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.
Dutch-type cheese is a natural source of protein, calcium, phosphorus, zinc, selenium, vitamin A, vitamin B2, vitamin B12 and vitamin K.
Did you know that making 1 kilo of cheese requires 10 litres of milk? Therefore cheese contains many of the valuable nutrients from milk.
The fat content in cheese is expressed as percentage of the dry matter which are all the ingredients of cheese, without the water. In the case of full-fat cheese about 48% of the dry matter of this cheese is fat. Because cheese also contains water, the overall fat percentage of the cheese is lower. The fat percentage of reduced-fat cheese is lower, because these cheeses are made from semi-skimmed milk.
FIGURE Fat content in Dutch-type full-fat cheese
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 B2 and B12
Vitamin B2 and B12 supports the normal functioning of the nervous system and energy metabolism. Vitamin B2 also contributes to the maintenance of skin, vision and normal metabolism of iron. 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)
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.
Just like calcium, phosphorus contributes to the maintenance of bones and teeth. 85% of the total amount of phosphorus in the body is stored in the bones. Phosphorus also supports normal energy metabolism. (8)
Contributes to the normal functioning of the muscles and the nervous system. Potassium also plays a role in maintaining a normal blood pressure. (9)
Vitamin D is present in oily fish and in smaller amounts in meat, eggs and full-fat dairy, such as Dutch-type full-fat cheese and butter. In some countries milk is fortified with extra vitamin D in order to increase the intake of this vitamin. Vitamin D contributes to several functions in the body including the maintenance of normal muscle function and the maintenance of normal bones and teeth. (10)
- EFSA Food composition database and Dutch food composition database (NEVO-online 2016)
- EFSA 2010;8(10):1811 and 2011;9(6):2203
- 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
- EFSA 2010;8(10):1814
- EFSA 2009; 7(9):1210-1272 and EFSA 2010;8(10):1725 2011;9(6):2203
- 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
- EFSA2010; 8(2):1469
- EFSA 2009; 7(9):1227 2011;9(6):2203