins A and D
- If you only enjoy fruit smoothies made with non-fat milk, add a tablespoon of ground flaxseed to add that important small amount of fat