How many calories are in one glass of milk?

In this brief article, we are going to answer the question “How many calories are in one glass of milk?”

How many calories are in one glass of milk?

One cup of whole milk (3.25 percent milkfat) contains 149 calories. 1 cup of 250mL supplies 300mg of calcium; this amount represents 25% of the daily recommended intake of calcium. 

It is also an important source of: Riboflavin, phosphorus, vitamins A and B12, potassium, magnesium, and zinc.

Whole milk includes the vitamins A, E, K, and D found in milk fat. Skim milk, on the other hand, loses essential nutrients since it has no fat. (1-3)

How much milk should I drink?

In the United States, the national dietary guidelines suggest that adults should consume three cups or 732 mL of milk per day, but this recommended intake is seldom followed.(4)

Milk and other dairy products rich in protein are well-known sources of calcium. On average, milk provides 1200mg of calcium per liter, which explains why dietary guidelines advise individuals to consume one to three cups of milk or equivalent servings daily.(2)

Numerous studies indicate that dairy consumption does not significantly raise the risk of cardiovascular diseases or certain types of cancer.

While the existing evidence is not conclusive, certain studies suggest that milk and its derivatives could potentially offer benefits to specific population segments. (5)

What are the benefits of drinking milk?

Milk offers several health benefits as it is a protein-rich and calcium-rich beverage essential for preventing osteoporosis and maintaining muscle mass. Regular consumption of whole cow’s milk, which retains its natural fat content, provides the following health advantages:

High calcium content and vitamin D in milk contribute to the prevention of osteoporosis, the high protein content in milk aids in the development and maintenance of muscles.

Milk contains oligosaccharides that support the growth of beneficial bacteria in the colon, leading to improved intestinal microbiota, the richness of vitamin B complex in milk helps in optimizing the functioning of the neurological system.

Milk contains amino acids with anti-hypertensive properties, which can assist in regulating high blood pressure. (1-3)

Are all types of milks equally good for health?

The health benefits of various types of milk can differ, and the fat content in milk has been extensively discussed. 

While conclusive evidence regarding the negative effects of saturated fat on cardiovascular health is lacking, the demand for low-fat and lower-calorie alternatives, coupled with minimal risk considerations, has led the dairy industry to introduce milk varieties with reduced fat content.

The fat content of milk can range from 0.2% to 3.5%. As a middle-ground option, semi-skimmed milk typically contains around 1.6% fat.(2)

What factors play a role in the quality of milk?

Multiple factors contribute to the quality of milk, and among them, the composition of milk fat plays a vital role. This composition can be influenced by the nutrition dairy cows receive and, to some extent, through selective breeding practices.

In terms of milk fat percentage, approximately half of the variation observed among cows can be attributed to genetic differences. These factors collectively contribute to the diversity and distinctive characteristics of milk obtained from different sources. (6)

Multiple processing operations, such as thermal treatment, chemical treatment, biochemical processing, physical treatments, and nonconventional treatments, can impact the nutritional quality of milk proteins, with both positive and negative effects. (7)

What is the health role of milk fatty acids?

The fat content of milk has sparked considerable debate. 

Despite the lack of clear evidence regarding the negative impact of saturated fat on cardiovascular health, consumer demand for low-fat and lower-calorie products, along with minimal associated risks, has prompted the dairy industry to develop milk versions with reduced fat content.

Milk is often recognized as a source of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which refers to a group of isomers derived from linoleic acid through biohydrogenation reactions that occur in the gastrointestinal microbiota of ruminant animals. 

These fatty acids have garnered attention due to their potential health benefits in areas such as the cardiovascular system, immune function, anticancer properties, and hypolipidemic effects. (2) 

Are there side effects of drinking too much milk?

Milk can pose health risks for specific individuals due to its challenging digestion and absorption processes. Certain metabolic diseases and allergies can result in negative effects, necessitating the elimination of milk from the diet. 

Two common conditions that require avoiding milk are lactose intolerance and cow’s milk protein allergy.

Lactose intolerance affects approximately 75% of the global population and can affect individuals of all ages. It arises from an insufficient amount of the lactase enzyme, which leads to inadequate digestion of lactose. 

As a result, consuming milk and dairy products can trigger symptoms such as flatulence, abdominal pain, and diarrhea.

Cow’s milk protein allergy, on the other hand, primarily affects children during their first three years of life. 

This allergy involves the immune system’s reaction to the protein components present in milk. It triggers the release of antibodies, histamines, and other defensive agents, resulting in various allergic symptoms. (3)


In this brief article, we answered the question, “How many calories are in one glass of milk?”


  1. U.S. Department of Agriculture. Washington, DC.Milk, whole, 3.25% milkfat, with added vitamin D
  2. Pereira, P. C., & Vicente, F.  Milk Nutritive Role and Potential Benefits in Human Health. Nutrients in Dairy and Their Implications on Health and Disease, 161–176. 2017.
  3. Silva, A. R. A., Silva, M. M. N., & Ribeiro, B. D.  Health Issues and Technological Aspects of Plant-based Alternative Milk. Food Research International, 108972. 2020.
  4. Mullie P, Pizot C, Autier P. Daily milk consumption and all-cause mortality, coronary heart disease and stroke: a systematic review and meta-analysis of observational cohort studies. BMC Public Health. 2016.
  5. Visioli F, Strata A. Milk, dairy products, and their functional effects in humans: a narrative review of recent evidence. Adv Nutr. 2014.
  6. Van Arendonk, J. A. M., van Valenberg, H. J. F., & Bovenhuis, H.  Exploiting genetic variation in milk-fat composition of milk from dairy cows. Improving the Safety and Quality of Milk, 197–222. 2010.
  7. Borad SG, Kumar A, Singh AK. Effect of processing on nutritive values of milk protein. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 57(17).2017.

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