Since earlier civilizations, milk in its diverse variations has been a part of the human diet. It also has a pretty lengthy, historical background.
Around 10,000 BC, the ‘agriculture revolution’ altered the dynamics of ancient cultures, transforming nomadic tribes into permanent farming groups. The domestication of animals followed this tremendous change. Additionally, the demand for animal by-products such as milk and meat has soared.
Soon afterward, milk and other dairy products became a treasured luxury reserved mainly for kings, the elite, and priests. During that period, the most popular milk sources were cows, sheep, and goats. However, as time passed, various additional varieties of milk were discovered and manufactured.
There are numerous varieties of milk, some of which are extremely popular, while others are less well-known. For individuals unfamiliar with milk variants other than your usual, everyday milk, the following is a list of many milk kinds, each having its distinct qualities and health advantages.
Table of Contents
- Dairy Milk
- Cow Milk
- Goat Milk
- Buffalo Milk
- Skimmed Milk
- Organic Milk
- Low Fat Milk
- Raw Milk
- Reduced-Fat Milk
- Lactose-Free Milk
- Full Cream Milk
- Flavored Milk
- Evaporated Milk
- Sweetened Condensed Milk
- Soy Milk
- Almond Milk
- Rice Milk
- Coconut Milk
- Cashew Milk
- Oat Milk
- Quinoa Milk
- Hemp Milk
- Toned Milk
- Ultrafiltered Milk
- Is organic milk better than regular milk?
- How are whole, reduced-fat, low-fat and fat-free milk different?
- What is lactose-free milk?
- What is ultra-filtered milk?
- What is ultra-pasteurized milk?
- What can I substitute for buttermilk?
- What do expiration dates really mean?
- Can I store my milk in the fridge door?
- Is raw milk safe for consumption?
- Are there antibiotics in milk?
- What is the ideal temperature for milk storage?
- Are there pesticides in milk?
- Does milk contain GMOs?
Dairy milk has approximately 3.5 percent fat. The fat percentage is generally between 3.25 and 3.5 percent. It is known as ‘whole milk’ because it is relatively purer than most other varieties of milk and has a higher fat content.
Whole milk is exceptionally thick, creamy, and rich. It matches exceptionally well with a dish of oats for breakfast. According to the California Dairy Council, whole milk is milk “as it comes from the cow before processing.” Although pasteurised and possibly homogenised, whole milk has the same fat-to-milk ratio as raw milk.
In terms of calories, an 8-ounce glass of whole milk contains approximately 150 calories and around 8 grams of fat. Additionally, it provides up to 8 grams of protein per cup and contains lactose, a naturally occurring sugar. Individuals can further customize their milk selections based on fat and calorie levels.
However, individuals with a dairy allergy or lactose intolerance should avoid this product. Whole milk may not be the ideal choice if you’re managing your calorie and saturated fat intake.
Cow milk is one of the most popular forms of milk produced by cows’ mammary glands. It is the primary form of animal milk drank by most people in various regions of the world. The primary reason for its appeal is its astounding nutritional profile and a plethora of health advantages.
Cow milk is extremely protein-dense, containing all of the essential amino acids required by the body to synthesize proteins. It is high in vitamin B12, necessary for normal brain function and a strong nervous system. Due to the high calcium content of cow milk, it is perfect for maintaining healthy bones, muscles, and teeth.
On the negative, it is heavy in saturated fat and lactose, making it unsuitable for lactose-intolerant individuals.
Many people have difficulty digesting cow milk, which is high in lactose and contains many allergies. Goat milk, which goats produce, is a wonderful source of nutrients for such individuals.
Goat milk is nutrient-dense, vitamin- and mineral-dense, and high in medium-chain fatty acids. It is easily digestible, gentle on the digestive system, and also less inflammatory than cow milk.
One of the most significant benefits of goat milk is that its fatty acids help lower cholesterol levels and help treat illnesses such as coronary heart disease.
Due to its extraordinarily high-fat level and calorie content, buffalo milk is arguably the least popular variety or type of milk. It does, however, contain a significant amount of health advantages and critical nutrients that assist the body in a variety of ways.
This milk comes from the mammary gland and is also an essential component of a healthy diet in many parts of the world, including India and other Asian countries. Among its numerous benefits are lowered blood pressure, robust bones, enhanced circulation throughout the body, and increased heart protection against potential harmful illnesses and ailments.
Buffalo milk is high in iron, calcium, phosphorus, protein, and vitamin A, all of which help build the immune system, encourage body growth and development, improve circulation, and help regulate blood pressure.
Skimmed milk, also known as ‘fat-free milk,’ is a popular choice of milk for dieters and health-conscious individuals. The main explanation for this is, of course, that skimmed milk has no fat. Due to the lack of fat, this milk is significantly thinner than other varieties of milk.
As the name implies, this milk undergoes a procedure known as “skimming,” which involves the separation of cream from the milk. The process results in a relatively watery taste, frequently compensated for by adding milk powders or other flavor enhancers. It is, nevertheless, a good alternative for those looking to lose weight and adopt a better diet.
Dairy producers use only organic pesticides and fertilizers on their cows to create organic milk. This milk has three distinct features that set it apart from other varieties of milk. First, it originates from cows who consume 30% of their diet from grass. These cows are not administered antibiotics, growth or reproduction hormones.
The term ‘organic’ refers primarily to transforming milk into organic milk instead of the finished milk product. Because this milk’s nutritional composition is nearly identical to that of conventional milk, there is no discernible difference in the nutrients and health advantages of organic milk, with the only exception being that it may be cruelty-free.
Low Fat Milk
Although sometimes confused with reduced-fat milk; the two are distinct. While the latter has 2% fat, low-fat milk contains only 1% fat. This sort of milk is good for weight watchers due to its low-fat content. Additionally, low-fat milk contains less saturated fat, which helps keep cholesterol levels in check.
Often, low-fat milk contains skim milk powder, which increases its protein and calcium content and makes it creamier.
Centrifugation allows for the creation of low-fat milk. This process naturally removes the creamy fat layer in raw milk. This process of eliminating cream and fat globules results in thinner milk with an opaque white color. People can use this milk in beverages and culinary preparations, including cakes, custards, and pies, as well as numerous low-calorie milkshakes.
Raw milk, most commonly referred to as ‘unpasteurized’ milk. Unpasteurized means that dairy farmers do not heat raw milk to disinfect it for safe consumption. It derives from various animals, including buffalo, sheep, camels, cows, and goats.
Due to not being pasteurized, raw milk may present various health issues, most notably containing hazardous germs, bacteria, and viruses that can be harmful to your health. However, supporters of raw milk believe that it is ‘pure’ milk that contains no unhealthy additions or preservatives and is, in fact, a natural drink that contains all of the amino acids, proteins, minerals, and vitamins in their natural state. Additionally, they assert that the heating procedure eliminates the milk’s primary nutritional function, which makes raw milk nutritious.
The fat level of this milk is 2% of its entire weight. It is not as thick as whole milk and has a pleasant, not overpowering flavor. Reduced-fat milk is a good source of calcium, vitamin D, and other minerals.
Two percent milk or reduced-fat milk undergoes a significant fat-removal process that removes excess fat from the milk. Many people use this milk in their tea because it gives the beverage an incredibly smooth texture and imparts a lovely, rich milk flavor. Additionally, it contains approximately 8 grams of protein per glass, making it great for everyday consumption.
Lactose-free milk is an excellent choice for those who are lactose intolerant. Lactose is a naturally occurring sugar found in milk that many people cannot digest to the point that even a single glass can cause digestive issues such as diarrhea and vomiting.
Food makers generate lactose-free milk by adding lactase to ordinary milk. Lactase is an enzyme that aids in the breakdown of lactose in the body. This process does not affect the milk’s flavor, nutritional quality, or consistency, and it continues to taste like conventional cow milk.
Lactose-free milk, like regular milk, provides all essential micronutrients such as phosphorus, calcium, and vitamin B12. Additionally, it is a good source of protein, containing the same amount of protein as regular milk.
Full Cream Milk
Full cream milk contains the maximum fat content, giving it the creamiest taste and texture compared to other milk varieties with lower fat content. The term ‘full cream’ milk refers to milk that contains the same amount of fat like whole milk, making the two forms of milk quite similar.
Because full cream milk derives from the mammary glands of most mammals, it is highly nutritious nourishment for all humans, particularly youngsters. This milk includes around 3.3 grams of protein, 4.7 grams of carbs, and 3.9 grams of fat per 100 mL glass. They add up to roughly 66.9 kcal, making full cream milk an excellent choice for people watching their calories and adhering to a healthy diet.
This milk is also an ideal choice for coffee preparations because of its creaminess, resulting in a super smooth foam and a vibrant flavor.
Buttermilk is frequently regarded with apprehension since many people believed, and continue to believe, that buttermilk is a type of high-fat, buttery milk. However, it is simply a fermented milk product initially made from the liquid remaining after churning butter made from cultured or fermented cream.
Buttermilk in its modern or present form contains no butter; instead, it is cultured milk, preserved and sold in bottles. Today’s commercial buttermilk consists of bacteria culture to sweet, pasteurized milk. After a few hours of fermentation, the addition of stabilizers, salts, and sugar results in the finished product.
The new buttermilk is significantly thicker, more acidic, and tangier than traditional buttermilk, making it great for buttermilk biscuits and pancakes. It’s also delicious as a beverage, as buttermilk considerably aids in digestion and improves gut health.
Flavored milk is a beloved sort of milk, particularly among children and infants. It is a sweetened dairy beverage made with milk, sugar, and natural or artificial food colorings. While chocolate milk is the most popular flavored milk, various other variations are available, including strawberry milk, banana milk, and many others.
As with any other type of milk, flavored milk is a good source of the essential elements the body requires to keep healthy, specifically calcium, potassium, and vitamin D. Children who drink flavored milk consume more milk overall, resulting in a better diet.
This milk is trendy in Western and South Australia, and according to a 2013 Sunday Times article, Western Australia is the “flavored milk capital of Australia.”
Lastly, flavored milk also has a longer shelf life than plain milk, typically pasteurized using the Ultra-High Temperature (UHT) method.
This milk is frequently referred to as ‘unsweetened condensed milk’ in several countries and is essentially canned milk with approximately 60% of the water removed. Simmering fresh milk at low heat removes the water. After that, homogenization occurs, which allows for the integration of all its fat molecules, resulting in prolonged shelf life.
Slowly simmering the milk over a low heat produces a thick, rich, and creamy end product with a mellow, caramel-like flavor. Many people refer to evaporated milk as the “best of both worlds” because it is low in fat while maintaining its creaminess. The low-fat content makes it a common substitute for cream in dishes that call for a substantial amount of cream as a primary component.
Sweetened Condensed Milk
Condensed milk is similar to evaporated milk in terms of how water is removed from cow’s milk to create sweetened condensed milk—the process of evaporating the water results in an extremely dense and creamy beverage.
Although it is a sort of milk, it is quite different in taste, texture, and consistency from conventional variants. It has an incredible sweetness, a deeper color, a thick and creamy texture and consistency, and a thick and creamy texture and consistency.
Another distinction between evaporated and sweetened condensed milk is that the latter contains sugar as a preservative. Although sweetened during processing, it includes a percentage of the milk’s naturally occurring sugars. Nevertheless, because sweetened condensed milk comes from cow’s milk, it contains protein, calcium, vitamin B12, and fat.
This milk is created quickly by soaking dry soybeans in water and thoroughly crushing them. Soy milk is a type of plant-based milk that is nutrient-dense. It is abundant in calcium and soy proteins and is quite popular with vegans and vegetarians.
Soy milk is a sweeter, thicker form of almond milk; some even consider it a superior dairy substitute. Due to its plant based origins, this milk is naturally cholesterol-free, lactose-free, and has low saturated fat levels. Additionally, it is a ‘full protein milk,’ implying that it contains the same protein as whole milk.
A study compared the nutritional profiles of coconut, almond, soy, and rice milk. Soy milk contains the highest concentrations of essential nutrients, making it the second most nutritious milk type after cow milk. In addition, soy milk is suitable for persons allergic to dairy or nuts. Compared to dairy milk, it contains a higher proportion of protein and a lower ratio of carbohydrates and may benefit both heart and bone health.
However, excessive soy consumption may cause health concerns, including increased breast cancer and male infertility. While the data is conflicting, soy is mostly safe in moderation.
Another popular plant-based alternative to dairy, almond milk has hint of natural sweetness and an incredibly creamy mouthfeel. It is made by roasting almonds and then grinding them with water until it forms a well-blended mixture. The outcome is rich milk with a delectable nutty flavor and a thick, creamy texture.
Almond milk has an abundance of beneficial fats, including polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. Additionally, it is a fairly good source of magnesium, potassium, calcium, protein, fiber, and vitamin E.
Almond milk is suitable for lactose intolerant people who desire to avoid dairy products due to its cholesterol- and lactose-free composition. Not only that, but it also contains a low salt level, which is beneficial for heart health. Additionally, it is the lowest calorie option, including only 30 calories and 0 grams of carbohydrates or sugar in an average cup of almond milk.
Furthermore, it is low in calories, saturated fat, and cholesterol and is a good source of vitamins A, E, and D and magnesium. However, unless fortified, almond milk does not contain a significant amount of calcium. Additionally, it is protein-deficient and not recommended for people sensitive to almonds or other nuts (related to cross-contamination).
Rice milk is one of the most hypoallergenic milk alternatives available, as well as the sweetest. It is a sort of dairy-free milk made from brown rice that has been boiled and then combined with brown rice starch and brown rice syrup.
Rice milk has a mildly sweet flavor that is pleasing to the palate. The milk’s natural sweetness comes from the rice grain itself, not from added sugar. Because it is lactose-free and contains a negligible number of allergens, it is suitable for lactose-intolerant individuals and those with a high proclivity for milk allergy.
Additionally, this milk is fat- and cholesterol-free, making it an ideal alternative for folks who struggle with high blood pressure and cardiovascular difficulties. However, the disadvantage of rice milk is that it has significantly less protein and calcium than whole milk. Rice milk includes approximately 26 grams of carbohydrates per serving, making it heavy in calories and sugars.
Coconut milk is one of those milk variants that has grown in popularity significantly in recent years. It is a more flavorful substitute for cow milk, with an extraordinarily thick and creamy texture.
Coconut milk is extracted from the white flesh of mature brown coconuts and is opposed to coconut water. The process involves combining coconut flesh with water. As a result, coconut milk contains around 50% water.
This milk classifies into two distinct groups based on its consistency: thick and thin.
Thick coconut milk forms by simmering or boiling shredded solid coconut flesh in water, then straining the mixture through cheesecloth to get fine and thick coconut milk. On the other hand, Thin coconut milk uses the shredded coconut flesh that remains in the cheesecloth after preparing thick coconut milk. After additional cooking, it reaches a thin, water-like consistency.
Coconut milk is high in calcium, fiber, vitamins, copper, potassium, selenium, and manganese. The most prominent coconut milk benefits include weight loss, increased heart health, and a strengthened immune system.
Cashew milk is rich and creamy, much like regular dairy milk, but with fewer calories and no lactose.
It provides a desirable smoothness while being 25% less in calories than skim milk. It is an excellent source of calcium and vitamins A, D, and B-12 when supplemented.
On the other hand, cashew milk is not a great source of protein; it contains 1 gram, compared to 7 grams in cow’s milk.
Water and steel-cut rolled or whole oats are combined to create oat milk. The mixture is filtered thoroughly to get the delicious plant-based milk. Straining produces somewhat thin milk, which is ideal for coffee and pancakes.
Oats are high in beta-glucans and soluble fiber, making oat milk a fantastic immune system and metabolic booster. It has a highly faint flavor with traces of sweetness and a watery mouthfeel.
Quinoa is a good source of manganese, which functions as a cofactor for various enzymes, facilitating multiple metabolic processes. This milk includes 111 calories, 1.6 grams of fat, and 3.8 grams of protein per 8-ounce drink.
This milk is an excellent choice for anyone looking for a healthier alternative to cow milk. Hemp seeds are crushed and soaked in water to make the beverage. After complete blending, the mixture yields delectable hemp milk with a thick, creamy mouthfeel and an earthy, nutty flavor.
Consumption of hemp milk has always been fraught with controversy, given that the hemp plant produces marijuana. However, hemp milk cannot generate mind-altering effects because hemp seeds contain no THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol).
On the other hand, Hemp milk is a fantastic source of calcium, iron, protein, potassium, manganese, vitamins, and zinc. These vital nutrients and components enable hemp milk to provide many health benefits, including improved cognition, improved heart health, fantastic skin, increased bone density, and a robust immune system.
Toned milk is diluted full-cream buffalo milk with skim milk and water. This process retains the nutritional value of buffalo milk but does not have the same level of saturated fat.
It reduces the fat level of milk while maintaining its nutritional value by retaining calcium and protein. In addition, toned milk contains no phosphates.
If it contains non-fat milk solids, the milk should be homogeneous to prevent a deposit from forming while storing the container. South Asians consider toned milk as a staple food.
The process for this milk includes passing milk through a thin, porous membrane that separates the milk’s components. This approach comes from the same technique used to purify water. As a result, the finished product contains a higher calcium and protein content and a lower sugar and lactose content.
Additionally, ultrafiltration permits water and tiny lactose molecules across the membrane while leaving proteins behind. One glass contains six grams of sugar, thirteen grams of protein, and 370 milligrams of calcium.
This milk has a creamier texture than ordinary milk. Additionally, it includes less sugar than regular flavored milk.
Is organic milk better than regular milk?
Organic and conventional milk are identical in terms of quality, safety, and nutrition. The distinction is in the manner in which they get produced on the farm. Government regulations ensure that both conventional and organic milk is healthful, safe, and nutritious.
Farmers who prefer to farm organically must adhere to strict criteria established by the United States Department of Agriculture. All dairy farmers work diligently to serve their communities with fresh dairy meals and provide their cows with high-quality care.
How are whole, reduced-fat, low-fat and fat-free milk different?
All of these options come from 100 percent pure cow’s milk. Milk varieties get classified according to their proportion of milkfat and the quantity of fat.
Whole milk contains 3.25 percent fat by weight and is the purest form of milk. Alternative options for those with varying taste preferences or health concerns include reduced-fat (2%) milk, low-fat (1%) milk, and fat-free milk.
While the amount of milkfat in each serving does alter the calories and fat content, all milk is a naturally nutrient-dense and nutritious diet that contains thirteen key components.
What is lactose-free milk?
Lactose is a naturally occurring sugar present in milk that can be difficult to digest for certain people who lack the enzyme lactase, which breaks down lactose in the body. Lactose-free milk is regular cow’s lactose-free milk. The process includes infusing ordinary milk with lactase, which breaks down the lactose. Lactose-free milk contains thirteen important components as regular milk and provides a nutritious and healthful alternative for lactose-intolerant persons.
What is ultra-filtered milk?
Ultra-filtration separates milk’s five components: water, vitamins and minerals, lactose/carbohydrates, protein, and butterfat. Dairy firms then recombine these components in varying proportions to create beverages that have more protein and calcium or less sugar, for example.
What is ultra-pasteurized milk?
Ultra-pasteurization is distinguished from conventional pasteurization because it heats fresh cow’s milk to a greater temperature for a shorter period. Ultra-pasteurized milk has a longer shelf life and may occasionally have a ‘cooked’ flavor due to the high heat. This milk refrigerated for 30-90 days is acceptable for 7-10 days after opening at 34-38°F.
Both methods of pasteurization require that milk be bottled under sterile conditions to avoid contamination. Certain companies bottle ultra-pasteurized milk in special aseptic packaging that preserves the milk’s shelf life.
What can I substitute for buttermilk?
Buttermilk is slightly acidic, which makes it an excellent ingredient for moistening and tenderizing baked foods. To make a quick alternative for buttermilk, combine one cup milk and one tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar and let aside five to ten minutes before using.
What do expiration dates really mean?
Manufacturers transmit information to retailers and consumers using a variety of expiration date labels. An important point to remember that the purpose of the date stamped on perishable food items ensure maximum quality but don’t always guarantee food quality.
Sell-by date: Used by retailers to establish how long they should show the goods for sale or when they should remove them from shop shelves, and by consumers to identify the period during which they can purchase or use the product at its peak quality. This date does not, however, imply that the food is no longer safe to ingest. Purchase the product before this date to ensure optimal quality.
“Use by” date: Intended for customers, this is the recommended last date for using the product at its optimal quality. Even if the expiration date occurs during home storage, if handled and stored appropriately, the item should remain safe, wholesome, and of good quality.
“Best if used by” date: Suggested for optimal flavor or quality. This date is not a date of purchase or a date of expiration. For instance, a product may be safe to consume after this date but may lower quality.
Can I store my milk in the fridge door?
To keep milk as fresh as possible, avoid storing it in the refrigerator door. Foods stored in the refrigerator door are more susceptible to warm air, which can accelerate the deterioration of food—store milk securely below 40°F in the refrigerator’s main compartment.
Is raw milk safe for consumption?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States and the Food and Drug Administration in the United States both urge that no one ingest unpasteurized milk. Pasteurization is a simple, effective process of eliminating potentially hazardous germs from milk without impairing its taste or nutritional value.
Are there antibiotics in milk?
No. The United States Food and Drug Administration requires that all milk — conventional and organic — undergo antimicrobial testing upon arrival at the milk plant. When cows become ill and need medication, farmers will not add their milk to the milk supply. Milk containing antibiotics gets disposed of by state standards immediately.
What is the ideal temperature for milk storage?
Dairy products are perishable foods and should not sit at room temperature for more than two hours. They should not be out for more than an hour if the temperature is above 90°F. The ideal temperature to store dairy products is at or below 40°F.
Are there pesticides in milk?
The little use of pesticides in crop cultivation do not represent health risks in dairy products produced in the United States. Sensitive monitoring technology can detect contaminants at concentrations much below those that are harmful to health. The United States Environmental Protection Agency has strict laws for farm practices that involve pesticides, and the United States Department of Agriculture and the United States Food and Drug Administration conducts pesticide inspections of foods. Dairy farmers adhere to or surpass these regulations consistently.
Does milk contain GMOs?
No. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine concluded in 2016 that genetically modified (GMO) crops are safe after reviewing almost 900 studies. Some cows consume feed that contains genetically modified maize or soybeans, which cows digest in the same way they do non-GMO vegetables. There has never been a single instance of GM DNA in milk from cows fed GMO plants.