Milk Math

IMGP9414I don’t make this stuff up. A friend recently posted this story on Facebook.
Her husband went to convenience store on the corner to get milk. Their family with two young boys usually drinks 2% milk. He reported that the store only had whole milk and 1% milk. This enterprising man (not wanting to drive to a full-service grocery store several miles away) purchased one of each and informed his wife when he got them home that if you’d mix them together you’d get 2%. Her comment on Facebook—“not sure it works that way, but good theory, dear…so be quiet and drink it or leave it!”
Got me thinking about milk. Would his theory work?
Whole milk contains about 3.5% fat. Eight ounces of whole milk has 146 calories with 8 grams of fat.
2% milk is also known as reduced-fat milk. It has 120 calories with 5 grams of fat.
1% milk is low-fat milk and contains 105 calories and 2 grams of fat
Fat-free milk (skim) has 90 calories and no more than 0.2 grams of fat

Reduced-fat, low-fat and fat-free milks contain all of the nutrients found in whole milk but less fat.

So, technically using the husband’s theory of combining the whole with the 1%, they’d get milk that’s slightly more than 2% fat. Not bad.

Despite what many people think about “watery milk” it is not permitted to add water to any of these milks. It’s the lower amount of fat that gives it a thinner “mouth feel”. If you think skim milk tastes “watery” try adding some non-fat milk powder or fat-free half-and-half to help make it taste “thicker” to get the family through the transition to a lower fat milk.

But I like the wife’s comment to the husband to “be quiet and drink it”.  For their health, it would be good for this family to switch to 1% or skim milk.  Kids often mimic their parents.  If the father keeps quiet and drinks the 1% milk, it’s quite likely the kids will, too.

As for buying two gallons of milk and mixing them together?   Families with growing children assure me that this is no problem, but I know I couldn’t drink that much milk before it would spoil.

For more info on “Which Milk Should You Pick?” read Dr. Kenney’s article in the January issue of Communicating Food for Health.

Cheryle Jones Syracuse, MS

Professor Emeritus, The Ohio State University


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updated on 10-27-2020