How Much Does a Gallon of Milk Weigh?

If you are looking to buy a gallon of milk, you might want to know its weight. How much does a gallon of milk weigh?

A gallon of milk weighs 8.6 lbs. (3.9 kg). The weight can vary depending on the fat content of the milk. Skim milk would weigh less than 2% than whole milk due to its lower fat content. A gallon milk container weighs around 2 ounces (56 grams).

Read on to learn more about the weight of a gallon of milk of different types, why milk is measured in pounds, and the different tests used in testing fat content in milk.

How Much Does a Gallon of Milk Weigh?

how much does a gallon of milk weigh

A gallon of milk weighs about 8.6 pounds or 3.9 kg. [1] Milk with lesser fat content would weigh lighter than milk with higher fats. The value varies based on the milk’s fat content. Skim milk would weigh 2% less than whole milk because it has lesser fat.

How Much Does a Gallon of Skim Milk Weigh?

A gallon of skim milk weighs about 8.5 pounds (3.85 kg). Skim milk weighs lighter because the amount of fat is lesser.

The weight of milk is dependent on the weight of its content. The more fat content it has, the heavier the milk is.

How Much Does a Gallon of Low-Fat Milk Weigh?

A gallon of low-fat milk would weigh lighter than a gallon of whole milk, yet it weighs heavier than a gallon of skim milk. For example, a gallon of 2% milk will weigh about 8.4 pounds (3.81 kg). The low-fat milk weighs lesser than the whole milk with the same volume.

Types of Milk

1. Whole Milk

Whole milk contains 3.25% fat more than other milk types. A glass of whole milk will provide 150 calories and 8 grams of fat. 

If you have a slow metabolism and are on a diet, you may want to choose low-fat or skim milk due to their lower fat and calorie content.

Yet, whole milk may be a better option for you if you exercise regularly and do not have any underlying conditions.

A study regarding the effect of full-fat milk foods and dairy products has stated that people could consume these products without adverse effects on the ‘cardiometabolic risk marker profile. The researchers recommended further study to reach a definitive conclusion.

You should consider your food metabolism rate, diet, and lifestyle when deciding what type of milk to drink. Better yet, consult your doctor or a health specialist. 

A gallon of whole milk weighs about 9 pounds. Skim milk weighs lighter because the amount of fat is lesser.

2. Low-Fat Milk

Low-fat milk has 1% fat by weight. A glass of low-fat milk contains 100 calories and 2.5 grams of fat. 

This low concentration of saturated fats helps regulate blood cholesterol levels; thus, decreasing your risk of heart diseases. 

If you prefer low-fat milk because of some underlying condition, you should consume fats via vegetable and fish oils. These fat types are healthy as they are good fats (high-density lipoprotein – HDL).

They facilitate eliminating bad fats in your body by bringing them to the liver for metabolism and excretion. 

A gallon of low-fat milk weighs about 8.5 pounds (3.85 kg). Skim milk weighs lighter because the amount of fat is lesser.

3. Skim Milk

A glass of skim milk or non-fat milk contains only 80 calories, but this milk has vital nutrients, including phosphorus, calcium, selenium, vitamins A, B12, and D.

People who are overweight and have cardiac conditions may prefer skim milk due to its low-calorie content.

But it would be best to consult your doctor about what type of milk you should drink if you have illnesses.

A gallon of skim milk weighs about 8.5 pounds (3.85 kg). Skim milk weighs lighter because the amount of fat is lesser.

4. Almond Milk

A glass of almond milk contains 30 to 50 calories and 3.58 grams of fat. Almond milk is good for people who want to lose weight.

The milk is also rich in vitamin E, D and is a good source of calcium. These substances are vital for bone growth and good health. The milk is ideal for people with lactose intolerance as it is usually lactose-free.

5. Reduced-Fat Milk

Reduced-fat milk has 2% milk by weight. A glass of reduced-fat milk contains 110 calories and 2.5 grams of fat.

This milk is one of the favorites of health-conscious milk drinkers. This is because it contains just enough calories, low-saturated fats, proteins, vitamins, and tastes delicious too.

Take note of the sugar content as some reduced-fat milk could contain more sugar than whole milk. Always read the label before purchasing your milk.

You should also find out first if your body’s metabolism works well with this type of milk. Some people may stay healthier by drinking whole milk. If your body’s metabolism is rapid, whole milk could be the best choice for you.

6. Oat Milk

gallon of milk weight

A glass of oat milk contains 130 calories and 2 grams of fat. Vegans and people with dietary restrictions prefer oat milk and almond milk because they come from grains and fruits.

Oat milk is generally fortified with calcium, vitamins B, B2, and B12. Take note that people with celiac disease or gluten intolerance should be careful in taking oat milk.

Fat Content in Milk

Knowing the fat content of milk in each product would help you avoid products with high-fat content. You can easily know the milk’s fat content by reading the label and by its color code

The table below shows the types of milk and its fat content.

U.S. TerminologyFat Content by Weight
Regular milk or whole milk3.25%
Reduced fat milk or 2% milk2%
Low fat milk or 1% milk1%
Non-fat milk or skim milk0 – 0.5%

Why You Should Choose Low Fat Milk

You should choose low-fat milk over whole milk because it has more nutritional energy. Drinking lower fat milk and eating more fruits and vegetables could help in maintaining good health. 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture said that low-fat milk consumers had a greater intake of minerals, dietary fibers, and vitamins. Zinc, calcium, and vitamin E were all lacking in both milk drinkers. 

The researchers concluded that whole milk drinkers had the propensity to choose less nutritious foods.

Another research in Denmark proved that drinking full-fat milk than skimmed milk might be better for your heart. The reason is due to more good cholesterol (High-Density Lipoprotein – HDL) in the bloodstream.

Low-fat or skim milk has more health benefits than whole milk, though. So, you may want to choose skimmed milk over whole milk. All milk types also contain calcium, proteins, vitamin D, vitamin B12, and other essential nutrients for the body. 

Various factors affect fat metabolisms in your body, such as organ function, type of fat ingested, lifestyle, and existing diseases.

You may have taken in low-fat milk, but the body cannot metabolize the fat because of poor organ function. So, the fat stays elevated in your bloodstream, which does not help with your weight loss. 

Also, if you often exercise and eat a balanced diet, your milk’s increased fat will have little effect on your body.

Dangers of Taking in Too Much Fat

Taking in too much bad fat can increase your risk of contracting various illnesses. Bad fat comes from meat fat and some dairy products. Good fat comes from vegetables and fruits. 

The illnesses that come from the accumulation of bad fats include:

  • Cardiac conditions – heart conditions (stroke, heart attack)
  • Hypertension – increased blood pressure
  • Atherosclerosis – hardening of the arteries due to fat deposits
  • Arteriosclerosis – hardening of the arterioles due to fat deposits
  • Hypertriglyceridemia – increased concentration of triglycerides in the blood
  • Hyperlipidemia – increased concentration of lipids in the blood

How to Reduce Fat Content in Milk

You can produce skim milk from whole milk using a centrifuge. Centrifuge the whole milk and allow the fat to separate. The fat will float at the top, so you can quickly scoop it out. If you want to produce low-fat milk, you can mix equal parts of skim milk and whole milk.

Some milk companies do selective breeding, where they alter or modify the genetic map of the cow. They also breed cows that produce milk with less fat content.

The best way to reduce fat content in your body is to reduce fat intake. Drink skim or low-fat milk instead of whole milk. Avoid meat fat and other fatty foods in your diet. Instead, use vegetable oil when cooking.

Also, you have to include more vegetables, fruits, and fish in your diet. Vegetables and fruits are rich in minerals, fibers, vitamins, anti-toxins, and the essential nutrients your body needs to stay healthy.

Do regular exercises, too, to get rid of excess fat that you may have ingested. When you exercise, the fat gets burned off as energy.

You have to read the labels before buying your milk product. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends that you should take 3 cups of milk daily. 

This practice may reduce heart ailments and help in bone development. You may want to buy a gallon of milk to ensure you get your cup daily.

How much does a gallon of milk weigh? One gallon of milk weighs 8.6 lbs. This value varies based on the fat content. Skim milk would weigh less than 2% than whole milk due to its lesser fat content.

How to Detect Fat Content in Milk

weight of a gallon of milk

You can detect fat content using the Gerber method, Babcock test, and spectroscopy. U.S. concerned organizations, such as the U.S. Bureau of Dairying and American Dairy Science

Association came up with improvements to the Babcock test to ensure that milk dealers will not falsely claim higher or lower fat content.

Babcock Test

The Babcock test is more popular in the U.S than in Europe. The test is based on the principle that when an adequate amount of sulfuric acid is added to milk, the acid will dissolve the proteins and all the other milk components, except fat. 

When you heat and centrifuge this mixture, the fat will separate from the other components and float to the top.

The volume of the fat layer indicates the amount of fat present in the milk. You can read the fat content directly on the graduated scale of the special Babcock flask. [2]

Gerber Method

The Gerber method is the major testing method in Europe and other parts of the world. This test is similar to the Babcock test as it uses sulfuric acid too. 

You can separate the fat by adding the appropriate amount of sulfuric acid and then use amyl alcohol and centrifugation to separate the components. You can read the fat content directly through a calibrated butyrometer tube after separation.

Gerber developed all the equipment, such as centrifuges, butyrometers, pipettes, and water baths for this test. [3]

Infrared Spectroscopy

This modern method is faster and more accurate, as it reduces operator error. But this method could be more costly than the Babcock and Gerber methods.

The Babcock and Gerber tests are still widely used today, serving the basis for various national and international standards. Examples of these standard certifications are from the International Dairy Federation and ISO 2446.

Why Is Milk Measured in Pounds?

Milk is measured in pounds because it is more convenient to weigh milk than to measure its volume. Since milk is shipped, manufacturers find it easier to weigh milk than do other measurements.

Also, the volume of milk can have various weights based on the fat content of the milk. Milk with more fat would weigh heavier than milk with lesser fat. 

Conclusion – Gallon of Milk Weight

The weight of a gallon of milk is 8.6 lbs. The weight varies slightly, with lesser fat content milk weighing lower than whole milk. Skim milk weighs 2% less than whole milk due to its lower fat content.

When uncertain about which type of milk you should drink, consult your doctor. Your doctor will know whether you are drinking the right milk type based on your medical history.

Again, for your reference here’s the fat content for each type of milk:

U.S. TerminologyFat Content by Weight
Regular milk or whole milk3.25%
Reduced fat milk or 2% milk2%
Low fat milk or 1% milk1%
Non-fat milk or skim milk0 – 0.5%