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What is Skim Milk?

Skim milk is the result of removing nearly all the fat from whole milk, offering a lighter alternative with fewer calories. Rich in protein and calcium, it's a popular choice for health-conscious individuals. It retains essential nutrients while cutting down on fat content. Wondering how it fits into a balanced diet? Let's explore its benefits and uses together.
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Skim milk is a dairy product with an extremely low fat percentage. In some nations, skim milk is labeled as “fat free” milk, since many labeling laws allow foods with negligible fat contents to be labeled as “fat free”. Most grocery stores and dairies stock skim milk, along with low-fat and whole milk products. For people who are concerned about the amount of fat in their diets, skim milk is an excellent alternative to whole milk, although some individuals do not enjoy the flavor.

Traditionally, dairy was allowed to sit after milking, to allow the fat to rise to the top. The fat was skimmed to make butter and cream products, and the remaining milk was consumed or processed into other foods like cheese. Modern dairy production uses centrifuges, since they are much more time efficient. After being centrifuged, the fatty part is used to make cream and butter, or it may be added back into the skimmed milk to raise the fat percentage.

Skim milk may have a very slight bluish tint.
Skim milk may have a very slight bluish tint.

As a general rule, products labeled as “skim milk” have less than 0.5% fat. Low fat or semi-skimmed milk has a fat percentage ranging between one and two percent. Many dairies label their one and two percent milk separately, giving consumers more options. Whole milk has a fat content of around 3.5%. Creams and butters, made from the fatty part of the milk, have a much higher fat content. A dairy may also choose to supplement its dairy products with useful vitamins and minerals such as calcium and vitamin D.

Skim milk can be bought in grocery stores.
Skim milk can be bought in grocery stores.

Most dairies pasteurize their milk products out of concern for safety. After separation into skim milk, whole milk, and other dairy products, the milk is also usually homogenized. Homogenization evens the consistency of the milk by reducing all of the particles in the milk to the same size. This prevents fatty solids from rising to the top of the milk as it sits. Because most milk is homogenized, making skim milk at home is essentially impossible, unless you have access to milk which has not been so treated.

Whole milk is thicker and creamier than skim milk, but is also high in saturated fats.
Whole milk is thicker and creamier than skim milk, but is also high in saturated fats.

As a general rule, skim milk will keep under refrigeration for five to 10 days. Always check the expiration date on milk and dairy products when you purchase them, and sniff dairy products when you open them to ensure that the contents have not spoiled. Skim milk can be used as a milk alternative in a wide range of foods, although the lower fat content may make it unsuitable for certain cooked dishes. Skim milk also tends to have a slightly watery flavor, which some consumers do not enjoy.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a DelightedCooking researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Learn more...
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a DelightedCooking researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Learn more...

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Discussion Comments


The milk you buy in the store is barely milk at all. Believe it or not, most of it is just water and artificially added content. UHT milk has a far closer taste to a real cow's milk than bottled milk (if you drank it straight from the cow you would notice the difference-and someone must have at first before it became popular)! Most people do not like the true taste of cow's milk. It's an odd habit as we are the only creatures to drink milk from another animal, but it has become so popular that we treat it as a normal habit, despite any hidden dangers, cancerous or otherwise (look it up). Interestingly enough, only the US, UK and europe drink it. Most other countries do not agree with cow's milk at all, or it just never caught on.

Why? Well, cow's milk is made from a cow, which is naturally only for cow calves, and even they don't drink it all their lives.

There are natural reasons for that, too. Drinking it all their lives is simply not necessary, and just like human breast milk, human beings only drink human milk for a limited time too. We should not drink cow's milk or eat products containing it (cheese, yogurt etc) all our lives. Looking at the habit at a distance, it's actually quite a disgusting one. Some people would hate the idea of buying and drinking human milk as an adult, but if someone wanted to drink any kind of milk all their lives, that would likely be the safest kind.

Yes, milk has its benefits, but as with everything, too much of anything can have a bad effect on the brain and body. Semi or skimmed milk will not make you lose much weight at all. Only exercise will do that, in combination with a healthier diet overall. Although cutting down on the amount of fat in your diet does help, the difference between skimmed and full cream milk you buy isn't huge, unless you used to drink 5-plus bottles of full cream milk per day.


non-homogenized milk tastes amazing... just saying.


Skim milk is horrible tasting. A nice cold glass of even 1 or 2 percent is much more satisfying. As for whole milk, I can't stand it. it is way too thick. Whole milk is great for most recipes, 1 or 2 percent for drinking, and skim milk is only good to be poured down the sink.


hey guys, it's just milk. choosing the red top over the blue fundamentally makes no difference to anyone's life. quit crying.


How can we turn a tetra pack milk into skimmed milk?


I've been watering down semi skimmed milk, and not felt too good so I've gone back to semi-skimmed. I feel there's more calcium. Am i right?


anon #101371: I recently decided to drop alcohol consumption, at age 73, but still need a few drinks with the boys after work. I have taken up skim milk by the liter.

This is how it's done. I take a regular size glass filled with Peach flavored Tea, just three quarter filled in the freezer in the morning.(x4)and just top it up with low cost skim.


I was reading some of this and I believe eat what you want! I work in a hospital and met a man who was 100 years old and still lives on his own and takes care of himself. He says he's been drinking mt dew for as long as he can remember. But yet, it's bad for us. We shouldn't consume soda, blah blah blah. You know.

I think of it this way: you could be driving today and end up in an accident that isn't your fault, and die. It won't matter what diet you were on. They say stress can kill you, along with other factors, of course. Well, if you stress about everything you put in your mouth, is that helpful in living longer? Just my thoughts.


@ #49: Skim milk contains more lactose than whole milk does. Lactose is sugar, not fat, so when the fat is removed, the percentage of lactose (and protein) in the remaining liquid is higher. If you can tolerate skim milk but not whole milk, it sounds like your problem is something other than lactose intolerance.


According to recent information, the current life expectancy of the average American is 77.5 years. It was 68.1 years in 1950, and 51.5 a century ago. If our modern diet and lifestyles are supposedly killing us, they're doing a pretty poor job of it.


Re the above comment: Sound like an ad? That's the big con re milk that we are bought up with as children by the national and international conglomerates.

It's all sales hype, and you have been conned since you were a kid. Cow's milk was designed by nature for calves,not humans!

The supposedly great benefit was touted as the calcium that's in milk and will build up our young bones and make up healthy kids. The calcium in cow's milk is very difficult for humans to absorb because the molecules are too large for our systems. It's of much more benefit to get your calcium from a handful of nuts.

Now after all that, i fondly remember my folks' dairy farm in New Zealand, and the ice cold jug of full cream milk always in the fridge, straight from the cows, and with a thick layer of cream settled on top. Mmmmm. Scoop off some cream,sprinkle with sugar. Mmmm.

My dad even used to eat dripping sandwiches, chosen from the bottom of the dripping pot [grease for you yanks], sprinkled with pepper and salt which we shared.

I'm still alive and healthy at 68. What's killing the modern humans these days, are all the big conglomerates messing with our food, altering the molecular structure, adding toxic chemicals, etc., etc.,etc. Oh! And the stress of living in our self chosen modern society. I could go on, but you get my drift?


@ Number 46: Can you please cite the sources for your claims? Which experiments? Who conducted them?

A low protein diet stops carcinogens from damaging our cells and starting cancer! According to who?

About genetics and cancer risk. I definitely want to see some sources on that.

Casein is addictive. Says who?


Skim milk is for people with 'broken' taste buds.


I have drunk skim milk all of my life. I've been running since I was five. However, now my lower back hurts and my hips and knees hurt all the time. My joints also pop. Is this due to the lack of whole milk in my diet?


This is the craziest list of postings i have ever seen. Jumps from healthy to not healthy, to breast development, to nine year old girl experts (knows them inside and out) and world domination. too much! but too funny.


I like to drink skim milk because I feel that is healthy for me. Whole and skim taste the same for me.


#46: Read the Paleo Diet and the Metabolic Typing Diet, check the sources too, if you want. Protein is fantastic for us.

Skim milk is horrid at best, and its only use is in making cottage cheese. The low fat messes up the absorption of protein.

Truth be told, all processed milk is, at best, mediocre. I am not a rawfood nazi, but pasteurized milk should be done away with in exchange for local, raw milk.


is skimmed milk different from low-fat milk? which is a healthier option if you're on a diet? thanks!


About skim milk: Geez, skim is just healthier than whole (I feel like I'm drinking straight half and half or something). it tastes the same as 2 percent.


I drink skim milk because for some reason, recently, I became lactose intolerant. If there is another dairy or non-dairy drinking product that is better than skim milk, please let me know.

Skim milk does not really taste bad. In fact, it has no taste at all(my opinion). I think the reason that people think skim milk is bad is because they are used to the rich, silky texture and flavor of milk. I miss drinking whole milk a lot, but skim is going to have to do for now.

Soy milk would be a choice to buy but I'm a penny pincher sometimes. Restating, if there is another dairy or non-dairy drinking product, let me know.


Read about the toxicity of soybean oil.


I read somewhere that fat-free milk simply passes and does not absorb any fat soluble vitamins either contained in or added to the milk. I do know that vitamins A, D, E, and K will not be absorbed in the human body when fat content is too low. Vitamins mentioned are vital to life itself. There is a slight contradiction in our health policies. Have we lost our common sense?


Cancer does not occur unless we consume a high protein diet. What kind of protein? Casein!

The quantity of animal protein is the major factor in the majority of cancer causes!

Skim milk has an even higher concentration of casein than regular milk. It is more addicting than chocolate. The World Health Organization lists protein requirements as such: men 5 percent, women 5 percent, pregnant women 6 percent.

Today the average American consumes 75-150 grams total of protein per day, or about 10-20 percent of their calories from protein. The USDA says the safe range is 10-36 percent...mmm. Which side do you want to be on? A low protein diet stops carcinogens from damaging our cells and starting cancer!

By the way, there are many steps necessary in the process of starting cancer and a low protein intake slows down each and every one of them!

Experiments found that cancer growth was almost entirely dependent on how much protein was consumed, regardless of the quantity of chemical carcinogen exposure!

Genetics (our heredity) only determines about 2-3 percent of the total cancer risk.

Check to see if you have inherited an unhealthy diet and lifestyle. The issue is how we live!


Here is the bottom line to this very uncomplicated article:

1) If you want to drink fat; drink whole.

2) If you don't want to drink fat; drink skim.

What really needs to be discussed about this?


I went from not liking milk to liking milk. I also went from whole milk to 2 percent to 1 percent to skim.

I used to be scared to drink any milk less than whole milk. But one day I had to drink 2 percent and to my surprise it was taste the same as whole. Then I tried 1 percent and skim milk and to me they taste the same.

I actually like skim milk; I think it's great. The only difference to me is is the look and how it feels in my mouth.


Skim milk is not processed chemically. The fat is "skimmed" off the top, hence "Skim milk." More modern dairies use a centrifuge rather than a skimmer. It does essentially the same thing.

Next, the milk is homogenized. This is where it is sprayed through a fine screen so that the far particles are broken down into a smaller size - and emulsified. An emulsion is a mixture of particles suspended in a liquid that are constantly in motion and do not settle or (as in the case of milk fat) float to the top. Yes, skim milk has some fat - as much as 0.5 percent fat. This is extremely low and a negligible amount, and may be called "fat free."

Please do not make statements that a dairy uses "chemicals" to make skim milk or fat free milk. This is just plain stupid.

Sorry, someone with a reputation for saying very stupid things said this recently. This person also:

1) Once thought that "whey" is made from "wheat." OK, everyone child knows a nursery rhyme about "curds and whey" right? Apparently, not her.

2) Once thought that substituting soy milk for dairy milk and withholding sugar was great for her kids' diet. What she didn't bother to realize was that soy milk (which is great stuff by the way) is loaded with sugar.

Soy beans are very bitter and require lots of sugar - and processing to taste good.

Personally, I prefer soy over dairy but there are drawbacks - it is expensive, it is almost impossible to get "fat free", it is very sugary, and too much of it has a demineralizing effect on the body.

On the other hand, if your allergies act up from too much dairy, it is a great alternative in moderation.


Milk is bad in general! Drink soy milk. Yeah but even then they're both bad.


Why oh why do all of you use skimmed milk It is not good and full of preserving chemicals. We should all go back to the good old full cream (on top) cow’s milk. What is the world coming to? for god’s sake full cream milk is good for you, whereas skimmed milk has a funny taste to it and the person who said there is no difference in the taste should go get his taste buds sorted.

Skimmed milk should be banned and the reason people like it today is because they have been forced to drink it and forced to believe it is good for you.

Go get a life and drink the full cream milk because if you don’t you will end up never knowing how good pure cream milk is.


Does skim milk expire quicker than whole? If so, why?


if you're breast feeding can you drink skim milk?


Sorry, but it does taste watery. Humans taste fat, and in many cases we are attracted to its taste.

Out of all the forms of calories that we can take in, fats contain the most amount of energy. As a result, we have adapted to find the taste of fatty foods amazing. However, now with civilization being as it is, and food being overabundant in many countries, we have outgrown this usefulness.

So long story short, skim milk tastes watery because there is less fat in it than whole milk. Skim milk is healthier for you if you consume a lot of fat in the day. If you don't have a large fat intake then whole milk is just fine.


Skim milk is super healthy.

I don't see why some of you bash it when there's plenty of pop/beer/energy drinks that people guzzle much more frequently.

Skim is great. Chocolate is better though.


People! Some of your comments are retarded. Skim milk does not taste much different than whole milk. It is more watery because the fat, which creates density, is removed. It looks watery thus your minds think it is tasting watery. It is all in your head.

Lactose gives milk flavor and skim milk has the same amount of lactose in it, thus it tastes the same. I also ask why consume more fat. Skim milk is a wonder liquid, in my opinion, because you can mix it with protein shakes and stuff without a worry.


Skimmed milk has been associated with prostate and breast cancer and osteoporosis. In rural China where consumption of dairy products is virtually nil, the rates of breast and prostate cancer and osteoporosis are very low, hundreds of times lower than USA.

The levels of growth factors and hormones and calcium in dairy may be to blame. After all calves grow at at a rate four times that of human babies. Cow milk is for calves; it's a no brainer.

If you want to drink a watery cocktail of growth factors and hormones, which can legally contain up 1 million pus cells per teaspoon and increases your risk of prostate or breast cancer and osteoporosis, go ahead and drink skimmed milk.


anon46555: They don't skim the hormones off skim milk, only the fat! Nothing to do with hormones.


My husband once purchased skim milk. I went out to buy a gallon of whole milk and poured the skim down the kitchen sink!


Does anybody here have any clue what they are talking about whatsoever? Some of these comments are so damn ridiculous. If you don't know what you are talking about, spare the minds of others and don't pollute them with BS information.


is skimmed milk as good as full cream milk?


Will drinking skim milk every day make me lose weight for sure?


skim milk is disgusting. Whole milk is natural from the cow, the natural choice!


I am seventeen years old. Every girl in my middle school is already developing. This wasn't the case for me when I was their age. I blame the hormones in milk for this drastic change. I agree that skim milk is much healthier and a better alternative to allow younger adolescents to have less hormonal intake.


I just bought some fat free milk from trader joe's yesterday (99 cents super deal) and it was delish. i never expected that. now i have to get my mum to start drinking it. Wish me luck!


what type of milk should a person on a diet take?


I remember as a child eating lunch in the school cafeteria every day and always being the odd ball and selecting that good old skim milk in the light blue carton, while everyone else chose chocolate milk. I still love my skim milk to this day at the age of 32. I never missed a day of school from K-12 and never went without my carton of skim milk at lunch. I'm a high school math teacher and continue to get my carton of skim milk and hope to pass this on to my unborn little girl due to arrive in October.


I have used only skim milk for ages. I don't mind the wateriness but lately I have noticed it has a funny taste, and when it goes off, its not like normal off milk (yoghurty) it's almost like it has some fish by-product in it. Now when I eat cereal I can taste the bad flavor. I think I'll go back to soy.


Today i went to the fridge to grab some milk to drink when i noticed all there was was skim milk! i'm used to drinking 2 percent milk and every now and then i grab some from the dairy farm that i work at. You have to shake it before you drink it! ehen i poured the skim milk it looked like watered down milk and tastes horrible! Why did my dad have to buy skim milk!


please know that only people who are diabetics please opt for her a low fat milk based on flavor. depending on her glucose tolerance you should first of all consult diabetician or check her weight. i am a 28 year old diabetic patient.


really appreciate comment by anon28969...

Thanks indeed


I love skim milk. It tastes good. I'm not even dieting!


Babies below 1 year of age should not be fed cows milk. Cows milk does not contain all the nutrients needed and has a higher protein content that can damage a babies kidneys. Use breast milk or formula, or in some extreme cases goats milk can be used.


Skim milk is nasty, I won't drink it and if WIC has only skim milk, I still won't get it, and in that case my son will not get milk!!


What type of milk is recommended for babies below 1 year of age?


if you have low protein intake and you want to consume high quality protein, which would be the poorest choice of protein: soy burger, chicken breast, kidney bean soup or skim milk?


Milks most of the time are pasteurized/homogenized to reduce the thick white puss that comes from the side effect of giving cows toxic additives(list is long, but don't take my word for it, search) so they produce more milk. The fats that are taken out of the milk to make skim milk, are the most beneficial.

Once you come to the end of your teen life, most of us loose the ability to digest milk properly. Try drinking milk in moderation (google search...)

Also Soy is definitely not a solution. Alternate between almond, oat and rice milk instead. Do yourself a favor and look up soy milk and thyroid gland (immune system). I was sick for a lot of my life, on and off, then discovered the dangers with soy milk. I was sold as a teenager that it was the healthier alternative. We have been lied too to help them make use out of a waist product, to lower our overall health, and to help with the global slow kill. The pharmaceutical industry is a multi-billion profitable business.

Since I stopped my allergies and sickness disappeared and I haven't been sick again. It's one of the highest GM foods, high in aluminum, prevents iron, calcium, zinc absorption. It's a byproduct from fermented soy, brought to the market with money pumped into false advertising so they could get profit from their waste. Mush your cardboard boxes in water and add calcium instead and eat that. You'll get about the same amount of nutrition without the side effects.

More than 30ml for an infant can be lethal...

Anyway, the list is long, don't be sold on mass media propaganda. Learn who owns and controls the media.

Now that the NWO is finally admitting to exist, find out that their number one goal is population control! If you haven't had too much mercury, fluoride and aspartame(search this word!) having a field day in your brain, you'll do yourself a favor and do some searching on the internet for the truth before the internet v2 is bought and shuts down free information. Free information is there so one can sift through it all so you can make up your own mind. Stop letting the media do the thinking for you, they're laughing themselves silly how easy it is for them.

If you've ever witnessed David Rockefellers speech in the mid 90's on what the elites of the worlds plan is for us the 'excess' of the world, start searching now if you care. Start looking for those that are speaking up out there that we have as much right to live as them. They are not our gods.

Anyway, I didn't mean to ramble, my past with soy milk makes me upset. Don't take my word for any of this, refuse to be a sheep and start searching and look past the privately owned elite controlled media companies.


I specialize in 9 year old girls -- I know them inside and out. They should be drinking at least 4 glasses of skimmed or soy milk every day. The blue hue of the skim milk increases the protein and vitamin levels of 9 year old girls, helping them to fully develop. And it makes you feel satiated! All hail skimmed milk!


I like drink skimmed milk while writing papers for college. It helps me think. My grandchildren also drink skimmed milk. Yay skimmed milk!


Could please tell me how many glasses of skim milk per day should a 9 year old girl be drinking?


Whole milk should not be replaced by skim milk unless an individual drinks a lot of milk and has weight problems, this especially applies to kids, the fats contain in milk are specifically synthesized by the cow for encouraging healthy growth in the calf. That 3.5% fat will do your kids good.


My entire family drink skim milk. All 3 of my grand children love skim milk. Good stuff!


can a diabetic person drink skimmed milk?


I also used to dislike the watery nature of skimmed milk but eventually got used to it. As an alternative, one can try soya milk. It is low on fat and is quite thick to make you feel satiated.


i remember how hard it was, as a kid, to get used to skim milk as opposed to whole or low fat milk. it looked like it was blue and i hated how thin it was. but now, i prefer it to whole milk. don't get me wrong, whole milk is good in certain things, but i think if you introduce it to your kids early enough, they won't really even know the difference!

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    • Skim milk may have a very slight bluish tint.
      By: chris32m
      Skim milk may have a very slight bluish tint.
    • Skim milk can be bought in grocery stores.
      By: vlorzor
      Skim milk can be bought in grocery stores.
    • Whole milk is thicker and creamier than skim milk, but is also high in saturated fats.
      By: efired
      Whole milk is thicker and creamier than skim milk, but is also high in saturated fats.
    • Dairy processing plants are responsible for pasteurization and homogenization of skim milk to specific standards before it is bottled.
      By: Budimir Jevtic
      Dairy processing plants are responsible for pasteurization and homogenization of skim milk to specific standards before it is bottled.