Dear Lynne,
Something I've wanted to know for a while is what does 2 percent milk actually mean? How is that 2 percent calculated? How much fat and how many fat calories am I actually consuming?  

Dear Brad,

The fat in milk is calculated by weight using the metric system.

Here is a breakdown that hopefully answers your question and gives you the calorie count of the fat in each type of milk. Remember, this count is only that of the fat content of the milk; other ingredients in milk up the calorie count beyond these numbers.

  • One cup of milk weighs 245 grams or 8.75 ounces
  • One cup of whole milk has 8.2 grams, or 1-1/2 teaspoons, of fat, which adds up to about 45 calories
  • In 1 cup of 2 percent milk you get about 5.2 grams, or a little less than a teaspoon, of fat, which is around 30 calories
  • A cup of 1 percent milk gives you 2.6 grams, or close to 1/2 teaspoon, fat, which contains about 15 calories
  • One cup of skim or fat-free milk contains 0.4 grams fat, which adds up to nearly no calories.


Lynne Rossetto Kasper

Lynne Rossetto Kasper has won numerous awards as host of The Splendid Table, including two James Beard Foundation Awards (1998, 2008) for Best National Radio Show on Food, five Clarion Awards (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2014) from Women in Communication, and a Gracie Allen Award in 2000 for Best Syndicated Talk Show.