Sport Dietitians Australia logo

Subscribe to our newsletter


Product Review: Skim vs Full Cream Milk!

December 3, 2018

SKIM VS FULL CREAM MILK: all the answers!

One of the most common dietary questions I am asked: ‘Which is better, skim or full cream milk?’

The answer? It depends! (as always, there is no one-size-fits all answer to dietary questions).

Let’s break it down a little.

I’ve pulled Canberra skim milk and Canberra full cream milk from the shelf to take a long hard look at the facts.

Canberra skim milk (per 100ml): 35 calories, 3.5g protein, 0.1g fat (0.08g saturated fat), 4.9g carbohydrate (4.9g sugar – lactose), 45mg sodium, 132mg calcium.

Canberra full cream milk (per 100ml): 106 calories, 3.4g protein, 3.4g fat (2.3g saturated fat), 4.8g carbohydrate (4.8g sugar – lactose), 44mg sodium, 128mg calcium.

The largest difference between the milks is the energy (or calorie) content: 35 calories (skim) vs 106 calories (full cream) – that’s 3 x as many calories in full cream milk as in skim.

Secondly, is the difference in fat content: 0.1g fat (skim) vs 3.4g fat (full cream). We expect this difference because of the name of the milks! Skim refers to basically all the fat being removed, full fat means none has been removed.

Next we notice very minimal differences in protein (0.1g difference), carbohydrate (0.1g difference), sugar (0.1g difference), sodium (1mg difference) and calcium (4mg difference).

So in answer to the question, which milk should I drink? The biggest things we should consider is the energy budget of the person ( e.g. are you on a calorie restricted diet where we should try to maximise your nutrient intake – like calcium – while at the same time minimise your energy intake?) However, on par with this consideration is: which do you like the taste of? I find that about 50% of people can’t stand skim milk and about 50% of people think full cream milk is too rich.

It is a myth that skim milk has ‘added’ sugar. The only reason skim milk has 0.1g (in this case) more sugar per 100ml, is because fat has been removed. Therefore, proportionally, all the other nutrients in the skim milk will be higher (hence why there is also slightly more protein, sodium and calcium per 100ml of skim milk). You can’t take something away and then expect the values to stay the same per 100ml.

Why is there sugar in milk anyway? Because milk naturally contains lactose and lactose is a sugar (anything ending with -ose is a sugar). This does not make milk unhealthy or bad.

Remember, the best ‘diet’ is the one you enjoy and the one that keeps you well and the one that you can stick to long-term.

What do I do? I enjoy full cream milk in my coffee 🙂


Leave a Reply

Currently working with:

Synergy Self Defence and Fitness logo Nutrition for Taekwondo logo Think Psychology Solutions logo