I'd like to cut down on the amount of fat in my diet — in dairy products, for example, which I use a lot of — but I'm not crazy about skim milk. It tastes even thinner than I want to look. How about 2 percent-fat milk instead? What possible difference could two paltry percentage points make?
Quite a bit when it comes to low fat vs. low low fat dairy products. The labels on milk cartons can be confusing, even though they're accurate. Whole milk is only about 3 percent butterfat. So 2 percent milk has had a third of its fat removed — not 98 percent, as many people believe. While a 30 percent reduction in fat is not to be sneezed at, 2 percent milk doesn't provide the spectacular savings most people assume it does. Approximate calories per cup: skim milk, 90; 1 percent, 110; 2 percent, 130; whole, 150.
There are other ways to reduce the dairy fat in your diet so you are eating low low fat dairy. Try replacing evaporated milk with evaporated skim milk; the substitution is undetectable in most recipes. Instead of ice cream, treat yourself to frozen yogurt, a delicious and increasingly popular product. Skim or low-fat yogurt can substitute for sour cream. That can take some getting used to: I'd suggest you start out by using yogurt in recipes that have other strong flavors.
— Carol Taylor, associate editor
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