Nutrient density of milk
Milk is considered as a food with a relatively high number of nutrients for the quantity of energy it provides, known as the nutrient density. What is the nutrient density exactly and how is this calculated?
Lactose: the natural milk sugar
Lactose is naturally present in milk. 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.
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 produced?
Yoghurt is a fermented milk product. Fermentation is the process that converts milk sugar (lactose) into lactic acid with the help of various lactic acid bacteria.
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.
Calcium and the absorption of iron
Long-term studies have shown that calcium has no or just a limited effect on the absorption of iron in the body. A diet with a wide variety of food products probably contains dietary factors that promote as well inhibit the iron absorption.
Nutrients in milk
Milk is a source of protein, vitamins B2 and B12 and the minerals calcium, phosphorus and potassium. Additionally, milk contains a mixture of nutrients that are important for 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 25 g per 100 g. Protein contributes to the maintenance of normal bones and the growth and maintenance of muscle mass.