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.

Nutrients in yoghurt

A bowl (150 g) of plain semi-skimmed yoghurt contains the following nutrients* (1):

  • 3 g protein
  • 210 mg calcium
  • 6 mcg vitamin B12

* The average nutritional value can differ between countries. Please have a look at the country specific food composition database.

Protein

Together with physical activity protein in food contributes to the maintenance of bone mass and growth and maintenance of muscles (2). Milk, yoghurt and cheese are naturally rich in protein. 80% of the milk protein is casein and 20% whey protein (3). Casein is also called the ‘slow protein’ and whey the ‘fast protein’. This is because whey generally provides an amino acid peak in the first two hours after consumption, whereas the amino acids in casein appear over a period of approximately 6 hours and therefore have a lower peak value. As milk protein contains all essential amino acids, the protein is of a high quality for the body (4).

Vitamins B12

Vitamin B12 supports the normal functioning of the nervous system and energy metabolism. Vitamin B12 is only found in animal products such as dairy, meat, fish and eggs. Algae and seaweed contain a substance similar to vitamin B12, but this substance has no vitamin effect. (5)

Calcium

The mineral contributes to the maintenance of bones and teeth (6). 99% of the body’s total calcium content is stored in the bones. When the body needs more calcium than it obtains from food, calcium in the bones can be used to keep the amount of calcium in the blood at an adequate level (7). Calcium contributes also to the normal function of muscles, neurotransmission, coagulation of blood and energy metabolism in the body (6). Milk is naturally rich in protein and is an important source of dietary calcium.

Less lactose

The lactose content of yoghurt is about 30% below the lactose content of milk, because some of the lactose is converted to lactic acid during the fermentation process.

References

  1. EFSA Food composition database and Dutch food composition database (NEVO-online 2016)
  2. EFSA 2010;8(10):1811 and 2011;9(6):2203
  3. Schaafsma, G. en Steijns, J.M. (2000). Dairy ingredients as a source of functional foods. Book: Essentials of functional foods (chapter 8). 2000, United States, University of Minnesota.FAO, 2013
  4. EFSA 2010;8(10):1814
  5. EFSA 2009; 7(9):1210-1272 and EFSA 2010;8(10):1725 2011;9(6):2203
  6. Heaney, R.P. (2009). Dairy and bone health. Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 2009; Vol. 28, No. 1, 82S–90SJ.EFSA 2009; 7(9):1219