Whole Milk vs. Half and Half


Which one do you prefer: whole milk vs. half and half?

We pit these two very similar items to see how they fare as far as use, calories and nutrition.

Whether you use one or both of them. Or, if you use them interchangeably we’ll explore their similarities as well as their differences.


Whole Milk vs. Half and Half

Here are the differences between the two.


Physical Appearance

When it comes to appearance, you can see the difference between milk and half and half. Milk is smoother and thinner in texture compared to its counterpart.

One of the reasons for this is that half and half is actually made from milk. But to complete it you also mix in equal parts of cream. And thus, you get a bit more thickness compared to regular milk.

They’ll both appear white in color. And you can pour them into coffee or as an ingredient in cooking recipes.


Fat Content

coffee-with-milk-or-half-and-halfThere are other paramount differences that stand out between half-and-half and whole milk one being the fat content.

A single tablespoon of half and half has:

  • 2 grams of the whole amount of fat,
  • 1 gram of saturated fat
  • and 6 milligrams of cholesterol.

The same quantity of whole milk meanwhile contains:

  • 0.5 grams of the whole fat,
  • 0.4 grams of saturated fat
  • and 2 milligrams of cholesterol.

This is at least for regular milk.

How much fat and cholesterol in milk can vary depending on the kind of cow’s milk that’s used. Whether you get regular whole milk, 2%, 1% or nonfat (skim) milk changes the fat constitution therein.

For example, skim milk is considered healthier than regular milk because it has got no fat, cholesterol nor saturated fat.

In order to reduce the risks of heart disease, the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans from the USDA and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services suggests that we aim to reduce the intake of saturated fat.

It notes that consuming these fats in large amounts increases blood cholesterol levels. The result of which also brings along higher risks of heart diseases.

For this reason, skim milk offers a better alternative compared to regular whole fat milk, in helping prevent the risks of heart related diseases.


Calories in Half-and-Half vs. Whole Milk

half-and-half-cupsHalf-and-half contains double the amount of calories compared to that of dairy whole milk. In addition, it also has more than three times that of skim milk.

To compare,

  • One tablespoon of half-and-half has approximately 20 calories. (1 cup = 315 calories)
  • The same quantity of milk has about 9 calories. (1 cup = 148 calories)
  • Finally, skim milk contains only around 5 calories. (1 cup = 83 calories)

We know that this comparison is between whole milk and half-and-half. However, we thought it would be nice to see how skim milk stood up beside whole milk as well.

So, we’ve included skim milk every now and then.


Flavor, Thickness and Taste

When it comes to taste and texture, this is where milk and half-and-half vary by quite a bit.

It’s also the main reason you go to the milk aisle to get milk. And head elsewhere to get half-and-half.

Half-and-half is usually strong for the coffee. Hence, you could use other alternatives as well to lighten the coffee. One way is to use whole milk instead.

Or, you can just as well use skim milk in order to reduce the number of calories you consume for your daily cups of coffee. We know that a lot of people don’t really like the flavor of skim milk, or lack thereof. But it’s definitely a healthier option compared to 3.25% regular fat milk.

While both whole milk and half-and-half are good sources of proteins and calcium, they do contain some calories.

So if you’re on a diet or watching your waistline, finding a substitute for either or both can be a good idea.


Vitamins and Minerals

cows-milkHere both whole milk and half-and-half contain almost the same amount of calcium since there is no noticeable difference.

  • Apparently each tablespoon of half-and-half has got 16 milligrams of calcium in it. (1 cup = 25% of RDA)
  • On the other hand, whole milk contains 17 milligrams. (1 cup = 27% of RDA)
  • Skim milk meanwhile has around 19 milligrams. (1 cup = 29% of RDA)

So they’re close enough for it not to matter. At least as far as calcium is concerned.

Calcium is a kind of mineral that takes cares of our bones. It strengthens them in the entire body. Hence it is very essential.

If you’re looking for a good source of calcium, you can look to either half-and-half, whole milk or even skim milk. They’re good in supplementing your current diet when it comes to calcium. This will help with better growth and stronger bones.

When it comes to vitamin A however, there’s a slight advantage that goes to half-and-half. It is a better source of vitamin A compared to whole milk and skim milk.

  • Each tablespoon of half-and-half has about 53 IU.
  • On the other hand, whole milk has 24 IU.
  • And skim milk has 31 IU after being fortified vitamin A.


Carbohydrates and Protein

There is no big difference between the carbohydrate content and amount of protein in the half-and half and the whole milk. They are just about equal as:

  • Each tablespoon of half-and-half it contains about 0.6 grams of carbohydrates and about 0.4 grams of proteins. (1 cup = 10 g carbs, 7 g protein)
  • Whereas the same quantity of whole milk has 0.7 grams of carbohydrates and about 0.5 grams of proteins. (1 cup = 12 g carbs, 8 g protein)

The carbohydrates in the half-and-half and the whole milk makes then good sources of energy. While the proteins in them helps build and maintain your muscles and tissues.


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