Health Benefits of Dairy

Dairy is Packed With Nutritional Value

Many people know dairy foods are an important source of nutrients for growing children and teens. Milk and other dairy foods, however, are great sources of protein, calcium and vitamins for people in all walks of life, including adults, seniors and athletes.

Health Benefits of Dairy Products

Dairy products are loaded with essential vitamins and minerals, including carbohydrates, protein, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, vitamins A, D, B12, riboflavin and niacin.

Just one 8-ounce serving of milk has 8 grams of protein, which builds and repairs muscle tissue (an equal serving of almond beverage has only 1 gram of protein).

Using various straining and mixing techniques, milk can be made into a variety of products. Before milk is bottled, all of the fat is removed (skimmed) and added back at specific levels to make different fat-percentage variations of milk. No matter which milk-fat percentage you choose, they all contain the same essential nutrients including protein, vitamin D and calcium.

Benefits of Cow’s Milk

  • Whole Milk: (Full-fat dairy) Whole milk contains 3.5% fat by weight. It delivers 8 grams of fat and 150 calories per 8-ounce serving.
  • 2 Percent Milk: Two-percent milk contains 2% fat by weight. It delivers 5 grams of fat and 120 calories per 8-ounce serving.
  • 1 Percent Milk: One-percent milk contains 1% fat by weight. It delivers 2.5 grams of fat and 100 calories per 8-ounce serving.
  • Skim Milk: Skim milk (0% fat) is what is left after all of the milk fat has been “skimmed” off. It delivers 0 grams of fat and 80 calories per 8-ounce serving.
  • Buttermilk: Traditionally, the term buttermilk referred to the liquid that’s left after butter had been made from milk or cream. Today, buttermilk is made from active cultures added to milk, which creates lactic acid, resulting in the tart taste and thick texture.
  • Lactose-Free Milk: People with lactose intolerance typically lack or have insufficient levels of the lactase enzyme that breaks down lactose — the naturally occurring sugar found in most dairy foods. Lactose-free milk is real dairy milk without the lactose. To make lactose-free milk, manufacturers add a small amount of lactase, which breaks down the lactose, resulting in a milk that can be digested without discomfort by those with lactose intolerance.
  • a2 Milk™: Typical dairy milk contains a combination of both a1 and a2 beta-casein proteins. Milk from cows exhibiting only the a2 form of the beta-casein protein is sold as a2 Milk™. It is marketed as milk for people with digestive issues, however, there isn’t significant scientific evidence to support the claim.

Additional Resources

Decoding the Dairy Aisle

Science Summary: Milk as a Recommended Beverage