To Americans of a certain age "Drink your milk" was heard as often as "Sit up straight," "Turn that down," and "Because I said so." And--as usual--your mom knew best. Milk has fallen out of favor in recent years, but the return to simpler and more natural nutrition has reminded Americans that milk is still an excellent source of vitamins, amino acids and healthy protein.
Milk--all kinds, from full-fat to skim--contains biotin, calcium, iodine, magnesium, pantothenic acid, potassium, riboflavin, and vitamins A, B12, C, D and K.
It also contains protein, which is necessary because human beings (and many animals) cannot produce all of the amino acids their bodies need to function and grow. Consuming and digesting protein into free amino acids fuels metabolism.
Whole, or "full fat," milk contains its natural amount of fat. This is the milk most American baby boomers grew up on, and it is still the best for making milk mustaches. It has the thickest texture and richest taste and its fat content is 3.5 percent. One cup (8 oz.) of whole milk contains 8 g of protein.
2 Percent Milk
According to the Mayo Clinic and other experts, reducing the amount of animal fats in your diet can help improve the health of the arteries, heart and waistline. Two-percent milk has a fat content of 2 percent of its total weight. Most people prefer this to skim or 1 percent milk because it has a richer, thicker taste and texture. One cup of 2 percent milk contains 8.13 g of protein.
1 Percent Milk
One percent milk contains 1 percent fat by total weight. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends not giving low-fat and nonfat milk to children under 2 years old. Eighty percent of brain development takes place in the first two years of life, and young children's brains need saturated fats to develop properly. One cup of 1 percent milk contains 8.03 g of protein.
Skim (Nonfat) Milk
Skim milk (also known as "nonfat") is not completely fat-free, but usually contains 0.05 percent fat. It is produced by putting whole milk into a centrifuge to separate out the fat. Nonfat milk is popular among health-conscious people, though many do consider the taste and texture too thin. One cup of skim or nonfat milk contains 8.35 g of protein.
Evaporated and Condensed Milk
Evaporated milk starts out as fresh milk which is homogenized and then has 60 percent of its water removed. The heat used in processing gives it a slightly caramel color and flavor. Removing the water concentrates the nutrients, so ounce for ounce, evaporated milk has more nutrients than any other kind. In the Southern United States, evaporated milk is the creamer of choice for coffee. Even the fat-free kind has a rich taste and velvety texture. Evaporated milk has 24.2 g of protein, nonfat evaporated milk has 19.33 g.
Condensed milk (mainly known as sweetened condensed milk, since unsweetened varieties are rarely sold) is simply evaporated milk with sugar added. It is used in many desserts, and in some parts of the United States, it is eaten plain as a dessert by placing the open can in a shallow pot of boiling water, letting it thicken and eating it with a spoon. Condensed milk contains 24.2 g of protein.