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Facts About Dairy:

Facts About Milk

Facts About Milk

A standard 8-oz. serving of milk provides good to excellent sources of nine essential nutrients, making it one of the most nutrient-dense foods. This means it provides a high level of essential nutrients compared to its calories. In fact, each serving of milk provides 10% or more of the recommended daily intake for calcium, Vitamin D (if fortified), protein, potassium, Vitamin A, Vitamin B12, riboflavin and phosphorus.

Milk is well known as an excellent source of calcium. Regardless of its fat content, milk provides about 300 milligrams of calcium per serving (8 fluid ounces). The chart below provides information on the calcium content of fluid milk products per serving. A diet that includes three servings of milk (or other comparable dairy foods) each day provides enough calcium and other nutrients that may help reduce the risk of osteoporosis, high blood pressure and colon cancer.

It is difficult to obtain enough calcium without consuming milk (or other dairy foods). To help meet calcium requirements, the following number of servings of milk (or its equivalent) is recommended each day:

Children 4 to 8: 3 servings
Children 9 to 18: 4 servings
Adults 19 to 50: 3 servings
Adults 50-plus: 4 servings


Milk by the numbers


1 cup milk











2% Reduced fat




1% Low fat








Chocolate, Whole




Chocolate, 2% Reduced fat




Chocolate, 1% Low fat





A nutrient-by-nutrient look at milk

Calcium: 30% Daily Value
An 8-oz serving of milk provides 30% of the Daily Value of calcium. Calcium helps build and maintain strong bones and teeth. This mineral also plays an important role in nerve function, muscle contraction and blood clotting.

Vitamin D: 25% Daily Value
When fortified, a glass of milk provides about 25% of the Daily Value for Vitamin D. Vitamin D helps promote the absorption of calcium and enhances bone mineralization. Milk is one of the few dietary sources of this important nutrient.

Protein: 16% Daily Value
The protein in milk is high quality, which means it contains all of the essential amino acids in the proportions that the body requires for good health. Protein builds and repairs muscle tissue and serves as a source of energy during high-powered endurance exercise. An 8-oz glass of milk provides about 16% of the Daily Value for protein.

Potassium: 11% Daily Value
Potassium regulates the body’s fluid balance and helps maintain normal blood pressure. It’s also needed for muscle activity and contraction.

Vitamin A: 6%-10% Daily Value
A glass of 2%, 1% or fat-free milk provides 10% of the Daily Value of Vitamin A; a glass of whole milk provides 6%. This nutrient helps maintain normal vision and skin. It also helps regulate cell growth and maintains the integrity of the immune system.

Vitamin B12: 13% Daily Value
Vitamin B12 helps build red blood cells that carry oxygen from the lungs to working muscles. Just one 8-oz glass of milk provides about 13% of the Daily Value for this Vitamin.

Riboflavin: 24% Daily Value
Milk is an excellent source of riboflavin, providing 24% of the Daily Value. Riboflavin, also known as Vitamin B2, helps convert food into energy—a process crucial for exercising muscles.

Niacin: 10% Dietary Reference Intake(or Niacin equivalent)
Niacin is important for the normal function of many enzymes in the body, and is involved in the metabolism of sugars and fatty acids. A glass of milk provides 10% of the Dietary Reference Intake for niacin.

Phosphorus: 20% Daily Value
Phosphorus helps strengthen bones and generates energy in the body’s cells. Milk is an excellent source of phosphorus, providing 20% of the Daily Value.

Varieties of fluid milk
Milk has long been a popular beverage, not only for its flavor, but because of its unique nutrient package.

Whole milk(3.25% fat) contains about 150 calories and about 8 grams of fat per serving (8 ounces). Although not required, whole milk may be fortified with Vitamin D at a level of 400 International Units (IU) per quart. If Vitamin D is added, the label must state this fact.

2% reduced-fat milk (2% fat) contains about 120 calories and about 5 grams of fat per serving (8 ounces). Vitamin A is removed with the milk fat. For this reason, Vitamin A must be added to 2% reduced-fat milk so that it contains at least 1,200 IU of Vitamin A per quart, although 2,000 IU are typically added based on FDA recommendations. Vitamin D is added to virtually all milk at a level of 400 IU of Vitamin D per quart. The addition of these Vitamins must be stated on the label.

1% low fat milk(also called light milk) (1% fat) contains 100 calories and 2.5 grams of fat per serving (8 ounces). Vitamin A is removed with the milk fat. For this reason, Vitamin A must be added to 1% lowfat milk so that it contains at least 1,200 IU of Vitamin A per quart, although 2,000 IU are typically added based on FDA recommendations. Vitamin D is added to virtually all milk at a level of 400 IU of Vitamin D per quart. The addition of these Vitamins must be stated on the label.

Fat-free milk(also called skim or nonfat milk) (0% fat) contains 80 calories and 0 grams of fat per serving (8 ounces). Vitamin A is removed with the milk fat. For this reason, Vitamin A must be added to fat-free milk so that it contains at least 1,200 IU of Vitamin A per quart, although 2,000 IU are typically added based on FDA recommendations. Vitamin D is added to virtually all milk at a level of 400 IU of Vitamin D per quart. The addition of these Vitamins must be stated on the label.

Skim deluxe or skim supreme milk looks like and has the mouthfeel of 2% reduced-fat milk as a result of the addition of a small amount of dietary fiber to the milk. This milk is an option to provide the look and mouthfeel of 2% low Fat or whole milk without the extra calories and fat.

Acidophilus/Bifidobacteria milk is a low Fat or nonfat milk to which acidophilus and bifidobacteria cultures have been added. There is some evidence that these cultures have unique health benefits, such as improving lactose digestion, lowering blood pressure and promoting a better balance of bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract.

Chocolate milk(fat-free, 1% low Fat, 2% reduced-fat, whole milk) is milk to which chocolate or cocoa and a sweetener have been added. This milk is just as nutritious as its unflavored counterpart. Compared to plain milk, chocolate milk contains about 60 more calories per serving (8 ounces).

Evaporated milk (6.5% fat) is made by removing about 60% of the water from whole milk. The milk is then homogenized, fortified with Vitamin D to a level of 25 IU per 1 ounce, canned and heat sterilized. The addition of Vitamin A is optional. If added, each fluid ounce must contain not less than 125 IU of Vitamin A.

Evaporated fat-free milk(0.5% fat or less) is a concentrated, fat-free (skim or nonfat) milk that has been fortified with Vitamins A and D, canned and sterilized.

Sweetened condensed milk(8% fat or less) is a canned milk concentrate of whole milk to which sugar has been added. The sweetener used (usually sucrose) prevents spoilage. Sweetened condensed fat-free milk contains no more than 0.5% milk fat.

Facts About Butter

Facts About Butter  

Butter is a concentrated source of milk fat (80%) with some water and nonfat milk solids. It is made from milk, cream or both of these ingredients. Common salt may or may not be added.


Traditional butter (80% milk fat) is made from pasteurized cream under approved conditions. The U.S. government grades butter on the basis of its flavor, body, color and salt content. The grades range from superior quality USDA Grade AA to standard quality Grade B. Most butter sold is USDA Grade AA. Grade B butter is used mainly for manufacturing purposes.

Salted butter contains 1.6-1.7% salt. This product is also sometimes called lightly salted butter. Salted butter can be stored refrigerated for up to 2 months. In the freezer, salted butter can be stored for 6-9 months.

Unsalted butter contains no added salt and is used in formulas where less salt is desired because of flavor or nutrition parameters. Unsalted butter can be stored for up to 2 weeks refrigerated and frozen for up to 5 months.

Whipped butter is regularly 80% salted or unsalted butter that has air or nitrogen gas whipped into it, resulting in a product with greater volume, reduced density and improved spreadability at colder temperatures.

Light butter typically contains skim milk, water and/or gelatin and is 40% (or less) milk fat. FDA regulations specify the ingredients and quantities that are acceptable in a light butter formulation. The regulation states that the product must not be nutritionally inferior to traditional butter and performance characteristics should be similar. Although light butter makes a fine spread or dressing, it should not be substituted for regular butter in baking or frying due to its high moisture content.

Cultured butter is made from pasteurized cream that has been inoculated with specific active lactic acid cultures, similar to those used in sour cream and buttermilk production. The reduction in pH and development of flavors produces a distinctive, pleasingly tangy flavored butter. Often times, cultured butter contains 82% milk fat and is used as a bakery fat. Cultured butter is common in Europe.

Anhydrous milk fat is made by removal of practically all of the moisture and nonfat solids from pasteurized cream. The 40% milk fat cream is first concentrated to 70-80% milk fat, and then the high-fat cream is processed through a specialized phase inversion unit or separator. The milk fat is further concentrated, with residual moisture removed by vacuum drying. Anhydrous milk fat contains no less than 99.8% milk fat and not more than 0.1% moisture.

Butteroil is made by the removal of practically all of the moisture and nonfat solids from butter. It is produced by gently heating butter, disrupting the butter emulsion. The milk fat is then concentrated in separators and vacuum dried to remove residual moisture. Sometimes butteroil is washed with water prior to the final drying stage to remove trace impurities. Butteroil contains about 99.5% milk fat and not more than 0.2% moisture.

Butter powder delivers many of the same functional, sensory and texture attributes as butter. It is used in numerous applications where the use of butter is impractical or where the dry form offers some functional advantage to product developers. Manufacturing a butter powder involves adding nonfat milk solids to melted butter, homogenizing the mixture and spray drying. The resulting powder is free-flowing and microbiologically stable. Butter powder has a full strength, sweet cream butter flavor and is cream to light yellow in color. Source: American Butter Institute

Nutritional information
Butter is a source of Vitamin A. Its caloric content is about 100 calories per tablespoon, which compares to other spreads and fat ingredients.

Facts About Cheese

Facts About Cheese

Cheese’s immense popularity stems from its taste, versatility, many varieties and nutritional package.

Cheese, a concentrated dairy food made from milk, is defined as the fresh or matured product obtained by draining the whey (moisture or serum of original milk) after coagulation of casein, the major milk protein. Casein is coagulated by acid, which is produced through the addition of select microorganisms and/or by coagulating enzymes, resulting in curd formation. Milk may also be acidified by adding food-grade acidulants, which is the process often used in the manufacture of fresh cheese.

Cheese can be made from whole, 2% low Fat, 1% low Fat or fat-free milk, or combinations of these milks. About one-third of all milk produced each year in the United States is used to make cheese. In 2003, a total 8.5 billion pounds of cheese was produced in the United States.

Different ingredients and processes employed during the making and aging of cheese result in a wide variety of available cheeses, each with its own distinct texture and flavor profile. There are more than 200 varieties of cheese produced in the United States; more than 1,400 varieties are catalogued in the World Cheese Exchange Database

Cheese Fact Sheet

Cheeses are categorized in several ways: natural versus process cheeses, unripened versus ripened and soft versus hard.

Natural cheeses
Natural cheese is a general classification for cheese that is made directly from milk. In fresh, unripened cheese, the curd, separated from the whey, can be formed into cheese immediately, whereas in matured or ripened cheese, the curd may be further treated by the addition of select strains of bacteria, mold, yeast or a combination of these ripening agents. The bacteria, mold and yeast continue to ripen the cheese over time, changing the cheese’s flavor and texture as it ages.

When choosing natural cheese as an ingredient, it’s important to understand how a cheese will perform in a finished product based on its age and storage conditions.

Natural cheeses are often categorized according to their moisture or degree of softness or hardness. Soft cheeses include Brie, Camembert, Ricotta and Cottage cheese. Semisoft cheeses include Blue, Brick, Feta, Havarti, Monterey Jack, Mozzarella, Muenster and Provolone. Hard cheeses include Cheddar, Colby, Edam, Gouda and Swiss. Very hard cheese varieties include Parmesan and Romano.

Process cheeses
These cheeses are made by blending one or more natural cheeses into a homogenous mass, heating the mix and adding emulsifying salts, which modify the appearance, texture and flavor of the cheese. Process cheeses contain more moisture than natural cheeses. Pasteurized process cheeses include American cheese, cheese spreads and cheese foods. Cold-pack cheese is a blend of natural cheeses processed without heat. Flavoring and seasonings are often added.

Cheese powders
Cheese powders, or dehydrated cheeses, are prepared using a single cheese variety or a blend of various cheeses. Products may be all cheese or a blend of cheese with other dairy ingredients (for example, whey, nonfat dry milk, etc.), food ingredients and/or color. Some typical applications for cheese powders include prepared dry mixes, sauces and snack foods.

Enzyme-modified cheese
These cheeses are special flavor ingredients that blend lipases (natural food-grade enzymes) together with natural cheese to intensify the effect of cheese flavor development. Available in paste or powder form, applications include flavor enhancement of pasteurized process cheese and cheese sauce, salad dressing and snack foods.

Cheese analogs
Analogs, or cheese substitutes, are cheese-like products made with nondairy ingredients such as corn oil. These nondairy products have less flavor and poor melting performance.

Nutritional information
Cheese is basically a concentrated source of the many nutrients found in the milk from which it was made. Milk itself is regarded as a nearly complete food. It is extremely difficult to present average nutrient values for cheese as a whole due to the differences in manufacturing processes and standards of identity. Even within one variety of cheese, variations in the type of milk, processing, season and locality can lead to marked fluctuations in nutritional composition.

Considering that it takes about 10 pounds (5 quarts) of milk to make 1 pound of whole milk cheese, cheese is a nutrient-dense food. Cheese provides calories; high-quality protein; Vitamins; and minerals, such as calcium, phosphorus and zinc. The chart below gives the nutritional profile of some popular cheeses in common servings.

Cheese by the numbers



Serving size







American, pasteurized process, 1 oz.




Cheddar, 1 oz.




Cottage, 1/2 cup




Cream cheese, 1 oz.




Mozzarella, part-skim (low moisture), 1 oz.





The fat content of cheese varies by type. For healthy people, cheese can be a part of the everyday diet when consumed in moderation, like any other food. Fat is necessary in the human diet to transport fat-soluble Vitamins A, D, E and K into the body. Many cheeses are an excellent source of calcium and a good source of protein and phosphorus while being low in trans fatty acids.

For individuals wishing to lower their calorie or fat intake, a variety of low Fat cheeses are also available.

These include:

Low fat cheese: 3 grams or less of fat per reference amount (1 ounce for most cheeses, 4 ounces for cottage cheese).

Reduced-fat cheese: 25% less fat per reference amount than its full fat counterpart.

Fat-free cheese: less than 0.5 grams of fat per reference amount.

Recent research indicates that cheese, like all fat-containing dairy foods, is a significant source of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), the conjugated dienoic fatty acid isomer of the essential fatty acid linoleic acid. CLA is highly concentrated in the fat of ruminant animals, such as cows. The enzymes in a cow’s digestive tract and mammary tissue convert linoleic and linolenic acid from the diet to CLA; CLA is passed on to consumers when they consume dairy products such as cheese.

Numerous studies over the past 25 years in several carcinogenic animal models have demonstrated that dietary CLA inhibits a variety of cancers including skin tumor initiation, forsetomach neoplasis as well as mammary and colon tumorigenesis. Indeed, a National Academy of Sciences report has pointed out that “CLA is the only fatty acid shown unequivocally to inhibit carcinogenesis in experimental animals.”

Other research has discovered that CLA reduces the development and regression of atherosclerosis in experimental animals and may offer cardio-protective benefits. Research suggests that CLA may act to channel energy away from adipose tissue and towards oxidation in skeletal muscle.

Many cheese are also an excellent source of calcium. The calcium content is largely influenced by the acidity at coagulation and during expulsion of whey from the curd. In ripened, whole-milk cheese made with a coagulating enzyme (for example, Swiss, Cheddar and Brick), the calcium and phosphorus of milk largely remain in the curd. Cheese coagulated by lactic acid alone (as in Cottage and Ricotta) retains less calcium and phosphorus because the calcium salts are removed from the casein as casein is precipitated at its isoelectric point. For example, Cheddar cheese contains 721 milligrams calcium per 100 grams, whereas dry Curd Cottage cheese contains only 32 mg. Regular Cottage cheese contains more calcium (60 mg/100 g), indicating that the creaming mixture or other additives contribute calcium to the product.

With the emphasis placed on calcium and its role in the prevention of osteoporosis, cheese is an excellent way to boost the calcium content of prepared foods. The addition of cheese may enable a calcium content claim, providing the food meets the guidelines for content claims as defined by the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act (NELA). Generally, cheeses that are high in calcium contain other minerals such as phosphorus in appreciable amounts. Manufacturing procedures can affect the content of several minerals. For example, if a high acidity is developed during the manufacture of a specific variety of cheese, calcium and magnesium salts become more soluble and hence are removed with the whey. Similarly, frequent washings tend to lower the mineral content of the curd.

The sodium content of cheese is variable due to addition of sodium chloride (salt) as an optional ingredient during manufacture.

Cheese is also defined as a source of high-quality protein. This means that cheese contains the essential amino acids in amounts proportional to the body’s need for them. When proteins are consumed, they assist with building and repairing body tissue; form antibodies, hormones and enzymes; and provide energy.

Cavity fighter
Consuming certain cheeses—including aged Cheddar, Swiss, Blue, Monterey Jack, Brie, Gouda and processed American cheese—immediately after meals or as a between-meal snack has been shown to help prevent tooth decay. Calcium, phosphorus and other components in cheese may contribute to this beneficial effect.

Facts About Yogurt

Facts About Yogurt

Yogurt and other cultured dairy products are made by adding specific cultures to fluid dairy products in order to convert some lactose (milk sugar) into lactic acid. The aroma, body and flavor of these products can vary, depending on the type of culture and milk, amount of milk fat and nonfat milk solids, fermentation process and temperature used.

Yogurt is a mixture of milk (whole, reduced fat, low fat or nonfat) and cream fermented by a culture of lactic acid-producing bacteria, Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus. Other bacteria (e.g., acidophilus) and other strains of the above bacteria may be added to the culture. Sweeteners (e.g., sugar, honey, aspartame), flavorings (e.g., vanilla, coffee) and other ingredients (e.g., fruits, preserves, stabilizers such as gelatin) may also be added. Yogurt contains at least 3.25% milk fat and 8.25% nonfat solids. The mixture of dairy products and optional ingredients, except bulky flavorings, must be pasteurized or ultrapasteurized. The milk in most yogurts is also homogenized.


Low fat yogurt is similar in composition to yogurt except that it contains either 0.5%, 1%, 1.5% or 2% milk fat.

Nonfat yogurt is similar in composition to yogurt and low fat yogurt except that it contains less than 0.5% milk ƒfat.

Yogurt beverages, which may be a combination of yogurt and milk or may be created from different acid-producing bacteria than yogurt, also may also be characterized by fat content.

Other cultured dairy foods
Buttermilk is made by adding lactic acid-producing bacteria, usually Streptococcus lactis, to pasteurized or ultrapasteurized milk (whole, reduced-fat, low fat, nonfat) with nonfat dry milk solids under controlled conditions. The product is heated until the desired acidity is achieved, then cooled to stop fermentation. Buttermilk flakes or liquid butter may be added to give cold milk the appearance of churned buttermilk. Salt, citric acid or sodium citrate may be added to enhance flavor. Today, depending on the level of milk fat in the product, buttermilk may be called cultured buttermilk, cultured low fat buttermilk or cultured skim (nonfat) buttermilk. Originally, buttermilk was the low fat liquid remaining after churning cream into butter.

Acidophilus milk is typically a low fat or nonfat milk to which active cultures of Lactobacillus acidophilus have been added. The mixture is heated until a curd forms and the desired acidity is reached. The milk is then refrigerated. Adding Lactobacillus acidophilus cultures to cold, low fat or nonfat milk and then refrigerating the product to prevent further growth of the harmless bacteria produces sweet acidophilus milk. Unlike fermented acidophilus milk, which has a slightly tart taste, this product has a sweet taste.

Nutritional information
The nutritional and caloric contents of yogurt, buttermilk and acidophilus milk are similar to those of the fluid milks from which they are made. Each is an important source of calcium, riboflavin (B2) and protein.

Yogurt by the numbers


1 cup (8 oz.)











Whole milk, plain




Low fat, plain




Low fat, vanilla




Low fat, fruit




Nonfat, plain








Low fat




What Exactly Are Curds and Whey?

What Exactly Are Curds and Whey?

In the process of making cheese, milk is acidified to a point where the casein precipitates. This process, called coagulation, produces curds (which eventually become cheese) and whey (the liquid portion that contains water, lactose and serum proteins). The relative proportions of milk that end up as whey and cheese are summarized below:





















Facts About Whey

Facts About Whey

Whey is a collective term referring to the serum or liquid part of milk that remains after the manufacture of cheese. Whey can be transformed into a dry product by different techniques. The quality of the product varies with the technology applied.

Dry whey is a white to cream-colored product with a clean, neutral dairy flavor. It is manufactured by removing a substantial portion of water from fresh sweet or fresh acid whey. The whey is pasteurized and no preservatives are added. Except for moisture, all the constituents of fluid whey are retained in the same relative proportion in dry whey.

In the United States, two major types of whey are available as whey protein sources:

Acid whey, with a pH of <5.1, is produced from cottage cheese manufacture.
Sweet whey, with a pH of >5.6, results from rennet-coagulated cheese manufacture.

Although the composition of each whey type is somewhat different and variable, both sweet and acid whey contain about 0.7% to 0.8% protein on a liquid basis, with whey proteins only representing about 10% to 12% of the total solids of whey.




Sweet Whey

Acid Whey




Crude protein



True protein











Whey protein concentrate (WPC) is a white to light-cream-colored product with a clean neutral flavor. It is manufactured by drying the material resulting from the removal of sufficient nonprotein constituents from pasteurized whey so that the finished dry product contains 25% or more protein. The nonprotein constituents are removed by physical separation techniques such as precipitation, filtration or dialysis. Safe and suitable pH-adjusting ingredients may be used to adjust the acidity of WPC.

Whey protein isolate (WPI) is a white to cream-colored product with a clean neutral flavor. WPI is manufactured by drying pasteurized liquid whey and removing nonprotein constituents by a variety of separation techniques that include precipitation, filtration and dialysis. The resulting dry product contains 90% or more protein. Safe and suitable pH-adjusting ingredients may be used to adjust to adjust the acidity of WPI.

Nutritional information
The composition of whey varies considerably, depending on the milk source and the manufacturing process involved. But in general, whey is rich in lactose, minerals, Vitamins and “whey proteins.”

Typical Composition of Whey Protein Concentrates








34% WPC






80% WPC







Lactose, a disaccharide composed of glucose and galactose, is the only significant carbohydrate present in whey. Research suggests that lactose promotes the growth of beneficial lactic acid-producing bacteria that compete with undesirable putrefactive bacteria.

Major mineral components present in whey proteins include the monovalent sodium, potassium and chloride ions as well as the more reactive calcium, magnesium and phosphate ions. Lipids present in whey in small quantities include the glycerides typical of milk fat and the phospholipids and lipoproteins that are responsible for the fat globule membrane in milk.

Both sweet and acid whey contain about 0.7% to 0.8% protein on a liquid basis, with whey proteins only representing about 10% to 12% of the total solids of whey. Acid whey contains a higher concentration of minerals than sweet whey due to the dissolution of the colloidal calcium phosphate component of casein micelles during acidification and/or culturing of milk with lactic acid bacteria.

A complete protein is defined as a protein that contains all the essential amino acids in proportions resembling established human amino acid requirements. It is also highly digestible, so that a high proportion of the amino acids reach the body’s cells to permit their incorporation into protein.

Besides contributing to the overall amino acid profile, whey proteins supply additional nutritional benefits when used as a food ingredient. For example, alpha-lactalbumin, the second most abundant whey protein, has a high content of the amino acid tryptophan, a precursor of the Vitamin niacin. Thus, because of its tryptophan content, it’s an excellent source of niacin equivalents. One niacin equivalent is defined as 1 milligram of niacin or 60 milligrams of tryptophan. Niacin functions as part of a coenzyme essential for metabolism including fat synthesis, tissue respiration and utilization of carbohydrate. This Vitamin promotes healthy skin, nerves and digestive tract, aids in digestion and fosters a normal appetite.

Sometimes whey proteins are used in calf milk replacers, infant formulas, nutritional beverages, formulated dairy products and comminuted meat products. In many cases, the whey solids contribute little to the functionality of the product, offering only a comparatively low-cost source of protein, carbohydrate and calcium.

Facts About Milk Protein Concentrate

Facts About Milk Protein Concentrate

Milk protein concentrate (MPC) is produced from skim milk by a series of processes that includes ultrafiltration, evaporation and drying. MPC contains undenatured forms of both casein and whey protein. The level of protein, lactose and minerals present varies depending on the degree of protein concentration. Ultrafiltration determines the composition of the MPC while evaporation and drying are used to remove only water. The product also is pasteurized to eliminate potential pathogens in raw milk.

Ultrafiltration is a process that separates milk components according to their molecular size. During this process, milk passes across a membrane. Some of the lactose, minerals and water will cross through the membrane and become the permeate stream. Casein and whey proteins, because of their larger molecular size, will not be able to pass through the membrane. The proteins, along with the lactose and minerals that did not go into the permeate stream, will become the retentate stream. A diafiltration, or washing step, is required to get protein concentration greater than 65% in the final dried product. Diafiltration involves adding water to the retentate as it is being ultrafiltered to reduce product viscosity and further remove lactose and minerals.

Following UF, the retentate may be evaporated to increase the total solids in the processing stream, which helps in the drying process. The retentate then is spray-dried.

Currently, there is no standard of identity for MPC in the United States. Although ultrafiltration is the preferred method for extracting MPC, it also can be produced by precipitating the proteins out of milk or by dry-blending the milk proteins with other milk components. Depending on how MPC is produced, costs may vary and, more important, functionality may differ.

Commercially, MPCs are available in a range of protein levels, from 42% to 85%. Typical MPCs offered are MPC42, MPC70, MPC75, MPC80 and MPC85. As the protein content of MPCs increases, the lactose levels decrease. For example, MPC42 is 42% protein and 46% lactose. MPC80 contains 80% protein and 4.1% lactose. For comparison, skim milk powder contains about 35% protein and 52% lactose.

MPCs are white to light-cream-colored dry powders. They are best used within one year of receipt. Recommended storage is below 77°F and 65% relative humidity in a cool, odor-free, dry environment. If the product has been opened and resealed, it should be used within one month of opening.

Typical Composition of Milk Protein Concentrate (%)  







































Nutritional information
MPC is used for its nutritional and functional properties. It is high in protein content (casein and whey protein) and contributes about 360 Kcal/100 g. Higher protein-containing MPCs can be low in carbohydrate content, containing minimal amounts of lactose. This high-protein, low-lactose ratio makes MPC an excellent ingredient for protein-fortified beverages and foods and low-carbohydrate foods. MPCs also retain a fair portion of calcium because it is bound to the casein.

Dairy's Role in Weight Management

Dairy's Role in Weight Management

A growing body of scientific research shows a connection between dairy food consumption and improved body weight and/or composition. Some of these studies indicate that enjoying three servings of milk, cheese or yogurt each day—as part of a reduced-calorie weight loss plan—can help people lose more weight by burning more fat than just by cutting calories alone.

The current body of research includes randomized clinical trials (considered the “gold standard” of science), observational, animal and cellular studies conducted by leading research institutions throughout the country. This intriguing connection is being studied worldwide—with positive results reported in Denmark, Greece, Italy and other countries.

The evidence indicates that the mix of nutrients found in dairy foods, especially calcium and protein, may be responsible for helping the body break down and burn fat. Additional research is under way to further understand the dairy-weight management connection. In the meantime, experts suggest this emerging role for dairy foods is another good reason for people to meet current dietary recommendations of three servings a day of low fat or fat free milk, yogurt or cheese.

Randomized clinical trials

Randomized clinical trials have found a significant relationship between calcium/dairy product intake and reduced body weight and/or fat in overweight and obese adults. The studies report that dairy foods exert a significantly greater effect on body weight, fat and inches around the waist compared with calcium supplements or a low-dairy diet.

In a 24-week study of 32 obese adults, those who consumed three servings of milk, yogurt or cheese a day while on a balanced, reduced-calorie diet (500 calorie deficit), lost significantly more weight and fat than those who consumed similar amounts of calcium through supplements or consumed little or no dairy. Participants on the high-dairy diet (1,200-1,300 mg calcium) lost 70% more body weight and 64% more body fat than those on the low-dairy diet.

In a 12-week multicenter trial of 68 overweight and obese adults consuming a reduced-calorie diet, the participants who consumed three servings of dairy a day lost more body fat compared with those who ate an equal amount of calcium through supplements or a low-dairy diet. All participants ate a reduced-calorie diet, but people on the high-dairy diet lost nearly twice as much body fat, more trunk fat and more inches around the waist compared with the other groups.

A 12-week study of 34 obese adults on a reduced-calorie diet found that those who consumed a calcium-rich diet supplied by three servings of yogurt a day lost 22% more weight, 66% more body fat and 81% more trunk fat compared with those who simply reduced calories and consumed little or no dairy. The participants who ate three servings of yogurt also lost significantly more inches around the waist compared with those on the low-dairy diet.

A 24-week study of 34 obese African-American adults found that those who consumed three servings of milk, yogurt, or cheese per day on a weight-maintenance study (consumption of adequate calories to maintain weight) experienced a greater loss of total body fat and trunk fat and an increase in lean body mass compared with participants who consumed less than one serving of milk, yogurt, or cheese per day. The high-dairy group also experienced a decrease in insulin and systolic blood pressure compared with the low-dairy group.

Observational studies

Epidemiological or observational studies do not confirm a cause-and-effect relationship, but they are valuable in identifying associations and guiding researchers to investigate a connection further. Multiple observational studies show that people who consume more calcium and dairy foods weigh less or have less body fat than those who consume little or no dairy. Researchers speculate that a low calcium diet may be a risk factor for obesity. One expert suggested that correcting the country’s calcium deficit may reduce the incidence of overweight and obesity by 60% to 80%.

Results from the CARDIA study indicate that increased dairy consumption may protect overweight individuals from becoming obese or developing insulin resistance syndrome (also known as metabolic syndrome), which is associated with increased abdominal fat. Obesity and insulin resistance syndrome are major risk factors for type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. This 10-year prospective study examined the dietary habits of more than 3,000 adults ages 18 to 30 years. Increased dairy consumption was equally beneficial to African Americans and Caucasians, and both reduced-fat and full-fat dairy products were effective.

In this re-evaluation of five clinical studies originally designed to measure bone health, researchers found that a higher intake of calcium (primarily from dairy foods) was associated with a lower BMI and body weight. Results from this study indicate that women weighed an average of 18 pounds less for every 1,000 mg of calcium consumed.

Data from more than 550 women were re-evaluated to assess the effects of calcium on weight gain. While calcium is only one factor that potentially affects obesity, findings from this reanalysis indicate that increasing calcium intakes to recommended levels may reduce the incidence of overweight and obesity by 60% to 80% in a population. This estimate and conclusion are based on data projection.

Using data from adults in the Quebec Family Study, researchers found that a higher calcium intake was significantly associated with lower body weight and fat in women and found a similar trend in men. Women in the study who consumed inadequate amounts of calcium were more likely to be overweight. After controlling for other variables, women consuming less than 600 mg of calcium a day had greater body weight, BMI, percentage body fat, fat mass, waist circumference and abdominal tissue compared with those consuming 600 mg of calcium or more. Dairy foods provided about 60% of the calcium in the study subjects’ diets.

Researchers at the University of Colorado measured the amount of body fat burned over a 24-hour period in adults using a metabolic chamber. In their retrospective analysis of 35 nonobese healthy adults, a higher dietary calcium intake while in the metabolic chamber was associated with burning significantly more body fat, even during sleep.

In young adult women (ages 18 to 31 years) enrolled in a two-year exercise program, calcium from dairy foods was associated with lower body weight and body fat in women consuming fewer than 1,900 calories per day. The researchers concluded that the effect of calcium was specific to dairy calcium because total calcium and dairy, when adjusted for calories, predicted changes on body weight and body fat, whereas nondairy calcium did not.

A study that used data from the Quebec Family Study investigated weight/fat changes in relation to how participants ate from various food groups. Only participants who ate more from the dairy group and from the fruit group (but not in combination) gained less weight over time.

Data from more than 800 adults enrolled in the HERITAGE Family Study was evaluated and found that high daily calcium intake (including from dairy foods) is associated with lower weight.

In a cross-sectional study of 582 men and women, people who consumed more calcium had a lower percent of body fat and trunk fat than individuals who consumed less calcium.

Researchers found that a diet rich in reduced-fat dairy products and high-fiber foods may lead to smaller gains in body mass index in women and smaller gains in waist circumference in both women and men.

A study originally designed to look at blood pressure found that when individuals consumed a diet high in dairy foods, fruits and vegetables they had a significantly higher resting metabolic rate and utilized more fat for energy than when they consumed a diet high in only fruits and vegetables. This suggests a positive role of dairy foods in weight maintenance.

A cross-sectional study from Iran found that people who ate more dairy foods including milk, yogurt and cheese were less likely to be overweight or obese than those who consumed fewer dairy foods.

A study involving 175 premenopausal and 70 postmenopausal women indicates that calcium intake is associated with the maintenance of normal body weight, the prevention of visceral fat gain (the fat that surrounds internal organs) and insulin sensitivity.

A study of overweight, previously sedentary adults showed that weight and fat loss, resulting from a nine-month exercise intervention program without dietary restriction, was improved in men by increased calcium consumption.

In a study involving 103 women and the effect of calorie and calcium intake on weight regain after weight loss, researchers found that high dietary calcium intake led to less weight regain during a year follow-up.

Men and women in Israel with the highest calcium and milk intakes were the most likely to have a body mass index in the normal range. Women with the highest calcium intakes had the smallest waist circumference.

A report from the Czech Republic found that adults on a reduced-calorie diet lost more weight when their diet included more calcium and more protein.

Consuming a diet high in fruit, vegetables, reduced-fat dairy and whole grains, and low in red and processed meat, fast food and soda, was associated with smaller gains in body mass and waist circumference.

Consuming a reduced-calorie diet with a higher protein to carbohydrate ratio, e.g. diets that include dairy foods, meats, eggs and nuts, resulted in adult women losing more fat and retaining more muscle during weight loss compared with diets with a higher carbohydrate to protein ratio.

A controlled, clinical trial of young women designed to investigate the effects of calcium on bone health demonstrated that calcium supplementation (1500 mg/day) resulted in less gain in fat mass over a three-year period, compared with a lower-calcium control group.

Researchers analyzing data from NHANES III found that in men and women, increased calcium intake is associated with lower body fat. These data are consistent with animal studies that suggest increased dietary calcium may affect the rate of energy metabolism and reduce the risk of obesity.

Mechanism studies

Researchers have conducted cellular, animal and human studies to better understand the specific mechanism responsible for dairy’s impact on body weight and fat. While the exact mechanism is not fully understood yet, the findings indicate that the effect is at the cellular level—suggesting that dairy foods may assist with fat breakdown. Researchers believe the combination of nutrients in dairy foods aid in the fat-burning process and may prevent cells from storing fat.

Mice allowed free access to diets high in calcium, specifically from dairy foods, had less fat and weight regain after a period of weight loss. An increase in proteins measured in the fat tissue (UCP2) and skeletal muscle (UCP3 and PPAR) indicate an upregulation of fat burning in the animals consuming calcium-rich dairy diets.

Preliminary findings demonstrate that calcium from dairy foods increases the rate of weight loss in mice fed a low fat diet and slows the rate of weight gain in mice fed a high-fat diet.

A review of studies of both human and animal fat cells helped demonstrate that the calcium in these cells plays a key role in regulating fat metabolism and storage. Specifically, increased calcitriol (the active form of Vitamin D) is produced in response to low calcium diets and has been shown to promote the influx of calcium into fat cells, which in turn inhibits fat breakdown and promotes fat storage.

This research review concluded that dietary calcium may play an important role in the regulation of energy metabolism and may result in a reduction of body fat and an acceleration of weight and fat loss during caloric restriction. This review also concluded that dairy sources of calcium demonstrate substantially greater effects than supplemental or fortified sources. Suppression of the active form of Vitamin D with high-calcium diets may reduce calcium in the fat cell, inhibit fat storage and increase fat breakdown.

A study demonstrated that 1α,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 (the active form of Vitamin D) has an inhibitory effect on uncoupling protein 2 (UCP2), a protein found in fat cells that helps the body “burn energy.” The researchers concluded that suppression of 1α,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 via a high-calcium diet may result in up-regulation of UCP2, and therefore may contribute to the anti-obesity.