No Myth, 1% Is The Healthy Choice! - ONIE Project

No Myth, 1% Is The Healthy Choice!

Posted by ONIE Project on 09/19/2014

ONIE Project: 1% Milk Benefits

This week we launched our campaign to promote 1% Low-fat milk use in your home. There are many myths about 1% low-fat milk.  The ONIE Project team has gathered FACTS to bust the myths listed below.

Myth: 1% low-fat milk has less vitamins and minerals than 2% or whole milk.
Fact: Milk is rich in nutrients including Vitamin D, Vitamin A, calcium, magnesium, and potassium as well as protein and Vitamin B-12[1-4]. 1% low-fat milk has the same nutrients as whole or 2% milk.

Myth: The thick texture of whole and 2% milk is a sign of quality. The essential vitamins and minerals in milk are in the fat.
Fact: The fat in milk is well just fat.  Adding the fat to milk does not improve the nutritional value of milk. It is a cosmetic change to make milk look thicker.  Milk is homogenized to create the thick look and texture. This is a process which mixes the fat into the milk at very high pressures. Almost all milk sold in grocery stores is homogenized. The 8 grams of protein and nine essential vitamins that we love about milk are in the milk, not the fat.

ONIE Project: 1% Milk Benefits

Myth: 1% low-fat milk has more sugar.
Fact: Lactose is the sugar that occurs naturally in milk. The amount of lactose does not vary by the type of milk. Therefore, 1% milk has the same amount of sugar as whole and 2% milk. The American Diabetes Association recommends use of 1% low-fat or non-fat milk. We recommend that you ask your personal physician if you have questions about the type of milk to use because of an illness or chronic disease (link).

Myth:  Just drink less 2% milk to avoid the fat. It is all about moderation.
Fact: The saturated fat and excess calories contained in whole and 2% milk is a problem. Whole and 2% milk are among the top 20 sources of saturated fat in the American diet.  Also, milk is one of the top ten sources of calories in the American diet[5, 6]. However, it also is a major source of nutrients. A study of dietary patterns revealed that the milk we drink contributes 49.5% of Vitamin D, 25.3% of calcium, 17.1% of Vitamin B12, and 11.6% of potassium we intake, as well as many other nutrients[5]. This is great because milk is one of the most affordable, nutrient-dense foods[2]. Don’t miss out on the important vitamins and minerals in milk; make the change to 1% low-fat milk, all the vitamins and minerals with half of the fat and calories of 2% milk.

Myth: Kids need whole milk to grow.
ONIE Project: 1% Milk BenefitsFact: While dietary fats are needed for children’s growth and development, children 2 years old and older generally consume enough fats in their diet without consuming fat from milk. The 2010 Dietary Guidelines (USDA)[6] and the American Academy of Pediatricians[7] recommend that after a child’s 2nd birthday, they should start drinking 1% low-fat or non-fat milk.  1% low-fat milk is served in schools. Make the healthy choice at home as well.

Myth: The fat in whole and 2% milk is good for us.
Fact: The large majority of studies show that low-fat 1% milk is a better choice than high fat 2% and whole milk. We follow the current 2010 USDA Dietary Guidelines for America[6] to guide our nutrition education. These guidelines are also backed by the Institute of Medicine and other respectable and credible sources.

Myth: 1% low-fat milk is watered-down.
Fact: 1% low-fat milk is not watered down. As you might know, fat floats on top of milk. The difference in the types of milk is how much fat the milk processor adds back in and mixes up (homogenizes) after all of the fat is skimmed off the top of the milk. 1% milk is 100% milk, all the vitamins and minerals and half the fat of 2% milk.

Myth: I can manage lactose intolerance by drinking whole or 2% milk.
Fact: Lactose intolerance/maldigestion is caused by the incomplete digestion of lactose (milk sugar). All types of milk have the same amount of sugar. Changing the type of milk is not recommended to manage lactose intolerance[8].Recommendations to manage symptoms of lactose intolerance include the following:

    • Consuming smaller portions of milk in a serving;
    • Consuming milk with a meal;
    • Choosing lactose-free 1% low-fat milk.

ONIE Project: 1% Milk Benefits

Myth: Only whole milk has Vitamin D.
Fact: The front of the whole milk carton is often labeled “Vitamin D milk”. But don’t let this labeling fool you: 1% low-fat milk has all the Vitamin D of whole milk, just with much less fat and calories. They could label all types of milk “Vitamin D milk” because they all have the same amount of Vitamin D.

From the ONIE Project Team

ONIE Project




  1. Aggarwal, A., P. Monsivals, and A. Drewnowski, Nutrient intakes linked to better health outcomes are associated with higher diet costs in the US. Plos ONE, 2012. 7(5): p. 1-10.
  2. Drewnowski, A., The nutrient rich foods index helps to identify healthy, affordable foods. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2010. 91S: p. 1095S-1101S.
  3. Drewnowski, A. and S.E. Specter, Poverty and obesity: The role of engery density and energy costs. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2004. 79: p. 6-16.
  4. Sebastian, R.S., et al., Fluid milk consumption in the United States: What we eat in America, NHANES 2005-2006, in Food Surveys Research Group Dietary Data Brief 2010.
  5. Huth, P.J., et al., Major food sources of calories, added sugars, and saturated fat and their contribution to essential nutrient intakes in the U.S. diet: data from the national health and nutrition examination survey (2003–2006). Nutrition Journal, 2013. 12(116): p. 1-10.
  6. Gidding, S.S., et al., Dietary recommendations for children and adolescents: A guide for practitioners. Pediatrics, 2006. 117(2): p. 544-559.
  7. Bailey, R.K., et al., Lactose intolerance and health disparities among African Americans and Hispanic Americans: An updated consensus statement. Journal of the National Medical Association, 2013. 105(2): p. 112-127.



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