Food Value of Milk

Food Value of Milk
No single food is as widely known around the world as milk. In the United States, people consume more milk than any other beverage except water. One important reason for this is that milk is a leading source of many nutrients. Milk is also used as basic ingredient in many other foods and recipes, from soups to desserts. Think about all the foods you eat that contain milk.

Food Value of Milk

Do you like yogurt? Do you find yourself snacking on cheese? These are two of the milk products that you can use to help satisfy your daily milk requirements. Without consuming milk in some form, you would find it difficult to get the minerals — especially calcium — that your body needs. In addition, milk and milk products contain some of most nutrients required by the body.

Protein - These are two main proteins in milk — casein and lactalbumin. These are complete proteins. A liter (1.06 quarts) of milk supplies more than the daily requirement of five essential amino acids and over half of the daily requirement of the three other essential amino acids.

Carbohydrate - The sugar in milk is called lactose. Lactose is found only in milk. It helps the body absorb calcium and phosphorus and use vitamin D. In the body, lactose is changed to two other sugars; these are galactose and glucose. Galactose is necessary for healthy brain and nerve tissue. Glucose supplies energy.

Yogurt has only half the lactose of pure milk. Most ripened, or aged, cheeses contain small amounts of lactose. 

Some people lack the enzyme that is necessary to digest the lactose in milk. The enzyme is called lactase. Without lactase, lactose passes through the body, causing intestinal problems. This is apt to be the case among adult Black,s Asians; the Innuit, and people of the Near and Far East. People who have been processed to reduce or remove its lactose. They also use smaller amounts of milk products than are usually recommended for most people.

Fat - The fat in milk is called milk fat or butterfat. Because of the way fatty acids are distributed in it, milk fat is digested more easily than other fats. Milk fat carries large amounts of vitamin A and smaller amounts of the fortified vitamin D. It also contributes calories to milk and helps give milk its distinctive flavor.

Skim milk and non fat dry milk are very low in fat. You can use them in place of whole milk to decrease your calorie intake.

Minerals - Two important minerals in milk are calcium and phosphorus. Milk and many other dairy foods are the main sources of calcium in your diet. Five hundred milliliters ( about 1 pin) of milk supplies about three quarters of the U.S. RDA of calcium for adults. Milk is also a valuable source of phosphorus. Although there is only a small amount of iron in milk, it is in a form that is easily used by the body.

Vitamins - The vitamins in milk are another reason for its excellent food value. Milk is an outstanding source of riboflavin. Milk products, especially cream, are also good source of vitamin A. For the body to make the best use of the calcium and phosphorus in milk, vitamin D must be present. But milk fat contains only a small amount of vitamin D. Therefore, vitamin D is added to almost all milk sold in the United States. The medical profession feels that the use of milk fortified with vitamin D has almost eliminated the bone disease called rickets in the United States.

Milk is fair source of thiamin and contains small amounts of niacing. While milk has only a little niacin, it is in a form that is easily used by the body.

Now you know how important and how good milk for you, go grab yourself a glass of milk every breakfast or before going to bed.

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