Milk is a common source of nutrition and is found in female mammals to sustain their infants. In addition, milk nutrition offers a variety of health-benefiting nutrients. Milk is a common source to gain vital nutrients worldwide. However, some people stay deprived of milk nutrition because of allergies such as lactose intolerance or allergy to cow’s milk sugar. The most abundant nutrient in milk is calcium which is great for bone health. Also, the non-fat version of milk is considered the best protein source of milk nutrition for those who either have protein deficiency or those who want to gain muscle fast. Some variants that offer milk nutrition are known as dairy products. These include buttermilk, yogurt, cheese, etc. This article will discuss milk nutrition in detail, so let’s have a peek.
Table of Contents
- Milk Nutrition Facts
- Milk Nutritional Value
- Cow Milk Benefits For Health
- Possible Side Effects of cow’s milk
- FAQs About Cow Milk Nutrition
Milk Nutrition Facts
The milk nutrition facts are highly complex. However, the composition consists of almost all the nutrients a human body needs. Below given are the milk nutrition facts as per one cup of cow’s milk or 250 ml of whole milk.
- Calories- 149
- Water- 88%
- Protein- 7.7 grams
- Carbs- 11.7 grams
- Sugar- 12.3 grams
- Fiber- 0 grams
- Fats- 8 grams
It is always better to compare different varieties to choose the best one for personal health. Here is the table comparing milk nutrition facts of different varieties.
Comparison Table for Different Varieties of Milk Nutrition
|Milk Categories||Calories||Calcium||Fats||Saturated Fats||Unsaturated Fats||Cholesterol|
|Whole Milk||149||276 g||8 g||4.5 g||2.5 g||24.4 mg|
|Milk with 2% Reduced Fats||122||307 g||5 g||3 g||1.1 g||19.4 mg|
|Milk with 1% Reduced Fats||102||305 g||2.4 g||1.5 g||0.8 g||12.2 mg|
|Non-Fat or Skim Milk||90||316 g||0.6 g||0.4 g||0.2 g||4.9 mg|
Also See: Soy Milk – Nutrition and Health Benefits
Milk Nutritional Value
It is intriguing to let the nutrition facts alone without fully understanding the nutritional value of milk components. Therefore, let us now understand milk’s nutritional value in little detail.
The energy content in milk comes from natural protein, carbohydrates, and fats. Skim milk is an exception for this nutritional value of milk as it has no virtual fats. Hence different varieties of milk contain different amounts of energy.
The main source of energy among foods is their calorie content (kcal). Many components in food offer various health benefits, but only the macronutrients protein, fats, and carbs provide energy. Therefore, the energy content of a food is calculated based on the calories provided by the total value of protein that is present.
Milk is a great and one of the primary sources of protein, with 8 grams of protein per cup. Milk proteins contain all the nine essential amino acids that our bodies need and get only through foods. Milk consists of 82% casein protein and 18% of whey protein. The separation involves milk coagulation, the same process which is used to prepare cheese. Many foods are prepared using these protein isolates.
The sugar lactose is responsible for the carbohydrates content in milk. Some varieties of milk or milk products include added sugars. People who have diabetes or are willing to lose weight, or just wish to maintain good health should avoid milk products that contain added sugar. All these flavored milk varieties, be it chocolate flavor, strawberry, or ice milk, have a sugar content between 10 and 18 grams of added sugar per serving. However, being high in carbs, the glycemic index of milk is low, roughly near 25-30.
Milk marketing is done based on its fat content, making it easier for consumers to choose between different percentages. For instance, whole milk contains 4% fat, nonfat milk has 0%, and you can also go for either 1% or 2% reduced-fat milk. Nearly half of the fat in milk is saturated fat. Also, a quarter of the fat is monounsaturated fat and a very less amount is polyunsaturated fat.
Milk can also be a decent source of omega-3 fatty acids. However, breastfeeding mothers should always rely on their own milk and infant formula as they contain more of the fatty acids that babies need. Thus, children under 1-year of age should avoid cow’s milk.
Also See: Top 10 Protein Powder in India
Cow Milk Benefits For Health
Health experts highly recommend including dairy foods in the daily diet. Milk and other dairy products help boost the number of vital nutrients in the body, such as calcium, protein, and vitamin D intake and help maintain strong bones and muscles. They also suggest that choosing dairy products without added sugars or sweeteners and those lower in fat is better for gaining the most out of milk nutritional value.
Improves Bone Density
The calcium and vitamin D found in milk as well as the dairy products are important for bone health and overall body strength and may help suppress conditions like osteoporosis (weakening of the bones that may cause fractures). In addition, dairy product consumption from a young age and during adolescence may reduce the chances of developing osteoporosis in later years of life.
Lowers The Risks for Hypertension
A small study of over 3,000 women revealed a connection between low dairy intake for people with osteoporosis, hypertension, or high blood pressure. Another review study also suggested that taking calcium supplements reduces blood pressure among people without hypertension, showing that it may play a protective role.
May Protect Against Cancer
Research revelations about the efficiency of calcium in reducing the risk of a few cancers (such as ovarian, and breast) have been mixed. Nonetheless, it seems calcium, from supplements and from dairy sources, is a promising treatment and may offer slight protection against these cancers.
Improves Muscle Mass and Physical Performance
A study of older women of ages 70 to 85 found that those who consumed 2.2 grams or more daily servings of milk, yogurt, or cheese had improved physical performance and body composition than those who ate just 1.5 or fewer servings each day. In younger women, milk can act as a recovery drink after resistance exercise and may help with greater muscle mass, strength gains, and ramp up the fat loss process.
Helps Reduce Weight
A study of more than 18,000 women as participants over 45 years old concluded that eating dairy products may help prevent weight gain in women, particularly in this age group. Hence, milk and dairy products can be used as weight loss measures by middle-aged women to lose weight.
Also See: Health Benefits of Bamboo Rice
Possible Side Effects of cow’s milk
Though the milk’s nutritional value offers health benefits of whole foods, there can be some side effects of the dairy products. Some of them include natural allergies and intolerance. Let us look at the unfortunate side effects of cow’s milk-
As already mentioned, milk sugar and lactose are the primary forms of carbs in milk. For digestion, lactose gets broken down in the digestive system into subunits called glucose and galactose. This breaking down of lactose becomes difficult for some people after childhood, and this condition is known as lactose intolerance. Around 75% of people in the world have lactose intolerance, though the proportion of this large number of people varies depending on the genetic structure.
The condition is most common in African, Asian, and South American nations. Here, 65-90% of the population suffers from milk intolerance. Lactose intolerance brings with it many unpleasant symptoms, such as bloating, gas, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, nausea, and vomiting.
The whey proteins called alpha-lactoglobulin and beta-lactoglobulin are mainly responsible for allergic reactions; however, they can also arise due to caseins. The key symptoms of milk allergy are swelling, skin rash, breathing problems, vomiting, diarrhea, etc.
Acne is a common skin problem that causes pimples on the face, chest, and back. The insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) is responsible for the hormone imbalance that causes acne. Hence, high milk or dairy products consumption can cause acne in some people.
Milk and cancer
Some studies show a link between milk and high cancer risks. However, there are mixed pieces of evidence to prove this fact that milk may increase cancer risks entirely. However, some studies strongly indicate the high risks of prostate cancer among men due to high milk intake. But, some studies also suggest that dairy products may lower the risk of colorectal cancer. Hence people should avoid excessive milk intake.
Milk is one of the most potent sources of whole nutrition in the world. It is not only abundant in high-quality protein but also a terrific source of vitamins and minerals, mainly calcium, vitamin B12, and riboflavin. This is why milk is an efficient source to deal better with high blood pressure and osteoporosis conditions.
Still, some people who have milk protein allergies or are lactose intolerant must avoid dairy products or consult a doctor before opting for any of them. These people should look at the ‘gluten-free’ or the ‘allergen-free’ tag on the nutrition label of the commercial dairy products. Milk can also cause acne and may intensify the risks of prostate cancer. Anything in excess can harm the health; hence try to consume cow’s milk and dairy products in moderation to avoid any unfortunate health issues.
FAQs About Cow Milk Nutrition
Q.1 How are Reduced Fat, Low Fat, Whole, and Fat-free Milk Different?
Ans. All of these categories are 100% real cow’s milk. However, these are different in the percentage of milk fat content or the amount of fat in the milk by weight.
Whole milk has 3.25% fat by weight — the closest to fresh cow milk. There are also other options for those with different taste preferences or health requirements, fat-free, reduced-fat (2%), and low fat (1%) milk. However, all milk remains naturally nutrient-rich and wholesome with thirteen essential nutrients.
Q.2 What is Milk Without Lactose or Lactose-free Milk?
Ans. It is another form of real cow’s milk but without lactose. Regular milk gets an addition of lactase, an enzyme that makes it easy to break down lactose. Still, lactose-free milk consists of all the 13 essential nutrients that are present in regular milk. Hence lactose-free milk is a nutritious and wholesome source of milk for people who are lactose intolerant.
Q.3 Which Milk is Right for You?
Ans. Milk selections depend on personal choice, which should keep health as the prime priority. Whole cow milk, fat-free, lactose-free, all are healthy and nutritious.