Diversity in Dairy @auramag
Category : Food & Health


We often picture milk, cheese, and butter when we think of dairy products. However, the dairy world is much more diverse than we may realise. From different types of milk to various regional specialities, diversity in dairy should be celebrated and explored. Recently, dietary preferences, nutritional needs, and cultural interests have transformed the dairy industry into a display of variation. In this article, let’s explore the dairy world from the most popular to the uncommon.

Milk: Liquid milk is the most consumed form of milk. Whether a refreshing glass by itself or added to your morning coffee or cereal, milk is a versatile ingredient that can be enjoyed in countless ways. Milk is an essential source of calcium, proteins, fats, vitamin B12 and other nutrients for the body, providing energy and supporting overall growth and development. The composition of milk depends on the type of dairy animal. Buffalo milk has more fat and proteins than goat, cow, and camel milk. It is pasteurised, toned, fat-free, skimmed, flavoured, and fortified milk. Condensed milk used in bakery products is produced by heating and concentration after removing water from milk.

Powdered milk is a product of dehydration of milk. Its convenience and long shelf life make it a hit. It is used in baking breads, cookies, and creams and can even be reconstituted into a glass of milk.

Fermented milk products: Fermented milk products use microorganisms to make the milk acidic. The lactose in milk is converted to lactic acid, and proteins are broken down into simpler forms. As a result, fermented milk products have significant health benefits, like improved digestibility and increased utilisation of calcium and other minerals in milk. They can be used as an alternative to milk, especially in cases of lactose intolerance. The most popular example is yoghurt.

Yoghurt is produced by bacterial fermentation of milk. Due to its health benefits, it is highly popular among consumers. It is a rich source of calcium, protein, and many micronutrients. Yoghurt helps decrease blood pressure and benefits people with diabetes by lowering blood glucose and insulin resistance. Flavoured yoghurts, fruit yoghurt, and frozen yoghurt are quite popular varieties.

Ayran is a refreshing salty drink made from yoghurt. Popular in the Middle East and of Turkish origin, it is a good source of protein, calcium, potassium, and other minerals. Due to its high water and electrolyte content, it is an excellent beverage for hot days. Ayran is popular with different names, such as Lassi (India), Laban (Middle East), Doogh (Iran), and Ariani (Greece).

Buttermilk is the sour liquid left after churning butter. It is high in lactic acid, which gives

it a tart taste. It is a good source of proteins, calcium, and vitamins B2 and B12. Nowadays, fortified buttermilk is available, which provides a significant dose of vitamin D. It is good for bone, heart, oral, and gut health.

Kefir is a sour drink prepared by bacterial fermentation of milk. Its richness in probiotics makes it beneficial for digestion. Recently, Kefir has been gaining popularity among health enthusiasts for its effectiveness in improving immunity, weight management, and gut and bone health.

Viili is a traditional Finnish yoghurt made simply by fermenting cold milk at room temperature for 8- 12 hours. It has a slimy consistency, mild taste, and numerous health benefits. It improves immunity and provides essential nutrients with increased bioavailability to the body. Occasionally, switch up your routine yoghurt and try making viili.

Cheese is a well-known milk product produced after the coagulation of milk proteins. There are many varieties of cheese specific to certain regions of the world. The texture, taste, nutritional and other characteristics of the cheese depend on the type of milk, processing techniques, and the ageing. Ageing decreases the lactose content of cheese, making it suitable for people with lactose intolerance. Some common varieties of cheese include Mozzarella cheese (Italy), Cottage cheese (USA), Ricotta cheese (Italy), Feta cheese (Greece), Brie (Italy), Camembert (France), Cheddar (England), Cheshire (England), Edam (Netherlands), Emmental- Swiss cheese (Switzerland), Parmesan (Italy), Danish blue cheese (Denmark), Roquefort (England).
Cheese is a rich source of proteins, calcium, fats, and minerals, because of its high protein and low-fat value. Low-fat cheeses like feta, ricotta, and cottage cheese must be chosen over high-fat cheeses like cheddar, mozzarella, or cream cheese.

Cottage cheese (paneer): This mildly flavoured fresh cheese is a perfect choice for athletes as it helps build muscle and lose weight because of its high protein, low carb, and low-fat content. It is prepared by curdling the milk with lemon or vinegar. When the milk protein (casein) curdles, it is separated from the liquid part and solidified. It is an excellent source of protein and essential nutrients. Digestive issues can arise due to its high lactose content; hence, care must be taken when selecting portion sizes. Paneer, the Indian version of cottage cheese, is a popular ingredient in snacks and meals among vegetarians. Cheese is a rich source of proteins, calcium, fats, and minerals, because of its high protein and low-fat value. Low-fat cheeses like feta, ricotta, and cottage cheese must be chosen over high-fat cheeses like cheddar, mozzarella, or cream cheese.

Cream is the top fat layer separated from milk before mixing it. It must be eaten in moderation due to its high-fat value. The cream is used to make delicious treat ice cream.

Butter is prepared from churning cream and is loved for its rich taste. However, it must be used carefully as it raises cholesterol and supports weight gain.

Whey is made from the leftover liquid after making cheese. Milk has two proteins—casein and whey. When the milk curdles, casein separates, leaving whey. Whey is protein-rich- and nutrient-dense, and the body easily absorbs its nutrients. It is an excellent protein choice for weight loss, muscle gain, and increased strength in athletes and bodybuilders.

Cream cheese is traditionally made with curdling milk to prepare cheese, blending it to a smooth texture and then adding cream to adjust the fat consistency. Low-fat cheese can be used to lower the fat content of cream cheese. It is used to make cheesecakes, dressings, and delicious snack spreads. Remember to consume in moderation, as high-fat content can cause weight gain and digestibility issues.

Sour cream is generally used for dressings or garnishes. It is prepared by fermenting thick cream with acid or vinegar. Although it has a good amount of nutrients, it must be consumed in small quantities due to its high fat and calorie value. Adding sour cream to fruit and vegetable salads promotes the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins.

Clotted cream is an extra-thick spreadable cream prepared by baking fresh cream. Due to its high fat content, this delicacy from England must be consumed in limited quantities

Ghee is a traditional Indian product with a unique aroma and taste. It is made by heating the butter to separate the proteins, sugar, and butter fat. The liquid butter is then strained and cooled separately. Ghee is added to curries, sweets, and bread to enhance the flavour. It is better digested than creams and butter due to the absence of milk sugar and proteins. It is good for the skin, eyes, and immunity as it helps the body absorb vitamin A. Eating ghee in excessive amounts can lead to weight gain and increased bad cholesterol.

Product Calories (kcal) Proteins (g) Fats (g) Carbohydrates (g)
Milk 60  3 3  5
Condensed milk 325 6.9 8 56
Evaporated milk 103 5.7 8.3 7
Yoghurt 70 4 3 6.6
Ayran(lassi) 30 2 1.6 2
Buttermilk 28 1.9 1 2.9
Kefir 46 3.3 1.5 4.7
Viili 62 3 3.5 4
Cheese cheddar 416 26.4 34.9 0.5
Feta cheese 264 14 21 4.1
Cottage cheese 184 18.7 9 7.7
Ice Cream 250 4 10 26.2
Butter 640 1 70 1
Whey 352 78 1.56 6.25
Cream cheese 262 6 24 5.5
Sour cream 214 4.6 18 7.7
Clotted 441 2 13 82
Ghee 897 0 99.7 0

Table: Comparison of the nutritional value of milk and milk products(100ml/100gm)

Source: myfitnesspal

A wide range of milk products are prepared and consumed worldwide. Diversity in dairy goes beyond just the variety of dairy products available on the market. It also encompasses diverse people and cultures producing and consuming these products. Milk products are delicious and nutritious, making them valuable to any diet. Whether you’re a milk, yoghurt, or cheese fan, there’s something for everyone to enjoy in the world of milk products. With many products, keeping an eye on nutritional value and health risks is better. Next time you go to the grocery store, deviate from the usual and enjoy the versatile and nutritious addition to your diet.


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