Nutrients in milk
Milk naturally contains essential nutrients, such as protein, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, iodine and vitamins B2 (riboflavin) and B12. These nutrients support various functions in the body.
Milk has a protein content of about 3.5%. Some dairy products contain more protein. For instance, dairy cheese spread contains on average over 11 g protein per 100 g and cheddar cheese an average of 25g per 100 g. Proteins contribute to the maintenance of normal bones and the growth and maintenance of muscle mass.
Quality of milk protein
Protein quality is determined on the basis of three characteristics, being: the quantity of protein in a foodstuff, the quantity of essential amino acids in the protein and the digestibility of the amino acids in the small intestine. Milk protein scores well for these items and therefore it is often regarded as a high-quality protein.
Nutrient density of milk
Milk is considered a food with a relatively high number of nutrients for the quantity of energy it provides, known as the nutrient density. What is nutrient density and how is this calculated?
Lactose: the natural milk sugar
Lactose is naturally present in milk and the amount of lactose varies between dairy products. For example, yoghurt and buttermilk contain less lactose than milk and hard cheeses contain hardly any lactose. Lactose can also be present in small amounts in products in which milk, milk powder or certain components of milk have been processed, such as chocolate products, coffee creamers and cake.
What is the difference between full-fat and skimmed dairy?
The main difference between full-fat milk and skimmed milk is the fat content and therefore the calorie content. The level of nutrients in milk is independent of the fat content, and equal in full and skimmed milk.
Nutrients in yoghurt
Yoghurt is made from milk and therefore largely contains the same nutrients as milk. Both yoghurt and milk are a natural source of protein and also have a similar mineral content. An important difference between yoghurt and milk is the amount of lactose and B-vitamins.
How is yoghurt made?
Various dairy products can be made from milk, such as yoghurt and cheese. Yoghurt is made by adding a mixture of lactic acid bacteria to the milk.
Nutrients in cheese
Milk naturally contains essential nutrients, such as protein, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, iodine and vitamins B2 (riboflavin) and B12. Typical Dutch-type cheese is made from milk and therefore contain many of the nutrients from milk.
How is cheese made?
Various dairy products can be made from milk, such as yoghurt and cheese. For many centuries, the traditional cheese-making process has been passed on from generation to generation. Dutch-type cheese is made from pasteurised fresh milk.