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View Full Version : Can people tell the difference between skim and whole milk?


Frylock
09-01-2011, 06:57 AM
They taste identical to me, but I know many people prefer one to the other on grounds of taste.

Is there research out there showing that some people can reliably make the distinction?

My wife says she much prefers 1% to 2% based on how they taste. Can people really reliably make that distinction?

Aspidistra
09-01-2011, 07:14 AM
Are you drinking it, or just putting it in your coffee?

Seriously, I can't imagine not being able to tell the difference. It's like "can you tell the difference between milk and cream?"

rhubarbarin
09-01-2011, 07:15 AM
I could ace a blind taste test (pretty sure I could tell skim from 1% and 2% too, not sure about the latter two from each other). Not only do they taste quite different because of the fat content, they have an entirely different mouthfeel and consistency.

I used to beg my mom when I was little to buy the whole milk I preferred, she insisted on 2% which wasn't half as good.

AClockworkMelon
09-01-2011, 07:18 AM
Uh, yes. This isn't like comparing Pepsi and Coke. Skim milk is watery compared to whole.

Keeve
09-01-2011, 07:21 AM
They taste identical to me, but I know many people prefer one to the other on grounds of taste.

Is there research out there showing that some people can reliably make the distinction?

My wife says she much prefers 1% to 2% based on how they taste. Can people really reliably make that distinction?Sounds to me like you've already done the research yourself. Why are you asking us? Do you not believe your wife and other acquaintances?

Okay, maybe the above was a bit snarky, and I apologize. I guess you're trying to take a poll of how common it is to tell the difference. Personally, I have trouble telling the difference between 1% and 2%. I can easily tell the difference between whole and skim, and I like the whole better, but it is not enough of a difference to override skim's health benefits.

Mosier
09-01-2011, 07:21 AM
Not only can I taste the difference, I can SEE the difference.

Lynn Bodoni
09-01-2011, 07:24 AM
I could ace a blind taste test (pretty sure I could tell skim from 1% and 2% too, not sure about the latter two from each other). Not only do they taste quite different because of the fat content, they have an entirely different mouthfeel and consistency.

I used to beg my mom when I was little to buy the whole milk I preferred, she insisted on 2% which wasn't half as good. Yes, I can tell the difference between cream, whole milk, and lowfat/skim milk. Part of it is taste, and part of it is mouthfeel. Lowfat and skim milk taste and feel more like water than milk.

Machine Elf
09-01-2011, 07:49 AM
Uh, yes. This isn't like comparing Pepsi and Coke. Skim milk is watery compared to whole.


If you're used to skim milk, then whole milk seems like paint in comparison. It even looks different when you pour it on your cereal or in a glass.

bengangmo
09-01-2011, 07:52 AM
Growing up one of the places I lived was a dairy farm. Used to have milk direct from vat. Now all I get is crap with three week shelf life low fat. Between whole and low fat there is a huge diff. Between long shelf life and what I used to drink is huge diff. I won't drink the current colored water we get.

Qadgop the Mercotan
09-01-2011, 08:36 AM
They taste very different, and even the feeling they give in the mouth is very different.

Si Amigo
09-01-2011, 08:44 AM
Growing up one of the places I lived was a dairy farm. Used to have milk direct from vat. Now all I get is crap with three week shelf life low fat. Between whole and low fat there is a huge diff. Between long shelf life and what I used to drink is huge diff. I won't drink the current colored water we get.

Who needs pasturazation? Straight from the vat; those were the days! I remember having to shake the bottle (yes we used glass bottles) in order to mix the cream on top with the rest of the milk. My mom always sent a gallon or two with me when I went back to college every week and my roommate gained eight pounds one semester because he used to just suck up the cream on top.

eclectic wench
09-01-2011, 08:45 AM
Totally different. Even in tea. Occasionally I've put Widget's whole milk into my tea by mistake, instead of our 2.5% (the cartons look the same, except one has a green flash and one has a blue), and I knew the second I tasted it. If you're used to semi-skimmed, then whole milk feels like it coats your tongue.

A few weeks back they switched our brand of semi-skimmed from 2.5% to 1% - I didn't notice the writing on the carton, but again, I knew something was weird as soon as I tasted it. It tasted like I'd somehow put water in my tea.

enipla
09-01-2011, 08:45 AM
? You can't tell? Like folks have said, you can see the difference. I will tolerate skim in oatmeal, but I have to have at least 1% on cereal. I much prefer 2% though.

Not sure if I've ever had whole, but I imagine it does look like paint compared to skim.

Ludovic
09-01-2011, 08:46 AM
Once I bought 1% milk by mistake and could tell it was not the 2% milk I thought I had bought. I can also taste the difference between non-pulp orange juice from concentrate versus non-pulp orange juice from concentrate with added calcium.

shiftless
09-01-2011, 08:48 AM
Not only can I taste the difference, I can SEE the difference.

Yep. Taste, appearance, and mouth feel are all different. They may even smell different, I'll have to do a test. The senses would be unanimous if whole and skim made different sounds.

Canadjun
09-01-2011, 08:53 AM
Everybody's different so I am not saying it's impossible, but I have real difficulty believing that somebody could not tell the difference between whole milk and skim milk. I'm not sure I could tell the difference between 1% and 2%, but I can tell the difference between whole and 1% or 2% and between those and skim. The consistency of skim is (to me) radically different from any of the others and I don't like it at all.

Max the Immortal
09-01-2011, 09:00 AM
Not only can I taste the difference, I can SEE the difference.

Yeah, when you're accustomed to 2%, skim looks slightly bluish; my guess is that it's slightly translucent and catches the light strangely. Skim also tastes a lot like powdered milk when you're not used to it.

Enderw24
09-01-2011, 09:34 AM
I can tell the difference between Coke and Pepsi, though I would agree that both probably taste the same in a bowl of cereal.

Brown Eyed Girl
09-01-2011, 09:37 AM
Not only can I taste the difference, I can SEE the difference.
And what good would that do you in a blind taste test? ;)

http://youtu.be/U8K9caTKrbo

kanicbird
09-01-2011, 09:58 AM
IIRC Whole milk is 3.7%, so going from whole to 2% is about a 25% loss of a ingredient, just like in recipes, some ingredients you can leave out with out much effect, others are noticeable, and reducing one of those by 1/4 or 1/2 can make the product quite different.


I used to beg my mom when I was little to buy the whole milk I preferred, she insisted on 2% which wasn't half as good.

Sorry, I feel for you.

redtail23
09-01-2011, 10:01 AM
Absolutely. It took me *years* to get used to drinking 2% (I grew up drinking unhomogenized whole milk). I still can't manage 1%.

md2000
09-01-2011, 10:07 AM
When I was a kid at day camp they'd hand out the ltttle wax-cardboard containers of milk. No comparison, everyone called the skim stuff "dishwater" it was so weak. I can tell if I use 2% instead of my typical 1% nowadays on cereal. Real mik (3.5%)? No contest, easy to tell.

lazybratsche
09-01-2011, 10:08 AM
There's 8 or 9 grams of milk fat in an 8 oz cup of milk. Wouldn't you notice if someone took your favorite drink (tea, coffee, juice, soda, whatever) and blended in a pat of butter?

D_Odds
09-01-2011, 10:12 AM
Just to chime in, it is an entirely different consistency, mouth-feel, and taste due to the fat content. As I am watching my fat intake, I forced myself to accept skim (by gradually going from whole to 2% to 1.5% to 1% to skim - can't find 1.5% anymore). I keep 2% for most cooking applications that call for whole milk and for my coffee (down from half&half). I'd rather drink black coffee than coffee with skim. For oatmeal, cereal, and other applications, I've reluctantly taught myself to accept skim.

DSeid
09-01-2011, 10:12 AM
Honestly this is like asking if there is any study that proves people can tell the difference between beef and lamb.

Many grew up with whole and now resentfully drink skim for health considerations. Those of us who were raised on skim gag when we are faced with drinking whole.

My wife grew up on whole and loves a product available out east called "Skim plus", which seems to be partially evaporated skim milk, or at least skim milk with extra evaporated skim milk added (same difference) - ends up as the same calories as whole but those calories contain much more protein and much less fat, and it gives her the mouthfeel that she misses. They don't seem to sell it near us though; she had it at her mom's.

Mijin
09-01-2011, 10:29 AM
This would have made a great poll...

Bartman
09-01-2011, 10:31 AM
Just another data point here, but yes Frylock to me they taste significantly different. If I had skim, 1%, 2%, and whole in blind taste test containers I am 100% confident I could easily tell the difference by taste alone.

smithsb
09-01-2011, 10:35 AM
So far, nothing but anecdotes and personal claims. Not being snarky, but where are the double-blind taste tests, or visual tests? Not playing James Randi here but a lot of this is like audiophiles claiming to hear a differenct in speaker wires. It doesn't stand up to testing.

I can't belive the government or industry hasn't sponsored research in this area.

AClockworkMelon
09-01-2011, 10:37 AM
If you're used to skim milk, then whole milk seems like paint in comparison. It even looks different when you pour it on your cereal or in a glass.Yup. There's a layer of transparency on the surface of skim milk.

panache45
09-01-2011, 10:41 AM
Not only can I taste the difference, I can SEE the difference.

This. They look different and taste different. It doesn't matter whether I'm drinking it or using it in my coffee. I used to use half & half in my coffee, then I gradually weaned myself to whole milk, then to 2%. I can't go any further; when I put 1% or skim in my coffee, it tastes very similar to black coffee.

Frylock
09-01-2011, 11:04 AM
Sounds to me like you've already done the research yourself. Why are you asking us? Do you not believe your wife and other acquaintances?


You are obviously correct: I don't believe her. (And I've never discussed it with other acquaintances.)

Rather than go out and buy two kinds of milk (one of which she doesn't like, if she's indeed right that she can tell the difference) and confronting her with a demand for a taste test, I've decided to satisfy my curiosity not by polling the dope (as you suggested) but asking if this has actually been tested and shown to be true in some verifiable way.

Frylock
09-01-2011, 11:06 AM
Lots of anecdotes and unsubstantiated claims here here... my anecdote is:

When I was poor, I was at the WIC office and they were doing a taste-test demonstration of people's general inability to make the distinction between skim and whole. The demonstration seemed quite convincing--people's chances of getting it right throughout the day had been about fifty fifty.

But maybe they had the milks mixed up, or maybe one was older than the other, or maybe refrigeration levels are important, or something.

I'm looking for hard data, if it exists.

ETA BTW my wife failed that taste test. But like I said it was far from a rigorous test.

Skammer
09-01-2011, 11:07 AM
We keep both a gallon of skim milk and a gallon of 2% in our fridge, and it's easy to tell the difference just by how it looks when you pour it. 2% is much thicker.

I grew up on whole milk, which I still love but rarely drink because of the fat. But it's like drinking pure cream now that I'm not used to it. (It's wonderful!).

enipla
09-01-2011, 11:09 AM
Lots of anecdotes and unsubstantiated claims here here... my anecdote is:

When I was poor, I was at the WIC office and they were doing a taste-test demonstration of people's general inability to make the distinction between skim and whole. The demonstration seemed quite convincing--people's chances of getting it right throughout the day had been about fifty fifty.

But maybe they had the milks mixed up, or maybe one was older than the other, or maybe refrigeration levels are important, or something.

I'm looking for hard data, if it exists.I doubt you'll find any hard data. And I'm rather stunned that you can't tell the difference. Isn't your Wife's word, and those opinions here good enough? Why would the SDMB (or your Wife for that matter) lie to you?

Johnny L.A.
09-01-2011, 11:10 AM
This isn't like comparing Pepsi and Coke.

Coke and Pepsi taste quite different. Just sayin'.

Frylock
09-01-2011, 11:12 AM
Coke and Pepsi taste quite different. Just sayin'.

Isn't that clockwork's point?

Frylock
09-01-2011, 11:13 AM
I doubt you'll find any hard data. And I'm rather stunned that you can't tell the difference. Isn't your Wife's word, and those opinions here good enough? Why would the SDMB (or your Wife for that matter) lie to you?

I don't think anyone is lying.

Frylock
09-01-2011, 11:16 AM
Best cite I can find so far (and it's not very good) says 56 percent of people tested could tell the difference. No details about how this was measured, though.

http://1milk-protein.com/

Johnny L.A.
09-01-2011, 11:19 AM
Isn't that clockwork's point?

The way I read it is this: 'This isn't like comparing Pepsi and Coke, [which taste virtually the same]. Whole milk and skim milk are entirely different.'

I say that Coke and Pepsi are immediately differentiated by taste.

enipla
09-01-2011, 11:21 AM
don't think anyone is lying.

Umm...

<snip> I don't believe her. <snip>

<snip>Rather than go out and buy two kinds of milk (one of which she doesn't like, if she's indeed right that she can tell the difference) and confronting her with a demand for a taste test,<snip>

When I was poor, I was at the WIC office and they were doing a taste-test demonstration of people's general inability to make the distinction between skim and whole. The demonstration seemed quite convincing--people's chances of getting it right throughout the day had been about fifty fifty.I think this had to be rigged. I can't imagine that 50% couldn't tell the difference. It's night and day.

ETA, just saw your link. Hard to believe.

Skammer
09-01-2011, 11:21 AM
The way I read it is this: 'This isn't like comparing Pepsi and Coke, [which taste virtually the same]. Whole milk and skim milk are entirely different.'

I say that Coke and Pepsi are immediately differentiated by taste. Yes but I think the point is that whole and skim milk are even more dissimilar than Coke & Pepsi.

Mijin
09-01-2011, 11:22 AM
Well I think they're missing a marketing opportunity. They should brand skim milk as "I can't believe it's not whole milk"</snark>


When I was poor, I was at the WIC office and they were doing a taste-test demonstration of people's general inability to make the distinction between skim and whole.
...
BTW my wife failed that taste test.


This conveniently explains both the initial question and why you didn't simply accept your wife's answer.
It's just strange you left it out of the OP...
</doublesnark>

AClockworkMelon
09-01-2011, 11:22 AM
Isn't that clockwork's point?

The way I read it is this: 'This isn't like comparing Pepsi and Coke, [which taste virtually the same]. Whole milk and skim milk are entirely different.'

I say that Coke and Pepsi are immediately differentiated by taste.Johnny correctly read my meaning.

bordelond
09-01-2011, 11:26 AM
Not only can I taste the difference, I can SEE the difference.
Yep.

I wonder if there is much difference between the following:

1) a gallon of skim milk
2) a gallon of the following mixture: 3 parts whole milk, one part water

Frylock
09-01-2011, 11:26 AM
Umm...


You really thinkg "I don't believe X" means the same thing as "I believe X is lying"?


I think this had to be rigged. I can't imagine that 50% couldn't tell the difference. It's night and day.

ETA, just saw your link. Hard to believe.

Note that if the cited percentage is valid, it tends to support your (to some extent, anyway). It says the difference is strong enough that a little over half the people out there can tell the difference. Whereas I was asking whether it's even possible for anyone to tell the difference.

DSeid
09-01-2011, 11:26 AM
So far, nothing but anecdotes and personal claims. Not being snarky, but where are the double-blind taste tests, or visual tests? Not playing James Randi here but a lot of this is like audiophiles claiming to hear a differenct in speaker wires. It doesn't stand up to testing.

I can't belive the government or industry hasn't sponsored research in this area.
"Cite please?" Really? Okay then. (http://scholar.lib.vt.edu/theses/available/etd-09202001-143947/unrestricted/Jodi.pdf)
during homogenization and separation, this membrane is altered and destroyed decreasing the surface area lipase requires as a fat-water surface for activity. All of these functional properties are lost with the removal of the milk fat globule membrane with the milk fat during the separation stages of the milk process. Therefore, lowfat milks do not have the creamy and thick texture evident in whole milk as described previously (Saba et al., 1998; Phillips et al., 1995b).
Flavor is also an important sensory characteristic. Nonfat milk drinkers recognize
that nonfat and lowfat milk products are less satisfying and versatile then whole milk, but are willing to sacrifice this lack of flavor for the health and nutritional benefits that come along with lower fat consumption (Miles et al., 1995). Fat enhances the flavor of whole milk by contributing naturally occurring flavor compounds that are removed from milk when fat is removed (Phillips et al., 1995b). Flavor descriptors used to describe lowfat milk include astringent, bitter, and cooked (Phillips et al., 1995b). Whole milk
descriptors include buttery, sweet, salty and oxidized. The sweet and salty flavor comes from naturally occurring sugars and salts in milk such as lactones and minerals. Various aldehydes contribute to an oxidized flavor. Astringent and bitter flavors result from the nitrogen and sulfur compounds derived from the enzymatic breakdown of carbohydrates and protein compounds.
There have been several technological approaches to enhancing the sensory characterization of lowfat milk through formulations. These attempts have been made by using fat substitutes such as Litesse (Cultor, New York, NY) and Dairy Lo (Cultor, New York, NY), commercial fat substitutes, and also by formulating milk samples with nonfat dry milk (NDM) (Phillips and Barbano, 1997). When both NDM and fat substitutes were added to lowfat (2%) milk, samples were whiter and more viscous than lowfat milks without added ingredients based on sensory and analytical tests. Viscosity was increased also when NDM and fat substitutes were added ...

Frylock
09-01-2011, 11:28 AM
Well I think they're missing a marketing opportunity. They should brand skim milk as "I can't believe it's not whole milk"</snark>



This conveniently explains both the initial question and why you didn't simply accept your wife's answer.
It's just strange you left it out of the OP...
</doublesnark>

Why is it strange? Since you called it "snark" it appears you think you've scored some point of some kind? A point in what game?

Acsenray
09-01-2011, 11:33 AM
If you're used to skim milk, then whole milk seems like paint in comparison. It even looks different when you pour it on your cereal or in a glass.

I've been drinking skim milk for so long that whole milk has an unpleasant stench to my taste.

enipla
09-01-2011, 11:34 AM
You really thinkg "I don't believe X" means the same thing as "I believe X is lying"? Well, not to dwell on this, but if your Wife says she can tell the difference, why don't you believe her? I would say that you think she is lying.

Frylock
09-01-2011, 11:35 AM
"Cite please?" Really?

Well, yes--this is precisely what was asked for in the OP.

Do you think it is silly for anyone to ask for research on the topic? Well, the researchers who did research on the topic disagree! Take it up with them, I guess?

Okay then. (http://scholar.lib.vt.edu/theses/available/etd-09202001-143947/unrestricted/Jodi.pdf)

Exactly what I was looking for, thanks.

I now see that there are indeed people who can tell the difference.

I am certain I can't tell the difference--but perhaps I'll go buy a couple of pints of differently-fatted milks later to test it out again.

Frylock
09-01-2011, 11:37 AM
Well, not to dwell on this, but if your Wife says she can tell the difference, why don't you believe her? I would say that you think she is lying.

What a bizarre thing to think.

"I don't believe you" means "I think you're wrong." In many contexts, it also implies a belief that a person is lying. But this is not one of those contexts.

enipla
09-01-2011, 11:43 AM
What a bizarre thing to think.

"I don't believe you" means "I think you're wrong." In many contexts, it also implies a belief that a person is lying. But this is not one of those contexts.:shrug: Bizzarre? Um, you think her opinion that she can tell the difference is wrong? I would say that is what's bizzare here.

Frylock
09-01-2011, 11:45 AM
:shrug: Bizzarre? Um, you think her opinion that she can tell the difference is wrong? I would say that is what's bizzare here.

People have misapprehensions about this kind of thing all the time. If they haven't actually had the two experiences abutted next to each other in fairly controlled conditions, they are likely to think they are discerning differences between the experiences when they are actually being affected by external cues.

bordelond
09-01-2011, 11:48 AM
Frylock, just based on basic taste alone -- as if someone squeezed a few drops of a medicine dropper out onto your tongue -- there probably isn't a ton of difference. The difference is much more about mouth feel, IMHO ... and yes, appearance.

elfkin477
09-01-2011, 11:52 AM
Well I think they're missing a marketing opportunity. They should brand skim milk as "I can't believe it's not whole milk"</snark>It's not really a missed oportunity...but I'm beginning to wonder how widely distributed it is (I mean, you probably don't know the joys of Redsox ice cream (http://hood.com/Products/prodListColl.aspx?id=935) outside of the north east, either). Hood's Simply Smart (http://hood.com/Products/prodListColl.aspx?id=862) milk plays up on the fact that their milk tastes like milk with higher fat contents. 1% tastes like whole etc.

bordelond
09-01-2011, 11:52 AM
I am certain I can't tell the difference--but perhaps I'll go buy a couple of pints of differently-fatted milks later to test it out again.
If you can't tell the difference now, I'd bet money you could learn to distinguish them in less than an hour through experimentation. Drinking with gusto out of a glass (as opposed to careful sipping or using a straw) should amplify the diffferences.

You could start with half-and-half vs skim at first. Or heck, even whipping cream vs. skim. Then work your way down.

Frylock
09-01-2011, 11:57 AM
If you can't tell the difference now, I'd bet money you could learn to distinguish them in less than an hour through experimentation. Drinking with gusto out of a glass

Ick ick ick. :D I haven'te mentioned yet, have I, that I really hate milk.

Except when I am eating either a bowl of chili or certain brands of frozen microwaveable pizzas. (And in cereal I guess.)

Other than that--I find milk to be extremely disgusting, as in, I have no idea how you people drink it.

But in the interest of science I may still try it. If you guys are all discerning a difference I haven't discerned than by golly I'm going to learn to discern it. Maybe. If it can be done via sipping.

Mijin
09-01-2011, 12:00 PM
Why is it strange? Since you called it "snark" it appears you think you've scored some point of some kind? A point in what game?

I don't like the expression "scoring points", "poking fun" is more what I was doing.

But yeah it's strange.

The OP says skim and whole taste identical to you. And that your wife claims to be able to tell the difference between 1 and 2% but you're skeptical. So two anecdotes.

Then, after a few responses, you happen to recall that you were once at a public taste test for skim vs whole milk. The results of a whole day of testing were no better than chance, and your wife even took part and failed the taste test...

Why did you leave out that far more significant anecdote, especially since it changes the character of one of the things you did mention?

Frylock
09-01-2011, 12:07 PM
I don't like the expression "scoring points", "poking fun" is more what I was doing.

But yeah it's strange.

The OP says skim and whole taste identical to you. And that your wife claims to be able to tell the difference between 1 and 2% but you're skeptical. So two anecdotes.

Then, after a few responses, you happen to recall that you were once at a public taste test for skim vs whole milk. The results of a whole day of testing were no better than chance, and your wife even took part and failed the taste test...

Why did you leave out that far more significant anecdote, especially since it changes the character of one of the things you did mention?

I don't understand how it changes the character of one of the things I mentioned. Can you explain that further?

The anecdote from the past did occur to me while I was writing the OP, but it didn't seem relevant--I just wanted to know if there is research on the topic, and I wrote a minimal tale just to make the question feel motivated because I know people tend to like questions better when there's a tale behind them.

Moreover the older event, as I said, I don't consider to be very indicative of anything since it wasn't very well controlled. I mentioned it later as an excample of an "anecdote of my own" to add to the ones already in the thread, but as I said in that very post, I don't actually take it to have much evidentiary value--hence, given the nature of my OP, not much relevance. That, again, is why I didn't mention it in the first place: It wasn't relevant in the first place.

Anway, what I really wanted to type was just this:



Can people tell the difference between skim and whole milk? 1% and 2%? No anecdotes or unsubstantiated claims please--I'm looking for hard data.

But I've found that people get weird about such direct uncontextualized questions around here. Strange but what can you do? So I appended a tale.

Steophan
09-01-2011, 12:18 PM
Ick ick ick. :D I haven'te mentioned yet, have I, that I really hate milk.

Except when I am eating either a bowl of chili or certain brands of frozen microwaveable pizzas. (And in cereal I guess.)

Other than that--I find milk to be extremely disgusting, as in, I have no idea how you people drink it.

But in the interest of science I may still try it. If you guys are all discerning a difference I haven't discerned than by golly I'm going to learn to discern it. Maybe. If it can be done via sipping.

This might be why you struggle to tell the difference, as when comparing something you hate to something else you hate, you may well be less likely to consider the finer points that distinguish them.

obfusciatrist
09-01-2011, 12:19 PM
One factor, I would imagine, would be whether one regularly drinks milk. To someone who doesn't I would imagine that the differences aren't necessarily that huge.

When I was a kid I probably drank a half gallon of milk a day (whole) and even 2% (at school) was disgustingly thin. Now that I very rarely drink milk, I can see that the distinction might slip past me. Though I can't imagine that I'd fail to note the difference between skim and whole, as that seems kind of like not being able to tell if your toast is buttered.

But I've never blind tested myself so I certainly could be wrong.

bordelond
09-01-2011, 12:31 PM
Ick ick ick. :D I haven't mentioned yet, have I, that I really hate milk.
You know, I bet this is a highly relevant factor here. Perhaps revulsion kicks in before all other reactions, and you just don't pick up on the mouth-feel/taste the way a connoisseur would :D

DSeid
09-01-2011, 01:09 PM
Well, yes--this is precisely what was asked for in the OP.

Do you think it is silly for anyone to ask for research on the topic? Well, the researchers who did research on the topic disagree! Take it up with them, I guess?
Yet the reason for the research was not to prove that whole milk tasted different than skim; they felt no more need to prove that than, as in my example, to prove that lamb tastes different than beef. The reason was to experiment with methods to make skim taste more like whole, like in my wife's preferred "Skim Plus" product, by adding nonfat milk solids (adding powdered or evaporated milk or partially evaporating the product). Most grew up with whole milk and prefer its taste/feel; a nonfat product that is more similar to that can demand some amount of a price premium.

Pasta
09-01-2011, 01:40 PM
For what it's worth, I can often tell what store the milk came from (well, what the brand is). Whole vs. skim is night and day.

I drink a lot of milk.

ClaytonThroop
09-01-2011, 02:39 PM
I'd be far more surprised if there were regular milk drinkers who couldn't tell the difference. Whole and skim milk may as well be entirely different drinks.

Moonlitherial
09-01-2011, 02:54 PM
Ick ick ick. :D I haven'te mentioned yet, have I, that I really hate milk.



I think this is the key. I am the same way with beer. My husband has had me try many different kinds in an attempt to find one I like but to me the overwhelming taste of all of them is "beer" I've tried everything from cheap watery beer to guiness and while I acknowledge that they're different I couldn't label them or have any success in determining that I was tasting the same one because the first thing I taste is YECH! and everything else is fairly minor comparatively.

Milk? I drink 1% now after years of weaning myself down from whole milk (3.5%). It's still a nice treat if I get milk at a restaurant and they serve 2% but I can't drink whole milk anymore. I also can't under any circumstance drink skim. It's just too much like not milk.

Mama Zappa
09-02-2011, 11:00 AM
I don't know if I could tell the difference between 1% and 2% milk. but I can DEFINITELY tell the difference between skim (nonfat) and whole. We were raised drinking skim milk, but my father liked whole milk. If I got a glass of his by mistake, I found it pretty nasty because it wasn't what I was used to. Much thicker mouthfeel.

Not that I "like" *any* kind of milk, really, but I can tolerate the nonfat stuff.

Mama Zappa
09-02-2011, 11:27 AM
As a side anecdote: us human cows give (gave, in my case) full-fat milk. If you pump and save the milk, you find that just like cow's milk, the cream would rise and it has to be shaken to mix it up. And the color difference was just like cow's milk (faint blue-ish tinge to the watery part, yellowish creamy tinge to the cream). Moooooooo.

kunilou
09-02-2011, 11:27 AM
One thing that has been subjected to rigorous testing is that skim milk weighs more than whole milk. A liter of homogenized milk weighs 1.033 kg, while a liter of skim milk weighs 1.036 kg. (http://hypertextbook.com/facts/2002/AliciaNoelleJones.shtml) because fat is lighter than water.

A difference of 3 grams per liter may not sound like much, but it's roughly the equivalent of a teaspoon of fat in a two-liter jug.

Shot From Guns
09-02-2011, 01:44 PM
Wait, hold on. Has anyone mentioned taste or mouthfeel yet?

Baron Greenback
09-02-2011, 02:28 PM
It all comes down to taste and mouth feel.

Milk that is still warm straight from the cow is something that I don't think I could do now. Used to drink a fair bit of that when I was a kid. Well, until the brucellosis kicked in.

SciFiSam
09-02-2011, 03:43 PM
Yep. Taste, appearance, and mouth feel are all different. They may even smell different, I'll have to do a test. The senses would be unanimous if whole and skim made different sounds.

If you shook them in an identical carton, the skimmed milk would slosh more readily than whole, same as plain water would slosh more readily than a thin smoothie. However, it wouldn't be as noticeable as the smell, taste, and mouth-feel that I'm glad someone finally mentioned. :D

People have misapprehensions about this kind of thing all the time. If they haven't actually had the two experiences abutted next to each other in fairly controlled conditions, they are likely to think they are discerning differences between the experiences when they are actually being affected by external cues.

IOW, you think she is wrong, but for understandable reasons, not deliberate. That's what 'people have misapprehensions' mean.

One of the reasons people have responded quickly without a cite is that, to them, the difference is so very obvious - it's not something you'd expect a huge number of surveys on, same as (like someone else said) you wouldn't expect people to be able to tell the difference between lamb and beef.

Though I'd argue that the difference is actually bigger, because these days milk is served in one way and one way only as opposed to frying/stewing/grilling/etc, so your tastebuds have more time to get fine-tuned to how this specific item tastes compared to this other one.

Shot From Guns
09-02-2011, 05:10 PM
Exactly. Imagine someone being skeptical about people being able to detect the difference between looseleaf paper and corrugated cardboard--and then demanding studies to back up their assertions.

enipla
09-03-2011, 09:42 AM
Exactly. Imagine someone being skeptical about people being able to detect the difference between looseleaf paper and corrugated cardboard--and then demanding studies to back up their assertions.A good analogy. Those taste tests must be just a drop or two on the tongue. Not drinking a glass of milk.

No umlaut for U
09-03-2011, 10:29 AM
Another factor is storage in a store cooler. Whole milk, if stored near fluorescent lights, gets the dreaded "light-struck" flavor defect. Skim, stored similarly, does not get the defect as badly.

A lot of milk brands in the '60s and '70s added extra non-fat dry milk to improve the mouth feel. I'm not familiar with Hood's Smart sense, but Meadow Gold had Viva and Dean's had Vim brand fat reduced milks. It was more viscous, hence closer to whole milk in mouthfeel.
The drawback of this approach is that NFDM picks up every little odor around, and a lot of fortified skim can be produced before anyone realizes there's a bad off-flavor.

digs
09-03-2011, 10:37 AM
Ick ick ick. :D I haven'te mentioned yet, have I, that I really hate milk.

Except when I am eating either a bowl of chili or certain brands of frozen microwaveable pizzas. (And in cereal I guess.)

Other than that--I find milk to be extremely disgusting, as in, I have no idea how you people drink it.

But in the interest of science I may still try it. If you guys are all discerning a difference I haven't discerned than by golly I'm going to learn to discern it. Maybe. If it can be done via sipping.

I don't understand. So you're expending all this time and psychological energy ... on a product you don't even CARE about?

I was assuming you were some sort of Milk Gourmet that was willing to brave the insults of the Dope because you just HAD to know about minute differences between Milk Conniseurs. That this was more important than your hobbies and your relationships.

But, you really hate it? Then WHY do you really care about it so much?

Mangetout
09-03-2011, 10:48 AM
If you swirl a glass of whole milk,it clings to the glass in a way that skimmedilk doesn't - and this is part if the reason people can tell the difference. The same thing happens in the mouth, creating not only a different mouthfeel, but also allowing you to taste the fat-soluble flavour components more.

Cubsfan
09-04-2011, 12:40 AM
Not only can I taste the difference, I can SEE the difference.

This. For sure.

I'm surprised this is even a real question. I could see asking about 2vs whole or 1vs2 but skim milk looks so much different from whole I don't see how someone could be confused let alone how much different it tastes.

Zoe
09-04-2011, 06:41 AM
I grew up with milk in a long-necked glass bottle. The cream would settle on top. Eventually we got regular whole milk in a carton. That was my favorite. I loved it ice cold. And then abruptly my weight-conscious mother switched to skim milk. I didn't even get a vote. It was awful! I guess after all of these years, I've gotten used to it. But with this thread, it has just now occured to me that I can, at the age of 68, return to whole milk any time that I want to. Why did it take me forty years of independence to remember this? I even have a long-necked glass bottle...

Hmm. Wonder how Pet Milk with Karo syrup would taste. That's what I used to have in my baby bottle. Yes, I can remember it. I was five years old and still drinking out of a bottle.

Frylock
09-04-2011, 10:37 AM
I don't understand. So you're expending all this time and psychological energy ... on a product you don't even CARE about?

I was assuming you were some sort of Milk Gourmet that was willing to brave the insults of the Dope because you just HAD to know about minute differences between Milk Conniseurs. That this was more important than your hobbies and your relationships.

But, you really hate it? Then WHY do you really care about it so much?

I am generally curious about things.

Frylock
09-04-2011, 10:43 AM
If you shook them in an identical carton, the skimmed milk would slosh more readily than whole, same as plain water would slosh more readily than a thin smoothie. However, it wouldn't be as noticeable as the smell, taste, and mouth-feel that I'm glad someone finally mentioned. :D



IOW, you think she is wrong, but for understandable reasons, not deliberate. That's what 'people have misapprehensions' mean.

Yes, exactly.

One of the reasons people have responded quickly without a cite is that, to them, the difference is so very obvious - it's not something you'd expect a huge number of surveys on, same as (like someone else said) you wouldn't expect people to be able to tell the difference between lamb and beef.

I haven't had a chance to compare them side by side, but I did buy whole milk last time I got milk at the store. (For those that like background: This is the event which began the discussion which issued forth in my original post in this thread.)

But I'm paying more careful attention to the factors you guys have mentioned in this thread. I think I do see the milk is a little thicker than I would expect having drunk skim all my life--I'd have to see them side by side to be sure but right now it's very believable to me that whole has a creamier appearance and texture.

Does it taste richer? I'm really not sure. But maybe. I just had a bowl of chili yesterday and the milk I was drinking with it maybe did seem to do an even better job of doing whatever that wonderful thing is that milk does when paired with chili.

I can't detect a difference in smell, but tbh that is a statement I have made about many things, if you catch my meaning.

The difference appears to me to be by no means blatant or obvious. But I think I can detect it. Still want to try the "taste test" approach later on...

enipla
09-04-2011, 01:10 PM
The difference appears to me to be by no means blatant or obvious. But I think I can detect it. Still want to try the "taste test" approach later on...That blows me away my friend. At least where I live, in Colorado US, the skim milk that my wife prefers to the 1 or 2% that I will use on cereal is like comparing a horse to a rabbit.

Chronos
09-04-2011, 02:09 PM
Personally, I can distinguish between whole and reduced-fat, and between reduced-fat and skim, effortlessly. 1% vs. 2%, I can tell if I try them both side-by-side, but not from memory. And it would never even occur to me that it would need a cite: What proportion of people can distinguish the color of the sky from the color of the grass? Has anyone ever done blinded studies of showing people pictures of the sky and of grass, and seeing if they could tell the difference?

SciFiSam
09-04-2011, 03:13 PM
Yes, exactly.

I haven't had a chance to compare them side by side, but I did buy whole milk last time I got milk at the store. (For those that like background: This is the event which began the discussion which issued forth in my original post in this thread.)

But I'm paying more careful attention to the factors you guys have mentioned in this thread. I think I do see the milk is a little thicker than I would expect having drunk skim all my life--I'd have to see them side by side to be sure but right now it's very believable to me that whole has a creamier appearance and texture.

Does it taste richer? I'm really not sure. But maybe. I just had a bowl of chili yesterday and the milk I was drinking with it maybe did seem to do an even better job of doing whatever that wonderful thing is that milk does when paired with chili.

I can't detect a difference in smell, but tbh that is a statement I have made about many things, if you catch my meaning.

The difference appears to me to be by no means blatant or obvious. But I think I can detect it. Still want to try the "taste test" approach later on...

If you don't have a very strong sense of smell, then items won't taste as strongly to you either.

shiftless
09-06-2011, 01:23 PM
Anybody else ever try Golden Guernsey milk? In the 70s my roommate used to indulge in this brand. Don't know if they still make it. It had a slight golden tint to it and was over 5% milkfat. That stuff had some mouth feel. The extra 1% fat (over normal whole milk) made a very noticable difference.

Acsenray
09-06-2011, 01:29 PM
That would be goat's milk (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_Guernsey), wouldn't it?

obfusciatrist
09-06-2011, 02:56 PM
Milk from the Guernsey breed of cow has a high level of beta carotene and therefore a bit of a yellowish hue. Which I assume is what was being referenced.

But I'll stake a spot and say I can definitely tell whole goat milk from skim cow milk.

Mangetout
09-06-2011, 03:41 PM
Anybody else ever try Golden Guernsey milk? In the 70s my roommate used to indulge in this brand. Don't know if they still make it. It had a slight golden tint to it and was over 5% milkfat. That stuff had some mouth feel. The extra 1% fat (over normal whole milk) made a very noticable difference.

I very occasionally treat myself to a bottle of gold top - it's sometimes marketed as 'breakfast milks here in the uk. You can clearly see the thick layer of cream occupying the top quarter of the bottle.

aruvqan
09-06-2011, 03:50 PM
Anybody else ever try Golden Guernsey milk? In the 70s my roommate used to indulge in this brand. Don't know if they still make it. It had a slight golden tint to it and was over 5% milkfat. That stuff had some mouth feel. The extra 1% fat (over normal whole milk) made a very noticable difference.
I used to when I still lived in Tidewater [as I recall, it is a Tidewater Virginia brand] I used to get it at the farmers market. A bit of a drive but well worth it. I think it also used to sell at that little gourmet store near Lynnhaven Inlet.

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