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The caps on milk are color-coordinated according to the milk's fat percentage.
Chad Baker/Jason Reed/Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images
The process of homogenization shrinks milk fat globules, leaving the milk smoother. The process also prevents cream from separating from the milk. The types of homogenized milk available in most grocery stores include whole milk, reduced-fat milk, low-fat milk and fat-free milk. The cholesterol in the milk also changes, depending on the fat percentage, while protein, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals remain about the same.
Manufacturers produce whole milk with 3.25 percent milk fat. One cup of whole milk contains 149 calories, with almost half of the calories coming from fat. The total fat content of whole milk is about 8 grams per cup (12 percent of the daily value, or DV), with 4.5 grams of saturated fat (23 percent of DV). One cup of whole milk has 24 milligrams of cholesterol (8 percent of DV) and almost 12 grams of carbohydrates (4 percent of DV).
Reduced-fat milk contains 2 percent milk fat. This lowers the calories in 1 cup to 122, with less than one-third of the calories coming from fat. Each 1-cup serving gives you almost 5 grams of total fat (7 percent of DV), with 3 grams of saturated fat (15 percent of DV). A serving of reduced-fat milk contains 20 milligrams of cholesterol (7 percent of DV) and, like whole milk, has almost 12 grams of carbohydrates (4 percent of DV).
With its 1 percent milk fat, low-fat milk has 102 calories in 1 cup, with less than 20 percent of the calories coming from fat. The total fat in one serving of low-fat milk is about 2 grams (4 percent of DV), with 1.5 grams of saturated fat (8 percent of DV). Cholesterol daily values decrease in low-fat milk to 12 milligrams (4 percent of DV). The carbohydrates in one serving of low -fat milk are still about 12 grams (4 percent of DV).
With only a trace of fat remaining in nonfat milk, the calorie content in 1 cup is 83. The total fat content in one serving is 0.2 grams (0 percent of DV), with saturated fat at 0.137 grams (1 percent of DV). Only 5 milligrams of cholesterol (2 percent of DV) is in 1 cup of nonfat milk. The carbohydrates remain the same as the other types of milk with about 12 grams (4 percent of DV) in 1 cup.
Rich in Vitamins and Minerals
The daily values of vitamins and minerals in milk remain about the same regardless of the milk fat percentage. All milk is rich in calcium with about 30 percent of DV in 1 cup; this mineral strengthens your bones and teeth. Vitamin B-12 helps your body make new cells and breaks down fatty acids, and milk gives you around 20 percent of the DV. One serving of milk also provides about 25 percent of DV of riboflavin, helping your body change food into energy. Milk also contains about 20 percent to 25 percent of DV for the mineral phosphorus, which is needed for bone growth and energy.
Healthy Tips and Ideas
Use low-fat milk or fat-free milk in creamy soups, breakfast cereal, pudding recipes or in any recipe that calls for milk. This healthy alternative saves you calories and helps keep the fat and cholesterol in your diet to a minimum.