I like 2% milk, and my doctor told me to switch to skim because I’m on a low-cholesterol diet. But I don’t like skim; it looks blue and watered down. Isn’t 2% okay to drink? I have only one glass a day.

The switch to low-fat (defined as 3 grams [g] fat or less per serving) dairy aligns with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015–2020 and is an especially helpful strategy in managing our cholesterol. Most of the fat from animal products is in the form of saturated fat, and this has been shown to negatively impact our body’s blood cholesterol.

Although your doctor had some solid advice on this, one serving of a favorite dairy product a day that happens to be higher in fat (5 grams in one cup of 2% milk versus 0 grams in skim milk) probably won’t single-handedly increase your cholesterol. Take a step back, and look at the whole of your diet: Are you maybe overdoing things like high-fat meats, whole eggs, shellfish, pastries, hard cheese or butter? It’s best to aim for less than about 300 milligrams of dietary cholesterol and 22 grams of saturated fat per day for best results.

Molly Hembree, MS, RD, LD – @krogernutritionCBUS  – A registered dietitian with Kroger, Molly provides private nutrition counseling services and has been a public speaker, radio talk show guest, blog author and TV news presenter for Kroger. She enjoys helping customers simplify the confusing world of nutrition labels, diet intolerances, weight management or plant-based nutrition. When not at work, you can find her at a hip-hop dance class, snuggling with her cats or working on her food photography skills. 

Have a nutrition-related question? Send it to [email protected].