Dairy 101 – Different Kinds of Milk

By Heide Kennedy, Arizona Farm Bureau Communications Intern

When you walk along the refrigerator cases of milk in your local grocery store, you’ll see that all of the jugs have different colored lids. This signifies what kind of milk it is, such as whole, two percent, or skim. Not only that but there are other kinds of specialty milks too, such as A2 milk or lactose-free milk. Below you’ll find a quick description of each kind of milk and see what sets them apart from each other, according to The Dairy Alliance.


Whole Milk – Considered to be full-fat milk. It contains 3.5% fat by weight, which means that an 8-ounce serving of milk has 149 calories and 8 grams of fat.

2% Milk – Like the name implies, this milk contains 2% fat by weight, resulting in 5 grams of fat and 120 calories in an 8-ounce serving.

1% Milk – Also as the name implies, this milk contains 1% fat by weight, and an 8-ounce serving contains 2.5 grams of fat and 100 calories.

Skim Milk – Also known as nonfat milk, this milk has 0% fat by weight, and as a result, has 0 grams of fat and only 80 calories in an 8-ounce serving.

A2 Milk – Normal milk contains both A1 and A2 beta-casein proteins, but some cows produce milk that only has the A2 beta-casein protein. This A2 milk is sold for those with sensitive digestive systems, as it is easier to digest.

Lactose-Free Milk – Lactose is a naturally occurring sugar in milk that many people can’t digest. So, to eliminate the lactose, manufacturers add lactase, an enzyme that breaks down the lactose in the milk.

Regardless of what kind of milk you choose, they all still contain the same essential nutrients. The main differences are only in fat content and the removal of certain sugars or proteins that some are intolerant to.

Arizona is home to lots of local dairy farms that take pride in producing high-quality dairy products for you to enjoy! Pick some up at your local grocery store today!

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