Dairy products like milk, cheese and yogurt are packed with many different nutrients that are needed to keep us healthy. But that’s not all! Nature has packaged these nutrients together in a unique combination that lets our bodies get the absolute best from them. It means that whatever our age or stage in life, we’re more likely to benefit from these nutrients in a way that’s not always seen when vitamins and minerals are added to foods to fortify them or are supplied in a man-made supplement. And let’s face it, why would you want to pop a pill to get your nutrients when dairy products are so delicious, versatile and easy to enjoy?
If you find yourself worried about the calories in your semi skimmed pint, rest assured – when it comes to the calories in dairy, there’s lots of good news. There are heaps of low-fat products available and these all contain fewer calories than regular dairy (think semi-skimmed milk, reduced-fat cheese and low-fat yogurts). Meanwhile, whatever you choose, the calories in all dairy products come naturally packaged with heaps of other nutrients that are important for our wellbeing. Dairy is what health experts call a nutrient-rich or nutrient-dense food. In other words, you get a lot of protein, vitamins and minerals with the calories, so there’s much more to milk nutrition than just calories.
Worried about the fat in milk? Often, whole milk and dairy products are referred to as ‘full-fat’, but did you know they aren’t actually ‘full of fat’, and contain a wide range of nutrients? Taking milk as an example: whole milk is actually only around 3.7% fat, while semi-skimmed milk is 1.8%. So it would be more accurate to say that milk is ‘full of a wide variety of nutrients’, rather than simply ‘full of fat’.
Thanks to such a wide range of low-fat and reduced-fat products, dairy is only responsible for just over a tenth – 13% – of the fat in the diets of working-age adults in the UK5. If you want to cut down on fat, there are heaps of reduced-fat and low-fat products available, ranging from skimmed milk and low-fat cottage cheese to fat-free yogurts and reduced-fat Cheddar.
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Last reviewed: 03/2021
Next review due: 03/2023