Ask a Nutrition Expert: Is Whole Milk Better Than Skim?

Nomster Chef_Milk jug

Hello Nomster Momsters and Dadsters! Here on the blog we hope to answer your most burning questions about nutrition (for kids as well as grown-ups). Today we asked an expert one of our burning questions, but in the future we'd like to hear from you! E-mail with any nutrition questions you'd like answered here on the blog.

Today our nutrition expert is Daphnie Yang, an ISSA Certified Personal Trainer and Nutrition Counselor. She's also the creator of the popular HIIT IT! High Intensity Interval workout in NYC and a co-host of the nutrition/fitness/wellness podcast Just One More!. Take it away, Daphnie!

Q: Is whole milk better than skim milk?

A: Yes! 

Not only does whole milk taste better, it is better for you. Skim and low-fat milk have to undergo processing, while whole milk does not. When you are drinking whole milk, you are drinking what has come directly from the cow. Natural is always best. Plus, when fat is removed from skim and low-fat milk, the sugars in milk hit your bloodstream and spike your insulin, putting you at higher risk for diabetes and weight gain.

This sounds counterintuitive, right? Since whole milk contains more fat and calories, our original hypothesis was that skim was the preferable choice. In reality, the calorie difference is minimal and the fat helps block the milk sugars from spiking your blood sugar. Remember, fat is not the enemy! Sugar converts to body fat the quickest (NOT nutritional fat found in food). If you drink skim milk you are more likely to crave sugary foods, needing more snacks, food, or milk to become full and satisfied. Full fat milk makes you feel more satisfied and less likely to need to eat or drink more.

Dr. Mark Daniel DeBoer, professor of pediatric endocrinology at the University of Virginia School of Medicine says about his findings "...children who drank skim milk and 1 percent were heavier than those who drank whole." In a study done at Harvard Medical School in which thousands of children’s milk drinking habits were surveyed, they found that “skim and 1% milk were associated with weight gain, but full fat milk was not." And, a study found that full-fat dairy consumption lead to better outcomes in adults too, so you can share the whole milk with your kiddo.

Whole milk is delicious and nutritious! On top of being chock full of calcium, potassium, vitamin D, and protein, full fat milk has an ultra satisfying taste and texture. Calcium keeps our bones strong while protein and fat keeps the body satisfied and full, making kids less likely to crave or need additional calories or sugar. 


  • Always opt for natural and unprocessed foods. 
  • Skim milk is associated with weight gain due to spiking blood sugar and making the body and brain crave more sugary foods.
  • Fat in food does not equal fat on our bodies, sugar converts to body fat the quickest and the fat in milk helps prevent that from happening. 

To read more, check out the Time magazine article here.


Why Whole Grains are Great for Kids

About the author:

Daphnie Yang is an ISSA Certified Personal Trainer/Nutrition Counselor and the creator of HIIT IT! New York's Ultimate High Intensity Interval Training workout. Growing up in the Bay Area, fitness and wellness have always been a huge part of Daphnie's life. She learned at an early age as an active child playing soccer, dancing, running and swimming that proper nutrition was the key to feeling great. When Daphnie graduated from NYU in 2007 she made a commitment to helping others learn about health and became a certified personal trainer and nutrition counselor. Daphnie truly loves helping people achieve balance and wellness in their day to day lives. 

To learn more about nutrition, fitness, and wellness, check out her podcast Just One More! With Joanna and Daphnie

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