Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Myth: 2% milk has more vitamins and minerals than non-fat milk.

Answer: Busted

One 8 oz glass of milk provides 30% of the Daily Value for calcium and 25% of the Daily Value for vitamin D. The Daily Value is the amount of a nutrient in one serving of a food compared to recommendations for a 2,000 calorie diet. While you may not eat 2,000 calories each day, you can use the Daily Value to get an idea if a food is high or low in a nutrient. Milk is high in calcium because it provides 30% of the Daily Value for calcium. To be considered a food high in a specific nutrient, the food must provide a Daily Value of 20% of that nutrient.

milk jugWhether it is whole, 2%, 1% or nonfat milk, it all has the same amount of nutrients available. The only difference between all of the different types of milk is the fat content and, as a result of that, the total calories. Whole milk provides the most fat at 3.25%, while non-fat is zero. That means that non-fat milk has about 70 calories fewer than whole!

Milk and milk products provide calcium and vitamin D which are important for normal growth. Children and adults should consume enough dairy products to build and maintain healthy teeth and bones.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends 2 cups or equivalent per day of low-fat or fat-free milk for children ages 2-8 years. For children over 9 years and adults, the recommendation is 3 cups or equivalent per day.

Visit the Missouri Families website for tips on increasing your calcium intake. To learn more about milk, see the milk food gallery on the MyPyramid website.

Guest Contributor: Eva Hightaian, Nutrition Intern at the University of Missouri
Co-Author: Donna Mehrle, MPH, RD, LD, mehrled@missouri.edu, University of Missouri Extension

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