Before I actually started to write this post, I took a while reading up what other people are saying on this topic.

I chanced upon a Quora answer by a Dairy Consultant. He dismissed these different types of milk as new-age consumer brainwashing. He probably has reasons to believe that it is not wise to segment milk based on its nutritional content.

I found this sentiment resonating at a couple of other places I looked.

People fondly remembered when all they wanted to know about milk was whether it came from a cow or a buffalo. No questions on what each milk contained and how they were different.

Fair enough, that sure would have been an easy time.

But as we stand today, you and I. We have these choices in front of us and we got to make a decision.

It only makes sense to understand how raw milk from Farmery is different from a packet of toned milk you can get in a milk outlet close by 🙃

So, here goes.

It’s best to visualise all these different types of milk across a spectrum. On the far left, you have skimmed milk, followed by toned and whole milk. And on the far right, you have raw milk.

In the blog below, I’ll start with skimmed milk. From there, I’ll keep on adding what more you’re getting with each new variety on that spectrum. I’m sure it’ll help you make up your mind on what part of the spectrum you’ll like to be on :)

Skimmed Milk

I start with skimmed milk because this milk has the least amount of fat. Typically 0.1%, to be more specific.

With all the fat gone, skimmed milk has the least amount of calories in it. So it’s great for you if you don’t want to put any more weight. But don’t try it with the kids, unless he or she is seriously overweight. Skimmed milk isn’t recommended for kids since the children need fat in their milk for growth.

Granted, skimmed milk doesn’t have the fat and corresponding calories. But it doesn’t mean that it loses any of the other good things, like proteins, phosphorus, potassium and calcium. Mostly, skimmed milk is fortified with Vitamin A and D.

You’ve seen skimmed milk if you’ve traveled in any one of the 16 Shatabdi Express trains that run from Delhi.

The tea tray onboard a Shatabdi Express. (Picture courtesy: IRCTC)

Now, the skimmed milk powder you see in the picture is also used to produce what I’m going to discuss next, that is …..

Toned Milk

Since skimmed milk barely contains any fat, adding it to whole milk dilutes the overall fat percentage in the milk. Mixing whole milk with water and skimmed milk gets us what’s called the toned milk.

The toned milk is designed to bring down the price of milk and make it more affordable while taking away the fat content of the milk. The fat in toned milk is close to 3%.

Depending upon how much skimmed milk powder you add, you can have single-toned or double-toned milk. The double-toned has half as much fat as single-toned milk. It’s as simple as that.

Full Cream, or Whole Milk

Whole milk has all the nutrients you’d need from milk, including the fat content. Whole milk can have anywhere between 4% (for cow’s milk) to 8% (for buffalo’s milk) fat.

Whether it is skimmed, toned or whole milk - are prepared after homogenising and pasteurizing raw milk from the farms. This is done to maintain a consistent taste and quality in the milk.

What’s important to note is that this process of homogenization and pasteurization mean.. that the whole milk you get isn’t as whole and natural as …

Raw Milk

Raw Milk, before pasteurisation, has many nutrients and bacteria that can prove helpful.

Now, before you get scared of the word bacteria, I’ll request you to think of this one fact.

All our guts - both yours and mine, have anywhere between 500 and 1000 different kinds of bacteria.

So, it’s not the case that all bacteria are bad.

Outside of the helpful bacteria that it preserves, raw milk from cows that are fed in open pastures have higher nutrient.

Green Feed of the Cows!

Just as we need green leafy vegetables, cows need a healthy dose of green feed. In the video, you see a farm that provides the green feed to our cows living closeby.

Geplaatst door Farmery Milk op Zaterdag 20 juli 2019
Green Feed of the Cows!

So, if you look across the spectrum,

  • Skimmed milk has most nutrients and least fat content (0.1%)
  • Toned milk is made by adding skimmed milk powder to whole milk
  • Single-Toned milk has 3% fat and Double-toned milk has 1.5% fat
  • Whole milk has anywhere between 4-6% fat
  • Skimmed, Toned, and Whole milk are all pasteurised and homogenised
  • Raw milk is unpasteurised. It has ~4% fat plus helpful bacteria and nutrients that otherwise are killed in pasteurisation

If you liked reading the post, you may like to read further from:

  1. Chris Kresser: He presents a fair picture on the raw milk debate.
  2. Raw Milk: When raw milk is produced under restrict hygienic conditions, beneficial bacteria can be preserved
  3. US National Library of Medicine : Cows grazing pasture have higher conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) in milk fat than cows fed typical dairy diets
  4. Wikipedia: It is estimated that 500 to 1,000 species of bacteria live in the human gut
  5. Times of India: Cow milk has 3-4 percent of fat, while buffalo milk has about 7-8 percent.
  6. ScienceDirect: A collection of scientific papers on Raw Milk
  7. NDTV: Toned milk is obtained through a process which combines whole milk with water, skimmed milk and powder skimmed milk
  8. Quora: Answers to "What is the difference between toned, double toned, cream and full cream milk available in the market by any brand?"