Milk has a wide variety of uses and thus is one of the most basic items found in kitchens worldwide. It is consumed as a beverage, poured on cereals, and used in many different ways in cooking. In response to consumers with different nutritional demands, modern food science has made many different types of fluid milk available.

Although milk can be less inviting to people who are concerned with their weight because of its high fat content, some types of milk contain no fat at all.

Whole milk — Containing 3 1/2 percent milk fat, this type of milk is often simply labeled "milk" or "vitamin D milk" if that particular vitamin has been added. Of all types of milk, whole milk is among the highest in fat and calories. One cup has 150 calories and approximately 8 grams of fat.

Reduced-fat milk — Often referred to as two percent, this type of milk has had some milk fat removed from it. Two percent reflects the amount of fat in the milk by weight. It does not refer to the percentage of calories from fat. One cup of 2 percent milk has 130 calories and 5 grams of fat.

Low-fat milk — Also known as 1 percent milk, this type of milk contains about 100 calories and 2.6 grams of fat in 1 cup.

Nonfat or skim milk — Skim milk, which contains less than 0.5 percent milk fat, is now more often labeled nonfat milk. It contains the same amount of nutrients, such as calcium, as its higher fat counterparts, but it has no fat and just 90 calories.

Buttermilk — Buttermilk was once the residue left from churning butter, but today's version is made from adding a lactic acid culture to milk. The result is far less rich than the original "natural" buttermilk, but it still retains the thick texture and acidic tang of old. Some manufacturers add flecks of butter for an authentic look or stabilizers to prevent separation. Because of its name, buttermilk may sound high in fat. Yet, in most instances it is not. Buttermilk derives its fat content from the milk used to make it, and in the United States low-fat or nonfat milk is used most often. Calories and fat in buttermilk depend on what type of milk was used to make it. Check the label for fat content.

Acidophilus milk — Normally killed during pasteurization, the healthy bacteria culture Lactobacillus acidophilus is reintroduced into whole, low-fat, or nonfat milk to create sweet acidophilus milk. In a/B milk, both acidophilus and bifidobacteria cultures are added. Acidophilus occurs naturally in the body and is found mainly in the small intestine. Many factors can alter the level of this intestinal bacterium, including diet, alcohol consumption, illness,

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