Dairy products are products made with milk. Animals produce milk for their young, but only the milk of cows, sheep, goats, camels and yaks is intended for human consumption.
According to data from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), world milk production in 2013 amounted to 753.036 million tons. Cow’s milk is the one that contributes the most to world needs (83%), followed by buffalo milk (12.9%) and goat’s milk (2.4%).
Depending on the animal’s milk of origin, the nutritional composition of dairy products can vary greatly. For example, sheep’s milk has a higher protein content (5.6g per 100g) than cow’s milk (3g per 100g) and is also higher in calories.
Milk contains proteins of high biological value and covers a high percentage of the calcium requirement of our diet. In addition, it is a good source of vitamins and minerals. Let’s find out everything you need to know about dairy products.
Dairy products: what you need to know
According to the general Codex standard, a dairy product is defined as that obtained through the production of milk. It may contain food additives and other ingredients required for processing. Depending on the type of milk processing, we can distinguish the following types of dairy products:
Some result from the fermentation of microorganisms other than those in yogurt, such as kefir. After pasteurization, specific microorganisms are added to the milk. These microorganisms use the nutrients from the milk that generate a specific flavor and texture. These products must be stored in the refrigerator, as they contain live microorganisms.
Yogurt has a chemical composition similar to milk, but with different organoleptic characteristics. Some of its most important qualities are:
- It is easier to digest than milk because its proteins are hydrolyzed.
- It has a lower lactose content than milk, as lactose is digested by fermentative microorganisms. This is why some lactose intolerant people tolerate yogurts.
- It has a probiotic effect: yogurts contain live microorganisms that colonize the intestine, improve the intestinal flora and strengthen the immune function.
The cream is obtained by centrifuging the milk and separating the fat. It is the concentrated fat of milk. Contains one third of the protein and half of the lactose in milk. So be careful to consume it if you are lactose intolerant!
It is highly caloric, therefore moderate consumption is recommended. This milk derivative is particularly rich in fat-soluble vitamins, especially vitamins A and D.
Butter is present in many traditional breakfasts, but how is it obtained? This food comes from the maturation of the pasteurized cream. Subsequently, it is subjected to a process during which the grains are kneaded and the final product is obtained.
Like cream, butter is high in fat and fat-soluble vitamins. However, its protein content is much lower.
When the butter is heated to a temperature above 90 ° C, it burns and a chemical compound known as acrolein is formed. This compound has an unpleasant taste and smell.
Cheese, the king of dairy products
Cheese is obtained from the coagulation of animal milk. After acid coagulation, whey and clot are obtained. Ricotta is obtained from the first and cheese from the second.
The different varieties of cheese are produced according to the microorganisms used to acidify and the maturation time of the product. This is the classification of cheeses according to the manufacturing process:
- Fresh and white pasteurized : when it is ready to be consumed after the processing process.
- Seasoned or fermented : It must be kept under certain conditions so that the necessary physical and chemical changes can occur before being consumed.
In addition, according to the fat content, there are:
- Skim cheeses : contain a maximum of 10% fat.
- Semi-skimmed : with a fat content between 10% and 25%.
- Semi-fat : the fat content varies between 25% and 45%.
- Fats : contain between 45% and 60% of fats.
- Extra fat : when they have at least 60% fat.
Cheeses are characterized by a lower lactose content than milk: the higher the ripeness, the lower the lactose. In addition, they have a high content of minerals such as calcium, phosphorus and zinc.
In short, dairy products are plentiful and can be used to achieve a complete meal plan. They contain many nutrients, but their consumption should be moderate to avoid excesses of some compounds such as fats.