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Historically, skimmed milk was used for fattening pigs, and was recommended as "not only the very best supplement for growing pigs, but is of almost equal value for fattening purposes" as it "furnishes a complete protein" and makes the feed "more palatable."
In the United Kingdom, milk is traditionally marketed and labelled as follows:
- Whole milk (around 3.5–4% fat) – Traditionally is delivered on doorsteps by a milkman in the early hours of the morning in glass pint bottles with a silver foil lid and would be called colloquially 'silver-top'. Plastic litre bottles marketed in blue packaging are often found in shops.
- Semi-skimmed milk (around 2.5% fat) – Traditionally delivered in glass bottles with a silver foil lid with red stripes and would be called colloquially 'red-top'. Plastic litre bottles are marketed in green packaging.
- Skimmed milk (around 0.1% fat) – Traditionally delivered in glass bottles with a silver foil lid with a blue checked pattern would be colloquially called 'blue-top'. Plastic litre bottles are marketed in red packaging.
- Channel Island (or Jersey) milk (around 5–5.5% fat) – Traditionally delivered in glass bottles with gold foil lids would be colloquially called 'gold-top'. It can be found marketed in yellow packaging.
Additionally many supermarkets now market milk as:
- 1% fat milk - Normally sold in purple or orange packaging.
In the United States, milk is marketed primarily by fat content and available in these varieties:
- Whole milk is 3.25% fat
- 2% Reduced-fat milk
- 1% Lowfat milk (also called light milk)
- 0% Fat-free milk (also called skim milk or nonfat milk)
In the state of Florida, although local laws specify that the legal definition of skim milk is milk which does not contain cream, the state ruled in a lawsuit filed by the Ocheesee Creamery that skim milk which does not contain the vitamins found in whole milk falls under the definition of an "imitation milk product", and cannot be marketed as skim milk because it is "nutritionally inferior".
Skimmed milk is sometimes consumed with the intention of reducing or limiting calorie consumption. It has been argued that the reduction in calories keeps the body further from satiety, causing it to ultimately seek out the same amount of calories that would have otherwise been consumed, and in some cases possibly more or from sources less beneficial. The extent to which animal fat contributes to weight gain is also brought into question, along with claims that skimmed milk is more beneficial to heart health since non-skimmed milk has a higher low-density lipoprotein content. Milkfat, however, affects only large, non-dense (Pattern A) LDL particles, which studies have shown to carry far less risk of coronary heart disease than small, dense (Pattern B) LDL particles. Skimmed milk also contains almost no Vitamin A.
- CFR - Code of Federal Regulations Title 21
- Oliver, A. W.; E. L. Potter (November 1930). "Fattening Pigs for Market" (PDF). Agricultural Experiment Station Bulletin (269): 14. Retrieved 21 November 2012.
- "Ocheesee Creamery to sue state over skim milk labeling". Tallahassee Democrat. Retrieved 31 March 2016.
- "Must skim milk with no added vitamins be called 'imitation'?". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 31 March 2016.
- Alexandra Sifferlin (July 3, 2013). "Skim Milk is Healthier than Whole Milk, Right? Maybe Not". Time.
- The Real Food Guide Is Skim Milk Good For You? http://therealfoodguide.com/is-skim-milk-good-for-you/
- Enig, Mary, PhD. The truth about saturated fats. http://www.health-report.co.uk/saturated_fats_health_benefits.htm#1
- Ravnskov U, Allen C, Atrens D, et al. (February 2002). "Studies of dietary fat and heart disease". Science. 295 (5559): 1464–6. doi:10.1126/science.295.5559.1464c. PMID 11859893.
- Paul John Scott (May 2011). "Is Skim Milk Making You Fat?". Details.