Almost every household in the United States has some sort of milk in the fridge. With so many options for milk on the market these days, what’s meant by the term “regular milk”?
Regular milk is usually meant to describe cow’s milk, which is the most common type of milk drunk in the United States.
But hold up – there are different types of “regular milk” beyond that! Don’t worry – we’ll break it all down in this article so there’s no confusion.
What is regular milk?
The term “regular milk” is usually used to describe cow’s milk. Cow’s milk is the most common type of milk consumed in the United States, though there are several other alternatives, both from animals and plants.
To break it down even further, some people refer to whole milk as regular milk because its fat content hasn’t been altered. The levels of fat in regular milk vary from skimmed (non-fat) to 1% milkfat, 2% milkfat, and whole milk (3.25%).
Regular milk (in all forms) can also be organic or “conventional” (non-organic).
The term regular milk likely wasn’t used decades ago when there weren’t so many options, but now it needs to be used to differentiate it from alternatives to cow’s milk.
Regular milk can be used in other milk products like flavored milk (e.g. chocolate milk) and acidophilus milk, which is regular milk with the addition of probiotics (Lactobacillus acidophilus).
Uses for regular milk
Regular milk can be drunk by itself, but there are many other uses for regular milk, such as:
- Coffee (lattes, etc.)
- Cooking and baking
- Making yogurt and other milk byproducts like ice cream, cheese, etc.
- Making sauces (e.g. bechamel, alfredo sauce, etc.)
Benefits of regular milk
Regular milk is a natural source of calcium, which is one of its biggest benefits. The United States Dietary Guidelines suggest that adults consume the equivalent of three cups of fat-free milk per day and that children consume at least two cups of milk per day.
Another benefit of regular milk is that it’s fortified with vitamin D, a nutrient that isn’t found naturally in many foods. Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium and is important for bone health.
Some other benefits of regular milk are that it’s:
- A good source of protein
- A budget-friendly source of calories and protein
- Accessible (easy to find at grocery stores, gas stations, etc.)
- A common ingredient in many recipes
Disadvantages of regular milk
Regular milk contains lactose, a natural sugar (also called milk sugar). Your body creates an enzyme called lactase, which helps your body break down lactose for easier digestion.
Some people have lactose intolerance, which is when your body doesn’t create enough lactase enzyme to properly break down lactose. If you have lactose intolerance and drink regular milk (or milk products like ice cream, yogurt, etc.) you might experience symptoms like nausea, bloating, stomach pain, gas, and diarrhea.
If you have lactose intolerance and want to consume cow’s milk, you have a few options such as:
- Taking a lactase enzyme when you consume milk
- Choosing lactose-free milk (regular milk with the lactase enzyme added)
Regular milk isn’t vegan-friendly because it comes from animals. In addition, it’s not compatible with special diets like:
Milk allergy is one of the most common food allergens, and typically cow’s milk is the most common type of milk allergy. If you have a milk allergy, you can’t consume regular milk safely and should choose another alternative.
Nutritional comparison of types of regular milk
The difference between the variations of regular milk is the fat content, which ranges from 0% fat to 3.25% fat (skim-whole).
|Per cup (237 ml/8 oz.)||Calories||Total fat (saturated)||Total carbs||Total sugars (incl. added)||Protein||Calcium||Vit D|
|1% milk||110||2.5 g (1.4 g)||13 g||12 g (0g)||8 g||25% DV||10% DV|
|2% milk||130||5 g (3 g)||12 g||12 g (0 g)||8 g||25% DV||10% DV|
|Skim/nonfat milk||90||0 g||13 g||12 g (0 g)||8 g||30% DV||25% DV|
|Whole milk||160||8 g (4.5 g)||11 g||10 g (0 g)||8 g||25% DV||10% DV|
If you want to use regular milk in place of coconut milk, be sure to use whole milk since coconut milk is high in fat.
If a recipe calls for canned coconut milk (even higher in fat than carton coconut milk), you might need to add some flour or another thickener to the whole milk. Otherwise, you can substitute regular milk for coconut milk 1:1.
It’s fine to use regular milk in curry, but the flavor will likely be different than if you used coconut milk.