World Milk Day 2020!

Why we celebrate World Milk Day?

Milk is the only food which is rich in almost all the macronutrients and micronutrients. It is the primary source of nutrition for young mammals. The importance of this day is to develop public awareness, such as economic importance and nutritious value. World Milk Day was first celebrated globally by the Food And Agricultural Organisation (FAO) in 2001. The International Milk Federation (IDF) will arrange a virtual ‘RAISE A GLASS’ event on 1st June 2020, as the ongoing concerns over COVID-19.

What are the nutritive values of different types of milk?

















COW’s  MILK 67 87.5 3.2 4.1 4.4 120 90 174
HUMAN MILK 65 88.0 1.1 3.4 7.4 28 11 137
CURD( COW’s MILK) 60 89.1 3.1 4.0 3.0 149 93 102
SKIMMED MILK POWDER(cow’s milk) 357 4.1 38.0 0.1 51.0 1370 1000 0
WHOLE MILK POWDER ( cow’s milk) 496 3.5 25.8 26.7 38.0 950 730 1400
BUFFALO’s MILK 117 81.0 4.3 6.5 5.0 210 130 160

Besides these milk, there also other animals milk in other regions such as camel milk, goats milk, sheep milk, reindeer milk, yak milk etc.

What are the nutrients in milk?

  • Carbohydrate
  • Protein
  • Lipid
  • Salts, Minerals & Vitamins

Carbohydrate in milk:

Milk contains mainly lactose as carbohydrate, which gives milk its sweet taste and contributes approximately 40% of whole cow’s milk calories. Lactose is a disaccharide composite of two simple sugars, glucose and galactose.

Protein in milk:

Normal bovine milk contains 30 – 35 g of protein per litre of which about 80% is arranged in casein micelles. Milk includes dozens of other types of proteins including enzymes. These other proteins are more water-soluble than the caseins and do not form a larger structure. Because the proteins remain suspended in the whey left behind when the caseinogen coagulates into curds, they are collectively known as whey proteins. Lactoglobulin is the most common whey protein by a large margin. Lactalbumin is another.

Lipid in milk:

Initially milk fat is secreted in the form of a fat globule surrounded by a membrane. The fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K along with essential fatty acids such as linolenic acid and linolenic acid, are found within the milk fat portion of the milk. Fat composition in milk varies widely in the composition due to genetic, lactational and nutritional factor difference between different species.

Salts, Minerals & Vitamins in milk:

Minerals of milk salts are calcium, phosphate, magnesium, sodium, potassium, citrate and chlorine. In addition to calcium, milk is a good source of many other vitamins. Vitamins A. B6, B12, D, K. E, thiamine, niacin, biotin, riboflavin, folates and pantothenic acid are all present in milk.

What are the beneficial nutrients from milk & milk products?

  • Calcium: for healthy bones and teeth
  • Phosphorus: for energy release
  • Magnesium: for muscle function
  • Protein: for growth and repair
  • Vitamin B12: for the production of healthy cells
  • Vitamin A: for good eyesight and immune function
  • Zinc: for immune function
  • Riboflavin: for healthy skin
  • Folate: for the production of healthy cells
  • Iodine: for the regulation of the body’s rate of metabolism

What is the importance of milk & milk products in a healthy balanced diet?

  • Dairy products provide calcium, which is essential for bone growth and development.
  • Bone growth is at its highest peak during adolescence, and teenagers must consume dairy products.
  • As milk contains a high percentage of water, it is a useful vehicle for rehydration.
  • The raw milk from mammals is called colostrum. Colostrum contains antibodies that protect the new-born baby as well as nutrients and provide protection to growth factors.

What are the types of milk products?

  • Skimmed Milk Powder
  • Toned Milk
  • Cream
  • Clotted Cream (Malai)
  • Butter
  • Ghee
  • Chhena
  • Cheese
  • Khoa
  • Curd

Skimmed Milk Powder:

After preparing butter, the remaining milk is known as skimmed milk and can be preserved as skimmed milk powder. It is low in fat and fat-soluble vitamins but contains other nutrients like protein, sugar, minerals and vitamin B factors. It is comparatively a cheap food of high nutritive value. In order to reconstitute this powder into milk, one part of powder is added to eight parts of water.

Toned Milk:

This is prepared by mixing equal parts of fresh buffalo milk (rich in fat) and reconstituted skimmed milk powder. The fat, protein, carbohydrate, vitamin and mineral contents are the same as raw cow’s milk. But it costs less. It is suitable for malnourished children and pregnant woman and in schools and hospitals. Double toned milk is prepared by reconstituted skim milk powder. But it contains only 1.5% fat.


Milk fat floats on the surface if the liquid is allowed to stand for several hours. The fat layer of milk is separated to make different types of cream. Commercially cream is produced by centrifugation. Single cream contains about 18% fat. Double cream contains about 48% fat. Whipping cream contains about 40% fat.

Clotted Cream (Malai):

After the milk is boiled and allowed to cool, a thick layer of fat and coagulated proteins collects at the surface and can be taken out. Buffalo milk, being rich in fat, produces better-clotted cream. Good clotted cream supplies 3.5% protein, 30% fat.


Butter is the water-in-oil emulsion made from cream by phase inversion. Butter is about 80% fat. It is used widely with toast, bread, soup and in other recipes.


Ghee is prepared in many ways in different parts of India. Usually, a kind of butter is produced, which is boiled to evaporate the moisture. This helps to preserve ghee for several months. Ghee contains 99% fat and also contains vitamin A and vitamin-D. Ghee is used in frying articles and even in vegetarian curry.


It is prepared by adding lemon juice to boiling milk.This precipitates casein, lactalbumin and some fat. The liquid part is strained through a cloth and cottage cheese is collected. It supplies 15% protein, 22% fat and 5% carbohydrate. It is believed to have originated because the simple cheese was usually made from any milk leftover after making butter or other milk products.


Cheese is made from curdled milk by removal of the whey part and then ripening of substantial part using particular microbial cultures. There are a few thousand varieties of cheese in the world. Their flavour varies according to the type of milk, mode of heating, the types of bacterial culture used for fermentation.


Khoa is milk in which the water content is reduced to between 20% and 25%. It is prepared by vigorously boiling milk and stirring it. When cooled, khoa forms a uniform mass, containing fats, heat coagulated proteins and lactose. It can be eaten as such but is more often used for preparing sweets. Khoa supplies 24% protein, 41% fat, 28% carbohydrate and 580 Kcal per 100g.


Milk is boiled to kill the bacteria and provides a sterile culture medium for the starter organism which are added. After the boiled milk cools to about 370C, the starter (residual cure from a previous preparation, rich in lactic acid organism) is added. These organisms ferment lactose to lactic acid. Curd is eaten as such or with salt and sugar according to taste.

Dairy products, including cheese, ice cream, butter, contribute significant amounts of cholesterol and saturated fat. Diets high in fat, especially in saturated fat, can increase the risk of heart disease and can cause serious health problems. A low-fat plant-based diet that eliminates dairy products, in combination with exercise, smoking cessation and stress management can prevent heart disease.

Milk is not for everyone!

Although milk may be a good choice for some, others can’t digest it or choose not to consume it. Many people can’t tolerate milk because they’re unable to digest lactose, a sugar found in milk and dairy products. Interestingly, lactose intolerance affects around 65% of the world’s population. Others choose not to consume milk or dairy products due to dietary restrictions, health concerns or ethical reasons. This has led to a wide variety of nondairy milk alternatives, including:

  • Almond milk: Made from almonds, this plant-based alternative is lower in calories and fat than cow’s milk.
  • Coconut milk: This tropical drink made from coconut flesh and water has a creamy texture and mild flavor.
  • Cashew milk: Cashews and water combine to make this subtly sweet and rich substitute.
  • Soy milk: Contains a similar amount of protein as cow’s milk and has a mild flavor.
  • Hemp milk: This alternative is made from hemp seeds and provides a good amount of high quality, plant-based protein.
  • Oat milk: This substitute is very mild in flavor with a thicker consistency, making it a great addition to coffee.
  • Rice milk: A great option for those with sensitivities or allergies, as it’s the least allergenic of all nondairy milks.

When choosing a nondairy milk substitute, keep in mind that many of these products contain added ingredients like sweeteners, artificial flavors, preservatives and thickeners. Choosing a product with limited ingredients is a good choice when comparing brands. Read the labels to determine which best suits your needs. If possible, stick to unsweetened varieties to limit the amount of added sugar in your diet.

The bottom line:

Milk is a nutrient-rich beverage that may benefit your health in several ways. It’s packed with important nutrients like calcium, phosphorus, B vitamins, potassium and vitamin D. Plus, it’s an excellent source of protein. Drinking milk and dairy products may prevent osteoporosis and bone fractures and even help you maintain a healthy weight. Many people are unable to digest milk or choose to avoid it for personal reasons. For those able to tolerate it, consuming high-quality milk and dairy products has been proven to provide a number of health benefits.

Hemanta Routh,
Senior Dietician.