Posts Tagged ‘milk solids’

In past years, milk referred to that creamy white liquid from contented, or not so contented, cows. Not anymore. Milk now encompasses a bevy of liquids from animal and plant sources. Although milk is available from goats and other animals, the word milk most often brings to mind cows. Cow’s milk comes in many forms and undergoes three primary processes before bought by consumers.

  • Pasteurization. Milk is heated for a certain time to a specific temperature, often 161 degrees Fahrenheit  for 15 seconds or an equivalent temperature and time. This kills harmful organisms and helps milk to keep longer.
  • Homogenization. Milk is mixed to break down fat globules and keep the cream from separating from the fluid and milk solids. It keeps the texture smooth and creamy.
  • Fortification. Substances are added to increase or replace nutritional values. Most milk has 400 I.U. of vitamin D added per quart.

In the supermarket, milk is mostly defined by fat content. The Food & Drug Administration (FDA) regulates dairy products based on standards of identity. The following are the most common types available to consumers.

  • Whole milk has no fat removed and has 3.5% fat content with about 150 calories per 8-ounce serving.
  • 2%, 1%, and ½% refer to the percent of butter fat left in milk. In each case, fat content has been reduced to the amount indicated. Per serving, the 2% has approximately 120 calories and 1% has about 100 calories
  • Non-fat or skim milk has negligible amounts of fat of less than 0.02%. An 8-ounce serving has about 80 calories compared to 150 calories for whole milk.
  • Evaporated milk is whole or skim milk with approximately 50% of water removed. It has vitamin D added and is homogenized.
  • Condensed milk has much of the water removed and is sweetened with nutritive carbohydrate sweeteners. It is pasteurized and homogenized.
  • Raw milk is unpasteurized. Because it can transmit harmful bacteria, the FDA warms against drinking it.
  • Organic milk is produced by dairy farmers who raise their animals on land using only organic fertilizers and pesticides. Cows are not given supplemental hormones. The milk is processed in the same way as standard milk and the nutrient content is the same. Organic milk doesn’t offer any more health benefits than standard milk.

Plants provide alternative sources of milk. Many forms tout added benefits. Some of the most common plant sources include: soy, rice, oat, coconut, and almond milks. For those unable to drink cow’s milk for health reasons, these plant sources give viable alternatives. If you are new to other forms of milk, don’t expect it to taste anything like the familiar cow’s milk. Each type has its own unique flavor.

Whatever you choose, milk is a healthful choice to meet the daily requirements of many nutrients.

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