For many, the milk, in any of its multiple versions or products dairy (yogurt, cheese, butter…) are the first food to start the day. Sometimes, even also assume the last thing that we get to the stomach before going to sleep. However, in recent years, consumption has suffered various ups and downs. Then we will analyze these basic products in our daily diet, since their consumption recommendations, what give us nutritionally different types, where to find and how to choose the most appropriate for you.
Recommendations of consumption of milk
The recommendations of the main bodies of reference remain including milk and dairy as regular consumption food. The NAOS pyramid, published in 2008 by the Ministry of health, social services and equality recommended daily consumption. And the pyramid of the healthy nutrition of the 2015 SENC advocates a consumption of 2-3 servings daily.
While according to data from the Ministry of agriculture and fisheries, food and environment (MAPAMA) milk consumption has fallen 18% since 2004, every Spanish consumes more than 73 litres of milk each year. And virtually all – 71 l – sterilized milk, typical of tetra brick.
In the case of the dairy products, the road has been the contrary: now consume 16% more than in 2004, up to 35 kg per person (most in the form of fermented milk and yoghurt).
So as the milk and dairy products are still ubiquitous products in our shopping cart, we will see what we should look when choosing the most suitable.
Where to buy dairy products
Although 73% of milk and 71% of the dairy products are sold in supermarkets and hypermarkets, perhaps surprise you know are not the only establishments where you can find them.
Before the fall in milk prices and the demands of the distribution sector, farmers are betting on new ways to market their dairy products. You can find producers who sell milk milk directly to the final consumer.
Most of them sell treated thermally (usually pasteurised milk), but you can find some farms that sell raw milk and ask yourself whether it is a permissible practice. If permitted the sale of raw milk meeting certain requirements, but later you will see that it is not a recommended option for health reasons.
Other ranchers have pointed to the sale through machines pasteurized milk vending. They aren’t available in all over the country, but they are having success as a way to reach the consumer directly avoiding intermediaries (in addition to retrieving the nostalgic moment in that the dairy had bottles of fresh milk to house).
You can also find milk and dairy artisan cooperatives, dairies or in retail locations. And safe that you have seen posts of cheese and yogurt in local fairs and street markets (are generally small productions that do not move through alternative distribution chains).
Even the Internet is being consolidated as a means of distributing these products as well can reach everywhere and avoid relying on large distribution chains.
Milk and dairy products are foods which have a nutritional profile that makes them suitable for the general population that poses no problems in the milk protein allergy or lactose intolerance. But as we will see later, it is very important to choose the milk we consume so appropriate in our diet.
The consumption of milk and dairy products has traditionally been associated to the maintenance of good bone health since they are rich in calcium and vitamin D (essential for this mineral absorption). Entities as prestigious as Harvard public health school recognized that calcium is necessary for the formation and maintenance of bones and that milk is the best source of calcium (a ration provides the greatest amount of absorbable calcium, i.e. usable by our body).
That does not mean that, once we reach the dietary reference intakes (which according to the FESNAD is 900 mg per day in adults with slight variations according to sex and age) we have to continue taking calcium. The latest scientific studies refute the belief that a greater amount of calcium are going to have stronger bones and reduced risk of fractures.
Milk and dairy products are the best source of calcium, but you should know are not essential products in the diet. If you can’t or don’t want to take dairy products there are other foods that provide calcium that are valid as substitutes (enriched soy beverage contains the same amount of calcium that milk and is absorbed at the same rate).
What do contribute us part of calcium dairy products?
The nutritional value of these products is variable and you must know them to know what is most appropriate for your needs. For example, some milk as the cheese obtained by concentrating milk and therefore contain quantities much higher protein and fat (except for the low-fat).
By consuming milk and dairy are incorporated into your diet:
- Protein: about 3 g / 100 ml in the yogurt and whole cow milk. In truth (not the manufactured Greek style) Greek yogurt will find 6g / 100g. And some varieties of cheese, such as curing, can contain up to 36g / 100g.
- FAT: the variability is even greater because as you know you can find whole products, semidesnatados and skimmed. In addition, the amount of fat varies greatly according to the type of milk (cow – 3%-, sheep – 6.4% – or goat – 3.9 %-) or dairy derivative (from 2.7% of fat in yogurt to 39% of fat in the idiazabal cheese).)
More than 50% of the milk fat is composed of saturated fatty acids and this proportion is maintained in all dairy products from milk. WHO maintains that the risk of developing NCD (such as diabetes or obesity) decreases by reducing the consumption of saturated fat to less than 10% of your daily caloric intake and recommended reducing the consumption of saturated fats. And the consensus of the SENC of 2011 on the nutritional goals for the Spanish population set to reduce the contribution of saturated fat to 7-8% of the energy input. That is why it is essential to choose the product that best meets your nutritional needs and to note that, in addition to other nutrients, some dairy products are very high in saturated fats.
- Carbohydrates: milk, natural yoghurts and other dairy products such as cheese or curd only contain lactose, a sugar naturally present in milk (and who, like intrinsic sugar, who is not considered to have adverse health effects). Whole milk contains approximately 4, 7g of lactose / 100ml and fermented, as the cheese or yoghurt products, the amount of lactose decreases (by what lactose intolerant people can eat them).
However, dairy products that may even seem milk because they are sold in similar packaging, contain added sugars.
- Minerals: in addition to calcium (100 ml of milk provide 120 mg of calcium), milk contains potassium, phosphorus and magnesium, and poor in iron.
- Vitamins: milk contains vitamin A (100ml represent 6.5% of the dietary reference intakes). And is also a source of vitamin D, folic acid, riboflavin (100ml cover 13% of daily needs) or vitamin B12 (with 100ml reach 15% of the recommended amount).
It might seem a no-brainer to try to define what is milk, it is nonetheless necessary because many dairy preparations that look like milk are not. You can only call milk if it does not contain any added ingredients (except those that appear naturally in milk, such as calcium). This discards all products containing fiber, fatty acids omega 3, plant sterols…
Types of milk
There are several types of milk available in the market you clarify their characteristics so you know which shopping and how you keep it:
- Pasteurized milk: is what we know as fresh milk. To guarantee their hygiene it is subjected to a heat treatment at a temperature of 72 ° C for 15 seconds. The treatment is not at very high temperatures (only destroys pathogenic micro-organisms, but does not destroy that alter milk) and is only kept for a few days. It should always be refrigerated (expiration date is short, 7-10 days). You can find it in bricks or plastic bags. At home you have to always keep in the fridge and consume 3 days after opening.
- UHT milk: it is the best selling milk. Sterilization at high temperatures (greater than 135 ° C for at least 1 second). This treatment can have a long duration and can be stored at room temperature for months. It occurs in tetrabriks.
- Raw milk: it is not a product that is in the usual sales channels, but it is possible to buy directly from producers in some very specific cases.
While farms that have permitted the sale are subject to comprehensive controls, Spanish consumption, food safety and nutrition Agency considers that the risk of pathogenic microorganisms in this product may not be treated. The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) is concerned about the increase in outbreaks of foodborne diseases due to the increase in consumption of raw milk. If you still want to consume it, you should always boil it first.
The origin of the milk
Don’t be surprised if you don’t find the country of origin of the milk the tetrabrick. While many consumers are interested in knowing where they come from milk and dairy products, in Spain is not obligatory to indicate on the label.
Spanish farmers also have years claiming that this data be included in the labelling as a way to protect the national milk production and promote the use of local products. At European level, the regulation 1169 / 2011 envisages that producers do voluntarily indicate the country of origin of the milk in the labelling of milk and products using milk as an ingredient. But it is not mandatory.
In some countries such as France and Italy if national standards have been developed and manufacturers must provide this information. And Spain is also poised to make it mandatory. At this point, just closed a public consultation on the draft Royal Decree to regulate the mandatory labelling of the country of origin of the milk. So, if all goes as planned, after the summer already you can find that information on the packaging of milk and dairy.
The nutritional composition of dairy products varies greatly depending on the product. And can be a real mess to distinguish them and choose the best for you when you are at the supermarket before cameras full of similar foods. For this reason, you clarify the characteristics of the most common dairy foods that put at your disposal in different markets:
- Prepared dairy: in this category are all products that appear to milk but which carry some added ingredient (as fatty acids omega 3 or fiber). They are not considered milk because they do not fit the legal definition.
- Yogurt: another well known product, but you can however confuse us. He is only considered yogurt products of milk fermented with two microorganisms: Streptococcus thermophilus and Lactobacillus bulgaricus. All products fermented with other bacteria such as Bifidubacterium (the famous bifidus) fall into the category of fermented milks.
Also entering the yogurt category the “pasteurized after fermentation” in which micro-organisms are no longer present and don’t require cold to preserve it.
- Fermented milks: that comes from the fermentation of milk with organisms other than the yogurt. They are all products with Lactobacillus casei or Bifidibacterium spp.
- Dairy desserts: they are custard, rice with milk, Custard pies, drinks, creams and mousses… that they are not derived from a fermentation and contain milk in variable proportion, as well as other ingredients such as sugar, chocolate, cream, gelatin, aromas…
- Curd: is obtained by adding rennet so they precipitate the proteins of milk and get the typical texture. It is not a fermented product.
- Cheese: is a fresh or matured product obtained by addition of rennet or other coagulant. Depending on the microorganisms used for acidification and the time of maturation will be different varieties of cheese (with nutritional values).
- Butter: it is an emulsion (mix) of water from fat exclusively milk. It contains between 80% and 90% of fat and a maximum of 16% water.
Before this variety of milk and milk products, it is logical that they mislead you doubts about what are the most appropriate. Therefore, we give you some of the tracks that you can guide at the time of purchase and make the best choice of the milk that is best suited to your needs:
- There are no nutritional differences between the pasteurized or UHT milk. To some people the pasteurized prefer them because they consider that it is more traditional taste. Choose which most like it and will be more comfortable buying, conserve and consume.
- How many fewer better ingredients: simply compares the number of ingredients that carries a natural yogurt and one with fruit, for example. It is not the amount of ingredients to suppose that the product is nutritionally worse per se, but likely that including some slip like sugar that improve the palatability (but worsen the nutritional profile). And is counterproductive, because you may think that the version with fruits or nuts you brings extra benefits precisely by adding these ingredients, when the reality is that the amount of fruit is minimal (sometimes does not reach or 2%) and the percentage of added sugar is often even greater than the of the fruit itself.
- Avoid dairy products with health claims: these are indicating that “help your digestion”, they contain fiber which accelerates intestinal transit, help control cholesterol… Most of these products owe their properties to added ingredients that you can get perfectly following a healthy diet based on fresh foods that contain them naturally. And these dairy products are generally much more expensive than their conventional counterparts.
- Read the label (especially the small letter): is the most complete tool that consumers have to our scope to really understand the characteristics of a product. Although the package is designed to look like a healthy product, it is not always so. In the list of ingredients and nutritional information you can find reliable information to know if that food is what you’re looking for.
- Learn how to distinguish dairy products: not all are equal and all are healthy. And they are not interchangeable. It’s easy, dragging the good reputation of the milk, one might think that the dairy desserts are equally valid and nutritious such as healthy choice, but not. It is not the same to eat a yogurt that a dairy dessert even though the two are consumed in similar circumstances (at the end of a meal). Nutritionally they are so different that while the yogurt would take 2-3 daily rations of milk recommended, dessert should only consume be occasionally.
Nor is equivalent to eating a portion of matured cheese (very rich in proteins, but with a high proportion of saturated fat) than one nonfat coolly. You must be aware of the nutritional intake of dairy products you eat (for which the best is back to point 4, read labels).
- Intolerant to lactose: while people who are allergic to milk protein can not eat any dairy product, the lactose intolerant if you can eat them according to their degree of intolerance. Some of the better tolerated products are the yoghourts and cheeses, precisely because fermented products are in which the lactose has been transformed by the action of micro-organisms.
And very important: the diagnosis of lactose intolerance has to do it with a doctor. Self-diagnosis can make that restrict our diet avoiding dairy (even in greater measure than if we had a medical confirmation) and no replacement properly, reducing the total calcium intake.
You already have your dairy products at home and now, how store them in the pantry or fridge? In some cases, it is unclear how to preserve them properly: the yoghurt, curds, dairy desserts, fresh cheeses, processed cheese and cream cheese spreads always should be kept in the refrigerator.
Very important: pasteurized milk must also be kept always cold, no matter if you buy it in bags or in tetra Brik. You distinguish it perfectly because in the supermarket is in the refrigerated.
The vast majority of products which are preserved in cold have a short shelf life: you’ll see that they include expiration date and you must dispose of them once overcome, since their safety is not guaranteed (can produce pathologies).
What do we do with the cheese? The cheeses or spreadable creams can endure months cold in the same container for sale. In this case they will have preferred consumption date and thereafter may lose properties (have flavors, smells or weird textures), but they are still safe products and do not pose a health problem.
Other cheeses do not have container (which are purchased whole or portions). Recommended in this case is to keep in greaseproof paper (glossy paper in the Delicatessen) to avoid drying on contact with the air.
The type of cheese and its degree of maturation will determine if you have to keep in the refrigerator (tender and semi-cured cheeses and cheeses ripened by moulds such as Cabrales cheese) or may be at room temperature, provided that the 22 ° C are not exceeded and preferably within a (cured, old and aged cheeses) cheese. If the ambient temperature is high, it is best to keep them in the fridge.
It is recommended to remove them from the refrigerator at least one hour before eating so that fat go melting temperature environment and can appreciate all the nuances of flavor.
And, in general, it is not a good idea to freeze the cheese: fresh cheeses, blue and mature undergo changes in its structure and on thawing crumble. Lean cheeses and the tender can keep a little better organoleptic properties, but you will not get a high quality product.