updated 5/31/2007 5:42:32 PM ET 2007-05-31T21:42:32

Starbucks Corp. said Thursday it will replace whole milk with 2 percent for espresso drinks in all of its U.S. and Canadian stores by the end of the year.

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Drinks in North America will soon be made by default with the lower-fat milk, but customers can still request their cappuccino with whole milk, the company said.

Starbucks said it made the switch based on increased requests from consumers for low-fat milk in stores, as well as increasing purchases of lower fat milk in U.S. consumers' homes.

The coffeeshop company tested the 2 percent espresso drinks in Jacksonville, Fla.; Orange County, Calif.; the state of Oregon; and London, Ontario, in Canada and said the results were "overwhelmingly positive."

A 16-ounce "grande" latte made with reduced fat milk has 190 calories, compared with 260 calories in one made with whole milk.

The company is also considering the switch to lower-fat milk in locations outside of North America.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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