You Asked: How come calcium is not added to skim milk but is added to 1%, 2% and homogenized?

milkAs consumers we like choices. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that companies provide us with a variety of different milks to choose from. We have the option to purchase whole milk, 2% milk, 1% milk, skim milk as well as organic versions of these. All milk sold undergoes pasteurization, homogenization and fortification with calcium and vitaminD.

Thanks to Louis Pasteur, pasteurization ensures that the harmful microorganisms in the milk are destroyed by heat. Homogenization prevents the fat in milk from rising to the top by breaking fat particles down into tiny droplets that remain suspended in water which makes up the bulk of milk.

The last step is the addition of vitamin D and calcium. But there is an exception. Calcium is not added to skim milk. That seems to be a curiosity, but there is a reasonable explanation.

In milk, calcium is found in the watery portion. In full fat, 2% and 1% milk some of the volume is taken up by fat, meaning there is less water, and therefore less calcium. Appropriate amounts of calcium are added so that each version has the same calcium content. Since skim milk has no fat, it contains more water and therefore more calcium. It does not need to be fortified.


Alexandra Pires-Ménard

4 responses to “You Asked: How come calcium is not added to skim milk but is added to 1%, 2% and homogenized?”

  1. Jeff says:

    This does not occur in Canada, but the Americans put all sorts of crap in their milk — or what they call milk — even cottonseed oil. That’s why studies in the U.S. come up with entirely different results regarding milk and its impacts on health compared to findings in other countries. Many so-called “dairy products” sold in U.S. have no milk in them at all. Canada, unfortunately, is moving in same direction.

    • James says:

      I’d love to see any proof of this. I just googled for Cottonseed milk additive and came up blank. Additionally, some quick googling doesn’t reveal any concerns with cottonseed oil.

      While I can’t find information on calcium additions to milk, we most certainly add Vitamin D.

  2. Aubrey Jon Erickson says:

    I thought milk was already calcium rich?

  3. Christopher Wisniewski says:

    Good reason. I wonder why my brand still has 5 mg of cholesterol but is still skim? That is per cup or 250 ml.

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