Should You Drink Whole Milk or Skim Milk?

Though things were sometimes confusing for me as a child, I consider myself fortunate to have grown up in two households instead of one. I learned to form my own opinions early as each of my parents have different political views and lifestyles, so I got to see firsthand all sorts of options I could try out and pick which worked best for me. Not only that, but I had 3 parents who cared for me instead of two 🙂  Interestingly, each household had a different dairy preference: one used mostly skim milk and low-fat dairy products and the other used mostly 2%, whole milk, and sometimes cream as milk. I always preferred the fattier dairy option but thought that drinking skim milk was better, as low-fat diets were popular at that time. I was so happy to learn that low-fat dieting is not healthy, specifically diets that exclude healthy fats (ghee, butter, tallow, lard, egg yolk, et cetera) from healthy animals and other saturated fats (like coconut oil). 

Now as a parent myself, I try to give the best of the best to my children (like most other parents, of course!), and that includes lots of fatty foods rich in vitamin D, vitamin A, vitamin K, omega-3 fatty acids, monounsaturated fats, butyrate, CLA, et cetera. Not only does my family benefit from loads of fat-soluble vitamins and antioxidants, but we can all easily go between meals without snacks (less dishes for me…woohoo! 🙂 ) because we stay satiated for long periods of time and do not depend on sugar-rushes for energy. As often as possible, I enjoy bulletproof tea in the morning with a tablespoon or two of butter and gelatin from grass-fed cows…delicious! And when my kids ask me if they can have a bite of butter…the answer is usually, “yes!”

But, here is the big question: why is fatty dairy better than low-fat diary? If you ask me, my answer would be that it simply isn’t worth passing up the many benefits of dairy-fat. In addition to the superior nutritional profile of whole-fat dairy, low-fat dairy is simply not as delicious or satiating. Fats have a positive effect on satiety. And to be frank, I don’t have the time to skimp on calories or nutrients for myself or my babies and I tend to forget to eat, so full-fat dairy will ALWAYS be my first choice (and no, full-fat dairy does not make me fat 🙂 ). Plus, feeding myself and my family less frequently because we are eating satiating food is great for my time management. Everybody wins!

All around, whole fat milk is always better than skim because traditional fats are healthy. Every cell in our bodies has a cell membrane made of fat; it is essential to life, even if it can be generated by our own bodies to sustain cell health, it is beneficial to eat fats…healthy fats, of course! Fat-phobia does not work in our favor, even in weight loss communities. This is an example of why ketogenic diets–usually loaded with fat–promote weightloss in most individuals and high-carb, low-fat diets are bad news. Especially this time of year when milk from pastured cows is loaded with extra fat-soluble nutrients from the sun and fresh baby greens, whole-fat dairy is hard to pass up. Fear not, my friends! Butter is a good guy. I hope you are enjoying these beautiful sun-filled days and are able to get lots of fresh air.


Written by:


Diane is a wife, mother, and researcher with the goal of restoring the practice of traditional holistic approaches to wellness and sharing evidence-based information with the public. She lives in Grand Forks North Dakota with her husband and four children and receives raw milk and pastured meats from Bartlett Farms.


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