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I think the FDA would probably agree with you, but it isn't their area of responsibility. Low-fat is very much marketing rather than being about nutrition. Many of the low-fat products are actually worse because they contain excess sugars. So just as much in the way of energy, but giving a sugar hit as the energy is absorbed rapidly which seems to do bad things to the metabolism.


You seem a bit hypbolic on this one.

These numbers, it's obvious that skim milk really have HALF the calories of of whole milk.


Is 2% a scam? Well, you can get 100%, 84%, 70% or 55%. (Rough extrapolation). That really is quite a difference.

It is not as though 2% exists in a market without skim milk. These numbers should all be taken in context of each other.

Do you think -- or are you implying -- that people think that skim/nonfat milk has 1/8 the carleries of whole milk?


Didn't the FDA regulate just this issue maybe a decade ago, when they forced 2% milk to be termed "reduced fat" rather than "low fat"? 1% milk is "low fat" - I believe their determining factor is the number of grams of fat.

While the couple of tablespoons you might put in coffee are not particularly meaningful, a cup (8 oz) of skim milk has 75 (50%) fewer calories than whole milk. That's nontrivial if you have a 16 oz latte (which is 15 oz of milk) and bowl of cereal (another 6 oz) every day. Save three times as many calories by using nonfat milk instead of 2%!

Which points out another couple of numbersenses: (a) 1% is half of 2%, not "just 1 less on a 100-point scale, and (b) the slope of the calorie reduction is important.


ceolaf: "nonfat" milk itself is misleading as it implies no fat, which implies no worries. It's all about calories and it matters less where the calories come from. "Nonfat" milk has 83 calories per cup, which is less than 148 but the difference between whole and nonfat sounds like 100% and 0%.

Gary: An average person takes in thousands of calories per day. Go over to Starbucks website and see for yourself. The Grande Frappuccino with whole milk is 240 calories; with nonfat milk, it's 220 calories.

The point I'm making here is the effect of marketing on people's perception. Sample some friends and ask them what percent difference is whole milk versus 2% milk, and tell us what they say.


A side note: these percentages do matter very much for some people: My parents are dairy farmers, and as such are paid partially by percentage of fat in the milk. The basic idea is that more dairy products such as cheese can be obtained from fat-rich milk (4 to 5% of fat with a good livestock) than from low-fat milk (2-3%). So I grew up with my parents talking about diets for the cows that would optimize fat content without compromising other indicators for milk quality (and monetary value). These discussions are in the order of magnitude of 3.6 vs 3.8%!


It is easy to see the problem with the Frappuccino http://www.starbucks.com/menu/drinks/frappuccino-blended-beverages/coffee-frappuccino-blended-coffee It contains 50g of sugar, giving 17% of the daily recommended carbohydrates.

Philip Howard

At Sainsburys (UK), milk is labelled by its fat content; 4%, 2%, 1% and 0.1%. Since the alternative is 'full-fat', 'semi-skimmed' and 'skimmed', I'm much happier with the fat percentages as labels.

The fact that milk has sugar (lactose) in as well as fat shouldn't really come as a surprise.

Lobby your government for mandatory traffic light food labelling. It makes all this stuff straightforward for the consumer.


The problem with the sugar is that it is added in bulk to many of the low fat products presumably to give the product some bulk and it is cheap. I think in America it is quite often derived from corn sugar because it is cheap due to subsidies.

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