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What Is the Difference Between Vitamin D Milk and Whole Milk? (Explained)

What Is the Difference Between Vitamin D Milk and Whole Milk? (Explained)

There are different types of milk available on the market since milk is evolving with time. New types of milk with different types of ingredients are easily found in the groceries stores. But the main question is: What’s the difference between these two kinds of milk?

Recently, there’s a new type of milk on the market: vitamin D milk. But what exactly is vitamin D milk and what’s the difference between vitamin D milk and whole milk. There’s a lot of credit confusion regarding this matter due to how milk is marketed.

When you drink whole milk, it has all types of different nutrients. However, whole milk lacks vitamin D, that’s why vitamin D milk was introduced. Vitamin D milk and whole milk are more or less the same, the only difference is vitamin D isn’t present in whole milk.

In this article, I’ll tell you exactly the difference between whole milk and vitamin D milk.

Vitamin D Milk

Vitamin D milk is similar to other types of milk, the only difference is that it has vitamin D which isn’t present in other types of milk. Vitamin D is added to cow’s milk by law in some countries like Canada and Sweden. However, in the US, adding vitamin D to milk isn’t compulsory.

Since the 1930s, when it was established as a public health program to lower the risk of rickets, which can cause poor bone development and abnormalities in children, vitamin D has been added to cow milk.

Although milk doesn’t naturally contain vitamin D, still it’s a good source of calcium which is beneficial for your bones. The two nutrient works great when combined together, as vitamin D aids calcium absorption into your bones, thus helping strengthen them.

Vitamin D and calcium are also great together for preventing and treating osteomalacia, or soft bones, which accompanies rickets and can affect older adults.

According to a research conducted in Finland, where vitamin D milk has been mandated since 2003, 91 percent of milk drinkers had vitamin D levels of at least 20 ng/mo, which the Institute of Medicine considers sufficient.

Consuming milk with vitamin D helps your body to get a sufficient amount of vitamin D which is good for your bones and improves levels of vitamin D in the blood.

Vitamin D is Absent in Milk Naturally
Vitamin D isn’t naturally found in milk

Benefits of Vitamin D

Consuming milk with vitamin D is advantageous for you and has many health benefits as well. Consuming vitamin D milk increases vitamin D in your body which improves your bone health, apart from that, it has the following health benefits:

  • May reduce the risk of heart disease.
  • May reduce the risk of cancer
  • May prevent vitamin D and autoimmune diseases.
  • Helps regulate the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body
Vitamin D is Present in Your Milk For Good Reasons

Whole Milk

I am sure everyone must have a heart about whole milk. Most people use whole milk on daily basis. The term whole milk is used to describe the quantity of fat that this particular milk contains compared to other types of milk.

Whole milk refers to cow’s milk. Whole milk contains all of the milk’s original fat content and none of the fat is removed during the process. It has a fat percentage of 3.25%, which is the most amount of fat in any milk. Since it has a large amount of fat, it has a thicker consistency compared to the reduced-fat milk type.

To give you a better idea of how whole milk is different compared to other types of milk, reduced-fat milk has a fat percentage of 2%. Skim milk is (or should be by law) completely fat-free at least have less than 0.5% fat.

Skim milk is also known as non-fat milk. Milk with a low-fat percentage has runnier or more water-like consistency.

Milk Helps in Bone Regulation
Drinking milk can improve your bones.

Is Whole Milk Unhealthy?

For many years, nutrient guidelines have been recommending people to avoid whole milk, mainly due to its saturated fat content. Mainstream nutrition recommendation suggests people limiting their fat consumption can increase cholesterol levels, which is a risk factor for heart disease.

Based on these recommendations, experts made their assumption that saturated fat must increase the risk of heart disease. However, there was no proper evidence to prove that this was true.

A single cup of whole milk contains 4.5 grams of saturated fat, which is about 20% of the daily amount recommended by the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. This is the reason behind guidelines for consuming only low-fat or skim milk.

However, recently these recommendations have been questioned since there’s emerging experimental data to indicate that eating moderate amounts of saturated fat does not directly cause heart disease.

What Is the Difference Between Vitamin D Milk and Whole Milk?

Vitamin D milk and whole milk are the same types of milk. They’re the same product and both of these milk contain the same amount of milk fat which is 3.25 percent.

The only difference is that both of these milk is marketed under two different names or a combination of the two names. However, in some cases, whole milk isn’t fortified with vitamin D, it couldn’t be labeled as vitamin D milk.

Despite whole milk being marketed as vitamin D milk, bear in mind that milk with a low amount of fat contains the same amount of vitamin D.

That being said, the high amount of fat content in whole milk does a better job at protecting the vitamins in milk than in lower-fat varieties. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) suggests that Vitamin D is very stable in homogenized whole milk and is not affected by pasteurization or other processing procedures. 

This means no matter how long milk is stored, there will be no loss of any vitamin potency during a long period of storage in whole milk.

Different Types of Milk

Apart from whole milk, there’re other types of milk also available. Whole milk is basically milk that has a large amount of fat in it since it hasn’t been altered. Skim and 1% milk are altered by removing fat from whole milk.

One way of measuring the fat content of the milk is as a percentage of the total liquid by weight. Here’s the fat content of popular milk varieties: 

  • whole milk: 3.25% milk fat
  • low-fat milk: 1% milk fat
  • skim: less than 0.5% milk fat

To give you a better idea about different types of milk and their fat content, here’s a table:

Low-Fat MilkWhole MilkSkim Milk
Carbs12 grams11.8 grams12.2 grams
Protein8 grams8 grams8.75 grams
Fat0.2 grams2.5 grams8 grams
Saturated fat1.5 grams4.5 grams0.4 grams
Omega-3 fatty acids0 grams0.01 grams0.01 grams
Calcium25% of the DV24% of the DV24% of the DV
Vitamin D14% of the DV13% of the DV12% of the DV
Phosphorus21% of the DV20% of the DV20% of DV
Comparison of fat content in different milk forms

Since fat contains more calories in a single serving than any other nutrient in the milk, milk with a higher fat content is higher in calories.

Although every type of milk contains a similar amount of micronutrients, the amount of vitamin D can differ slightly. However, now every manufacturer does add vitamin D to milk during the process, and each variety generally contains a similar amount.

3.25% Fat present in whole milk
Whole milk has 3.25% of fat.


  • Whole milk and vitamin D milk are almost the same types of milk.
  • The only difference between them is that whole milk doesn’t contain vitamin D.
  • Whole milk has 3.25% of fat.
  • Whole milk contains calcium which is great for your bones.
  • When vitamin D is added to the milk, it’s beneficial for your heart and bones and reduces the risk of many diseases.
  • Vitamin D milk and whole milk contain the same milk fat.
  • Low-fat milk and skim milk are the other types of milk present.

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