All You Need To Know About Milk

Milk is the lacteal secretion obtained by the complete milking of one or more mammalian animals.  Although in other parts of the world a variety of animals are used as sources for milk, all commercially available milk comes from cows. Milk is valued because it is an important source of many of the nutrients essential for the proper development and maintenance of the human body. It contains protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and fat. Protein is important to fight diseases, renew cells, build muscles and maintain healthy hair and nails. That is why one”s diet should have enough proteins. Milk is an important source of protein, since each glass contain almost 8 grams.

Milk that has 2 percent fat or less is an excellent source of calcium, phosphorus, riboflavin, vitamin D, and vitamin B12, delivering 20 percent or more of each nutrient per 8 ounce serving. Milk also contains nutrients that are necessary for bone health, maintaining heart health, and reducing the risk of cancer.

To meet dietary calcium requirements, women need 1,000 milligrams per day, between the ages 19 -50 and 1,200 milligrams after age 51. Drinking at least three to four glasses of milk would meet the body calcium needs.

                                     Varieties Of Milk

Whole milk: Whole milk must contain not less than 3.25% milkfat and 8.25% milk solids not fat (protein, carbohydrate, water-soluble vitamins and minerals). All milks are approximately 87% water. Whole milk contains 150 calories and 8 grams (g) of fat per 8-fluid oz. serving. Although whole milk may be fortified with Vitamin A or Vitamin D. This is a good choice of milk for children aged 1-2 years and anyone else who fat intake is not a consideration.

Low fat milk: Low fat milk is whole milk in which the milk fat level has been reduced from 3.25% to. Low fat milk contains about 69% less fat than an equal serving of whole milk. Like whole milk, it must contain not less than 8.25% and is approximately 87% water. This milk contains 100 calories and 2.5 g of fat per 8-fluid oz per serving. Vitamins A and D are removed with the milkfat, so they are added back to low fat milk.

Fat-free milk: Fat-free milk is whole milk in which the milk fat level has been reduced from 3.5%. Fat-free milk is often referred to as skim milk. Like whole milk, it contains nothing less than 8.25% milk solids no fat, and is approximately 87% water. Fat free milk contains 80 calories and 0 g of fat per 8-fluid oz. serving. Vitamins A and D are removed with the milkfat, and are added back to fat-free milk.

Flavored milk helps children to get their recommended three servings of dairy each day. Flavored milk is milk to which a flavoring cocoa powder, strawberry or vanilla extract and a sweetener is added. Some manufacturers of flavored milk also add stabilizers or thickening agents to improve taste and texture. Flavored milks are available in whole, reduced fat, low fat and fat-free varieties. The addition of sweeteners adds calories to flavored milk, for example, chocolate milk contains about 60 calories more than unflavored milk per 8-fluid oz per serving. Like unflavored milk, flavored milk must contain not less than 8.25% and is approximately 87% water. It may also feature added Vitamins A and/or D. But also know that sweeteners in flavored milk contribute to hyperactivity in children.

Evaporated milk: Evaporated milk is made by heating homogenized whole milk under vacuum to remove about 60% of its water, fortifying it with Vitamin D, standardizing its nutritive components to required levels, canning and stabilizing. It is heat-treated (at 115.5-118.5 degrees C for 15 minutes) to sterilize it for prolonged storage. The addition of Vitamin A is optional. Evaporated milk contains not less than 7.5% milkfat and 25%. Evaporated milk requires no refrigeration until its can is opened.

Evaporated fat-free milk is similar to evaporated whole milk except the ones made with fat-free milk and contains not less than 0.5% milkfat and 20%.

Sweetened condensed milk: Sweetened condensed milk is whole or fat-free milk with about 60% of its water removed and to which a nutritive sweetener (usually sucrose) is also added. The sweetener  amounting to 40-45% by volume usually acts as a preservative. Sweetened condensed milk is typically used in candy and dessert recipes. Since evaporated milk contains no sweetener, it cannot be substituted for sweetened condensed milk. The latter must contain not less than 8% milkfat and not less than 28% milk solids. Sweetened condensed fat-free milk (0.5% milkfat, 24% is also available.

Reduced lactose milks: These milks are treated with the enzyme lactase to reduce their lactose content by about 70% Lactose.  Reduced lactose milks have sweeter taste than conventional milk because the lactose has been broken down into glucose and galactose sugars. Otherwise, the composition, nutritive characteristics and consistency of these milks are unchanged. Reduced-lactose milks are available in reduced fat, low fat and fat free varieties.

Low sodium milk: Low sodium milk has had 95% or more of the sodium that occurs naturally in milk removed. The sodium content is reduced from about 49 mg to about 2.5 mg (per 100 g of milk) by replacing it with potassium. The milk is then pasteurized and homogenized. The composition, nutritive characteristics and consistency of the milk is otherwise unchanged.

Whole dry milk: Whole dry milk is pasteurized whole fluid milk from which the water has been removed. On a dry weight basis, whole dry milk contains between 26% and 40% milkfat and not less than 5% moisture. It has added Vitamin A and may also contain added Vitamin D. Except for loss of ascorbic acid, Vitamin B-6 and thiamin, drying has no appreciable impact on the nutritive characteristics of the milk. Whole dry milk has limited retail distribution, it is used mainly in processed foods such as infant formula, chocolate and candy.

Fat-free dry milk (or non fat dry milk) is pasteurized fat-free milk from which the water has been removed. Fat free dry milk contains not more than 1.5% milkfat and not less than 5% by weight of moisture. Fat free milk contains about half of the calories of whole milk. Almost all fat free  milk are fortified with Vitamins A and D. Instant fat free  milk is made of larger particles that dissolve more easily in water. Instant fat free  milk always have a sweet, pleasing flavor and a natural color. It also dissolves immediately inside water. The low moisture content of fat free milk inhibits the multiplication of microorganisms so it can be stored for longer periods.