Prefer full cream milk to the toned variety? We assess the different kinds of milk on the market and make it easier for you to make the right choice. 

Curious about how healthy that glass of milk is? This drink is, in fact,  a complete nutritional food with a balanced amount of carbohydrates, protein, fat, and a host of vitamins and minerals. A glass of milk contains about 3.3% protein, but this percentage varies with the type of milk.

Ample amount of proteins and amino acids

Milk protein consists of approximately 82% casein and 18% whey or serum and contains all the essential amino acids, making it a “complete” protein source. Milk also contains 3.5% to 0.1% fat in saturated, mono- and poly-unsaturated forms and some amount of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.

Vitamins and minerals are abundant

About 5% carbohydrates, predominantly in the form of lactose, and other mono and oligosaccharides in trace amounts are also present in milk, as are many essential vitamins including vitamin A, B-complex, vitamin C, and the very important vitamin D and vitamin K.

Milk is a good source of calcium, which is important for healthy bones and teeth. It also has significant amounts of other vital minerals such as copper, iron, magnesium, and phosphorus.

Varieties of Milk

#1 Full cream milk: Also called whole milk, this kind is usually suited for small children, teenagers, and body builders. As the name suggests, full cream milk preserves all the milk fat even after it undergoes pasteurization and other processing techniques.

One glass contains approximately 3.5%milk fat. It is creamy and full to taste, and may be sold as either whole standardized milk, which contains a minimum of 3.5% fat, or whole homogenized milk, which contains fats that have been broken down to form a homogenous texture that prevents the formation of the creamy layer on top.

Milk fat 3.5%; Calories 150

#2 Toned or single-toned milk: This is made by mixing skimmed milk powder and water to whole (buffalo) milk. This process reduces the fat content and ‘tones up’ the solid not fat (SNF level), without altering the nutrient content. Toned milk does not contain fat-soluble vitamins, diminishing the body’s capacity to absorb cholesterol from milk.

Milk fat 3%, Calories 120

#3 Double-toned milk: It is obtained by taking milk through the toning process twice, reducing the fat content of milk even further. Double-toned milk is ideal for weight conscious, calorie counting people. Double-toned milk is more nutritious than toned milk.

Milk fat 1.5% Calories 110

#4 Skimmed milk: This kind of milk is prepared by removing all the cream or milk fat from whole milk in a centrifuge machine. Even though skimmed milk has a fat content of less than 0.5%, all the nutrients contained in whole milk are left intact.

Sometimes skimmed milk is fortified with calcium and vitamin A, which are removed during the skimming process. This is a good drink for those keen on limiting their fat intake but not recommended for children.

Milk fat 0.5% Calories 80

#5 Organic Milk: This comes from cows fed exclusively on organic feed, which is not treated with pesticides or other chemicals. Animals are not given antibiotic injections or growth hormone for milk production, a practice common in conventional farms.

The best organic milk contains 67% more anti-oxidants and vitamins than ordinary milk, and 39% more of the fatty acid Omega-3, which cuts the risk of heart disease. However, experts say that organic milk in India may not provide the same benefits as that in the West, since there are no standards mandated here.

#6 Lactose-free milk: It is obtained by breaking down lactose through processing. Lactase enzyme is then added to this milk to give it a sweet taste. This lactase is however, rendered inactive by ultra-pasteurizing the milk. It is has a longer shelf life. Lactose-free milk is suitable for people who are lactose intolerant.