From WikiMD
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Butterfat or milkfat is the fatty portion of milk. Milk and cream are often sold according to the amount of butterfat they contain.


The fatty acids of butterfat are typically composed as follows (by mass fraction):[1][2]

Butterfat is a triglyceride (a fat) derived from fatty acids such as myristic, palmitic, and oleic acids.

Fatty acids vs triglycerides

As shown above, the composition of fats in milk is usually discussed in terms of the fatty acids. Fatty acids do not occur as such in milk (and rarely in any food). Instead, they are incorporated into compounds called triglycerides.[2]

U.S. Standards

In the U.S., there are federal standards[3] for butterfat content of dairy products.[4][5][6][7] Commercial products generally contain the minimum legal amount of fat.

  • Milks
    • Skim milk contains less than 0.5% fat, typically 0.1%
    • Lowfat milk contains between 0.5–2% fat; 1% and 2% varieties are widely marketed
    • Whole milk contains at least 3.25% fat
  • Cheeses
    • Dry curd and nonfat cottage cheese contain less than 0.5% fat
    • Lowfat cottage cheese contains 0.5–2% fat
    • Cottage cheese contains at least 4% fat
    • Swiss cheese contains at least 43% fat relative to the total solids
    • Cheddar cheese contains at least 50% fat relative to the total solids
  • Frozen desserts
    • sherbet contains 1–2% fat
    • Lowfat ice cream, also called ice milk, contains no more than 2.6% fat
    • Ice cream contains at least 10% fat
    • Frozen custard, like ice cream, contains at least 10% fat, but it also must contain at least 1.4% egg yolk solids
  • Butter (including whipped butter) contains at least 80% fat

See also


  1. National Research Council, 1976, online edition Fat Content and Composition of Animal Products, Printing and Publishing Office, National Academy of Science, Washington, D.C., ISBN 0-309-02440-4; p. 203
  2. 2.0 2.1 The quote values vary by 1-3% according to the source: Rolf Jost "Milk and Dairy Products" Ullmann's Encyclopedia of Industrial Chemistry, Wiley-VCH, Weinheim, 2002. doi:10.1002/14356007.a16_589.pub3
  3. United States Department of Agriculture Agricultural Marketing Service
  4. USDA Commercial Item Description: Milks, Fluid (2001).
  5. USDA Specifications for Cream Cheese, Cream Cheese with other Foods, and Related Products (1994).
  6. United States Department of Agriculture Standard for Ice Cream (1977).
  7. USDA Commercial Item Description: Cream, Eggnog, Half-and-half, and Sour Cream (2002).


Calories and Nutritional Information of Foods


Glossary of healthy eating | Nutritional value of foods: UK Foods | US Foods | Dietary Supplements | Nutrition values of foods | Nutrition lookup (USDA) Portions of content adapted from Wikipedias article on Butterfat licensed under GNU FDL.

W8MD weight loss logo

Ad. Tired of being overweight?. W8MD's insurance Weight loss program can HELP*

Quick links: Medicine Portal | Encyclopedia‏‎‏‎ | Gray's Anatomy‏‎ | Topics‏‎ |‏‎ Diseases‏‎ | Drugs | Wellness | Obesity‏‎ | Metabolic syndrome | Weight loss*
Disclaimer: The entire contents of WIKIMD.ORG are for informational purposes only and do not render medical advice or professional services. If you have a medical emergency, you should CALL 911 immediately! Given the nature of the wiki, the information provided may not be accurate, misleading and or incorrect. Use the information on this wiki at your own risk! See full Disclaimer.
Link to this page: <a href="http://www.wikimd.org/wiki/Butterfat">Butterfat</a>

  • Individual results may vary for weight loss from our sponsors.