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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) – litre bottles marketed in blue packaging are often found in shops. Before 1980s, this was delivered on the doorsteps by a milkman in the early hours of the morning in glass pint bottles with a silver foil lid and would be colloquially called 'silver-top'. Today, milkman delivery is almost non existent in the UK.
- Semi-skimmed milk (around 2.5% fat) – Plastic litre bottles are marketed in green packaging. Traditionally, this used to be delivered in glass bottles with a silver foil lid with red stripes and would be colloquially called 'red-top'.
- Skimmed milk (around 0.1% fat) – Plastic litre bottles are marketed in red packaging. Traditionally, this used to be delivered in glass bottles with a silver foil lid with a blue checked pattern and would be colloquially called 'blue-top'.
- Channel Island (or Jersey) milk (around 5–5.5% fat) – Traditionally, this used to be delivered in glass bottles with gold foil lids and would be colloquially called 'gold-top'. It can be found marketed in yellow packaging, though available today at very few places in the UK.
Additionally, some supermarkets in the UK 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 3.5% fat
- 2% Reduced-fat milk
- 1% Lowfat milk
- 0% Fat-free milk (also called skim milk or nonfat milk)
US milk producers also use a color-coding system to identify milk types, usually with the bottle cap or colored accents on packaging. Whole milk is almost universally denoted by red, while 2% is most often colored royal blue. 1% and skim colors vary by region or dairy, with common colors for these lines being purple, green, yellow, pink, or light blue.
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
- Ward, Andrew (23 May 2017). No Milk Today - The vanishing world of the milkman (1 ed.). London: Robinson. ISBN 1472138902.
- Oliver, A. W.; E. L. Potter (November 1930). "Fattening Pigs for Market" (PDF). Agricultural Experiment Station Bulletin (269): 14. Retrieved 21 November 2012.
- 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.
- 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.