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Is Ultra-Filtered Milk Worth Buying? What You Need To Know

We ask experts whether the higher price tag of ultra filtered milk compared to traditional milk is worth it.

Ultra-filtered milk may sound like just another beverage in the sea of dairy milk types (and, not to mention, milk alternatives).

Between organic, grass-fed, and lactose-free, is ultra-filtered milk really that different from the other varieties, or did the dairy industry invent it just to confuse us even more? Let's take a look at what it is, its benefits, who should drink it, and some of the best products to buy.

What is ultra-filtered milk?

Ultra-filtered milk is made from dairy milk. It comes from a cow, and provides natural vitamins, minerals, protein, and sugars just like whichever dairy milk you are currently splashing over your cereal every morning. But, the quantities of some nutrients differ.

How does this happen? Magic cows? As exciting as that would be, the difference in nutrients happens as a result of a process called ultra-filtration.

Ultra-filtered milk is basically your old-school milk that is passed under pressure through a thin membrane. This separates, or filters, the water and lactose (sugar) from the other components of the milk.

The processors are essentially removing some of the natural water and sugar. What is left behind is lactose-free milk that has more protein, more calcium, and less sugar. Many agree that the taste is more creamy and rich when compared to regular milk.

Ultra-filtered milk vs. traditional milk

Below is an estimated nutrition comparison of traditional 2 percent milk and ultra-filtered 2 percent milk:

Nutrient Traditional Milk Ultra-Filtered Milk
Calcium 283 mg 380 mg
Protein 8 g 13 g
Total Carb 12 g 6 g


Who would benefit from drinking ultra-filtered milk?

Drinking ultra-filtered milk is a simple way to sneak in some additional protein and calcium into one's diet while reducing sugar intake.

Specific populations who may benefit from drinking ultra-filtered milk include:

  • individuals with a lactose intolerance who avoid dairy, but crave the taste of a creamy glass of dairy milk
  • women at risk for osteoporosis and struggle with taking in adequate calcium
  • athletes who turn to protein drinks for exercise recovery
  • families who are trying to limit sugar intake in their children's lifestyle
  • adults and children with diabetes who monitor their carbohydrate intake
  • individuals who are instructed by their doctor to avoid whole milk but don't like the taste of low-fat options
  • chocolate-lovers who crave chocolate milk but avoid it due to the sugar content (8 ounces of ultra-filtered chocolate milk provides approximately 13 grams of sugar, while traditional chocolate milk provides approximately 27 grams of sugar)

The best ultra-filtered milk products to buy.

Ultra-filtered milk is found in a variety of products, including beverages, post-workout shakes, and even healthy ice creams. Keep in mind that some products that are made with ultra-filtered milk as an ingredient use artificial sweeteners like acesulfame potassium to help keep the sugar content of the product low. If you're avoiding artificial ingredients, make sure to check product labels.

Want to try out some ultra-filtered milk products for yourself? Check out these products for a nutritional boost without the additional sugar and lactose.

1. Fairlife Milk

fairlife milk
Courtesy of Instacart

Fairlife milk has a complete line of ultra-filtered milk products that includes creamers, protein shakes, and milk with added DHA. One unique product that can be a lifesaver for busy days is Fairlife Smart Snacks. With 15 grams of protein, 5 grams of fiber, and 40 percent of the recommended daily intake of calcium, these drinkable snacks are a simple and convenient way to sneak in some additional nutrients without loading your body up with too much sugar.

2. Slate

slate chocolate milk

Slate is on a mission to give chocolate milk a clean slate. Chocolate milk has a reputation of being too high in sugar and being a kid's drink. Chocolate milk-lovers can rejoice, because there is an adult-friendly option now that is lower in sugar, delivered in a sleek aluminum can, and comes in varieties you won't find in the school cafeteria. (Think: espresso-chocolate milk.) They do not have to be refrigerated and are shelf-stable for up to one year, making them super-convenient to toss in your work bag the night before a workday.

3. Halo Top Ice Cream

halo top peanut butter chocolate
Courtesy of Halo Top

Halo Top uses the technology of ultra-filtration to their advantage and have figured out how to make an amazing-tasting dessert that's lower in sugar than regular ice cream. Their newly-launched Halo Top Keto Series provides only 5-10 grams of net carbs and comes in unique varieties like chocolate cheesecake and jelly donut. A low sugar, keto-friendly dessert that actually tastes good? Sign me up!

4. Organic Valley

organic valley milk
Courtesy of Instacart

Organic Valley makes the first and only certified organic ultra-filtered milk. They source dairy from family farms across the country and guarantee that farms raise cattle humanely.

Organic Valley makes four varieties of ultra-filtered milk: skim, 2 percent, whole, and chocolate. They sweeten the chocolate variety with organic cane sugar and organic monk fruit, so you don't have to worry about finding anything artificial in there.

Lauren Manaker, MS, RDN, LD, CLEC, CPT
Lauren Manaker is an award-winning registered dietitian, book author, and recipe developer who has been in practice for almost 20 years. Read more about Lauren
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