Posts Tagged ‘fortified’

June is National Dairy Month. In past times, the mention of milk referred to dairy or that white liquid produced by mammals. Not so anymore. Controversy continues as to whether drinks from almonds, soybeans, coconut, and other plants constitute milk. While these products may be healthy, they definitely aren’t the same as milk from animals.Glass, Milk, White, Cow'S Milk, Pour A

Test your knowledge about dairy (with 1% fat), unsweetened almond, soy, rice, and coconut milks by taking the quiz below.

  • What milk listed above has the highest amount of protein?
  • Which one is highest in calories?
  • Which milks are fortified with calcium and vitamin D?
  • Which milk is highest in fat, based on the above criteria?
  • Which one(s) is/are lactose-free?

Protein in milk. Cow’s milk by far has the highest content of protein. In doesn’t matter if the product is skim, reduced fat, whole, organic, or inorganic, it contains the same amount of protein, about 1 gram per ounce or 8 grams in 8-ounce servings. Coconut and rice are the lowest with 0 grams of protein while almond has 1 gram, and soy 7 grams.

Calories in milk. Dairy milk (1% fat) also contains the most calories with 110 per serving. The most popular non-dairy milks usually contain added sugar, increasing the calorie count. When served unsweetened, plant milks have a calorie count as follows: almond― 40, soy― 80, rice― 70, and coconut― 45.

Fortified milk. A fortified food indicates that manufacturers have added micronutrients to the product. Federal regulations mandate fortification of cow’s milk with 2000 International Units (IU) per quart of vitamin A and 400 IU of vitamin D. Cow’s milk is naturally high in the mineral calcium, and the vitamin D improves calcium absorption. The federal government does not regulated fortification in plant milks, but many do add vitamins and minerals to simulate cow’s milk.

Fat content. Coconut milk, with 4.5 grams per serving of mostly saturated fat, has the highest content of the milks listed. Controversy continues regarding the pros and cons of the healthfulness of coconut milk. Current research confirms that saturated fat is less healthy than unsaturated types of fat whether from animal sources or plant sources. Soy milk is second highest in fat content with 4 grams per serving. The amount of fat in cow’s milk depends on whether it is skim―with minimal fat, whole―full-fat content, or somewhere in-between for reduced fat milk. Based on the 1 percent criteria, dairy, almond, and rice all have 2.5 grams of fat per 8-ounce serving.

Lactose. Lactose is a sugar found only in milk. Some people who have trouble digesting cow’s milk may be lactose intolerant.

Consumer Reports compared these milks and identified pros and cons.

  • Almond milk. These drinks contain few almonds, sometimes no more than the equivalent of three to four whole almonds. The nuts are ground and added to water. Drinks may contain some vitamin E and are often fortified with calcium and vitamin D. Panelists preferred “Almond Breeze Original” of the eight tasted. This drink has sugar added and possibly other additives.
  • Coconut milk. This drink is not the same as coconut milk found in cans. It is watered down to match the consistency of dairy milk. Added nutrients may include calcium and vitamin D, and some may have B12. Of the five brands tasted, the panel chose “Silk Almond-Coconut Blend Original” as the most flavorful.
  • Soy milk. This product is a good source of protein, but not the quality protein found in cow’s milk. It is made with ground soybeans and water, and is often fortified with B-vitamins, calcium, and vitamin D. Consumer Reports panelists tasted four products and selected “Silk Soymilk Vanilla” as the best. It, too, has added sugar.

With these facts, you can make more informed decisions about the type of milk you choose for you and your family. Dairy is usually the most economical and packs in more nutrients than any of the plant sources. All dairy milk has nine essential nutrients and high-quality (complete) protein. Non-dairy milks have no federal standards and may contain as much as ten different added ingredients including salt and sugar plus stabilizers and emulsifiers like locust bean gum, lecithin, and other gums.

Let me know what you think. Should these non-dairy drinks continue to be labeled as milk?


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National Dairy Month originated in 1937 as National Milk Month to promote drinking of milk. This recognition has evolved into an array of options from skim to whole to flavored milks plus a variety of yogurts, cheeses, and other dairy products.

Below are  trivia questions from the Southeastern Dairy Organization which I have modified and added a few of my own. Test your knowledge about milk and milk products.

  • What is pasteurization? Pasteurized milk has been heated to the proper temperature to kill any pathogens in the product. Recent trends among several groups have promoted raw milk. This means drinking milk as it comes straight from the cow. While dairy farmers maintain the utmost in sanitation, the possibility of contamination always exists. The Center for Disease Control considers pasteurized milk 150 times safer than raw milk.
  • What is homogenization? Homogenization is a process of breaking down the fat in milk to make a more uniform texture throughout the mixture. Without this process, the cream (fat) in the milk will rise to the top of the fluid milk.
  • What does fortified mean? Generally, this term in relation to milk refers to adding nutrients to the product to increase the nutritive value. Most milk is fortified with 400 International Units per quart of vitamin D.
  • How much protein does a serving of milk provide? One 8-ounce serving of milk has eight grams of protein making it a major source for daily protein needs.
  • Are Greek yogurt and regular yogurt made from different types of milk? No. While the term “Greek” is unregulated, true Greek yogurt has most of the whey (watery part of milk) strained off. Greek yogurt has greater amounts of protein, less sodium, and less sugar than regular yogurt.
  • True or False: Eating yogurt helps with digestion. True. Yogurt can be beneficial in the digestive process.

Dairy is an important part of a healthy diet. Health professional recommend that individuals age nine or above consume three serving of dairy each day. However, most people’s diets include only two serving daily. Milk and milk products are high in varied nutrients. The calcium and phosphorus plus those products fortified with Vitamin D promote bone health.

To observe National Dairy Month, the National Dairy Council emphasizes 30 Days of Dairy. This informative site suggests ways to incorporate dairy into meals and snacks. One section includes recipes. I plan to try their yummy sounding recipe for Baked Spinach Artichoke Yogurt Dip which has 8 grams of protein and only 80 calories per serving.

Enjoy the wholesome goodness and benefits of milk and milk products. Celebrate National Dairy Month.


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