Voutzourakis Nikolaos, Dietician – Nutritionist, Msc

Milk and its products are one of the most important foods of the human being after domesticated animals since it is a unique and complete food for the early stages of the life of the newborn of mammals. Milk is a complete food in macronutrients, and yogurt also. Cheese, from the food side, is a first-rate alternative to meat, one of which is rich in proteins of high biological value. It is important to be part of our diet, which should be varied. Nutrient nutrients, which provide high biological value proteins and trace elements in easily absorbable forms, can benefit both nutritionally vulnerable individuals (children, the elderly, the patient) and healthy individuals.

What milk and its products offer us.

Proteins. Foods of animal origin are an important source of proteins of high biological value (index greater than 90% and digestibility greater than 95%). They contain all the essential amino acids and are rich in the amino acid histidine, which is particularly useful in the body of young people. In addition, serum proteins promote bone formation and inhibit bone degradation. There are also a number of bioactive peptides derived from the proteins and formed during the fermentation of milk by microbes, during cheese maturation or during digestion. These peptides-based studies have anti-microbial activity and regulatory role in inflammatory responses (Immunoglobulins, Lactoferrin), prevent the development of inflammatory bowel disease (EGF growth factors, TGF-b), have antihypertensive activity (PP & VPP peptides in fermented milk) have a regulatory role in appetite by reducing food consumption (Casoxin) and enhancing calcium absorption (caseinophosphopeptides).

Fat. They are also good sources of fatty acids. Milk fat is an important source of energy for fast-growing young people, is easily absorbable and has a high energy content (~ 9kcal per gram). In addition, it contains several essential fatty acids with important role in the body such as palmitoleic and oleic acid, linoneliko acid (reduces total and LDL cholesterol), arachidonic acid is a precursor of eicosanoids (prostaglandins, thromboxanes, leukotrienes), alpha-linolenic acid (reduces cardiovascular risk by multiple mechanisms), and long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids EPA, DPA & DHA which reduce the risk of sudden death by multiple mechanisms and have beneficial effects in nerve system, development, and health. Finally, in milk and dairy products, there are unique fatty acids such as CLA, which has anti-cancer properties and reduces body fat in growing organisms.

Carbohydrates. As far as carbohydrates are concerned, their variety of milk and its products are limited. The only sugar found in a considerable amount of milk is lactose disaccharide. The latter plays an important role (in combination with vitamin D) in the absorption of calcium from the intestine. In addition, it is an important structural element of the brain, it helps the metabolism of magnesium and, finally, the production of lactic acid during the breakdown of lactose by acid bacterial bacteria, contributes to the good functioning of the intestine, creating an unfavorable environment for the development of pathogenic bacteria

Vitamins and trace elements. Milk and dairy products remain one of the main sources of calcium, magnesium, selenium, riboflavin (B2), vitamin B12 and pantothenic acid (B5) in human diets around the world, and are also good sources of zinc vitamins A, C, D, and B6 depending on the origin of the milk. In addition, the bioavailability of some nutrients such as calcium is higher than that of other foods.

What we have to look out for.

Allergies. Allergy in milk usually occurs in infants and infants, so their introduction into the infant’s diet should be planned and gradual. At older ages, allergic reactions may be milder and each person should know what products they can consume. Allergies are due to the sensitization of the organism to certain milk albums, especially α-lactalbumin and β-lactoglobulin. However, it should be noted that allergic effects also appear after consumption of milk that may contain antibiotic residues. In this case, the allergy is due to the presence of antibiotics and not to milk proteins.

Poor absorption-lactose intolerance. This is a pathological condition due to the reduced activity of the enzyme lactase in the small intestine. Thus, lactose remains undisturbed, accumulates in the intestine in large quantities, increases osmotic pressure and water concentration and leads to the induction of colic and diarrhea. It is the most widespread disorder associated with milk consumption.

Galactose-galactosemia intolerance. It is a hereditary metabolic disorder that is not very common and occurs in 3 forms, two of which cause disease. The former is due to the lack of the enzyme galactokinase. The infant can not digest galactose and is rapidly led to cataracts and blindness if it is not immediately perceived and is not on a lactose-free diet from the first few days after birth. The second form is classical galactosemia, which is due to the existence of an enzyme that is necessary for the incorporation of galactose into the glycolysis cycle. This leads to the accumulation of galactose in the cells in the form of galactose phosphate. This causes damage to the liver and central nervous system, cirrhosis, cataracts, delayed growth and irreversible mental retardation.

How much we should consume.

Many countries have developed nutritional recommendations or guidelines based on the availability of local food, the cost, the nutritional status of the population, consumption and eating habits. Because of these various factors, the recommendations vary, but most recommendations suggest at least one portion of dairy products every day, with some countries recommending up to three servings per day. In Greece, the recommendation is two servings per day. However, it is of particular importance to choose the dairy product.

Milk. A glass of milk (250 ml) can be consumed daily by all people over 24 months of age if they do not have any form of allergy or intolerance. Toddlers do not recommend daily consumption, especially if they are replacing breast milk, mainly because of possible allergic reactions but also because of their low iron content.

Sheep’s milk. Indicative nutrition declaration per 100 g

Calories

Fats

Of Which Saturated

Carbohydrates

Of Which Sugars

Protein

Salt

452 kcal /

108 kJ

7,0 g

4,6 g

5,4 g

5,4 g

6,0 g

0,1 g

Yogurt – fermented milk. Like milk, it can be consumed daily in similar quantities (1 yogurt ~ 200g, 250ml glass of fermented milk). They consist in particular of individuals who have certain bowel conditions (eg gastrointestinal infections) and can also be consumed by people with restricted diets in fat and energy.

Sheep and goat yogurt. Indicative nutrition declaration per 100 g

Calories

Fats

Of Which Saturated

Carbohydrates

Of Which Sugars

Protein

Salt

430 kcal /

103 kJ

6,0 g

4,4 g

4,7 g

4,7 g

5,0 g

0,1 g

Fresh – peeled cheeses. They can be consumed on a daily basis in small quantities (40-60 grams per serving) since they are less energy-intensive than all adults and children over two years of age. They can be consumed even by people with restrictive diets in fat and energy.

Amarino. Indicative nutrition declaration per 100 g

Calories

Fats

Of Which Saturated

Carbohydrates

Of Which Sugars

Protein

Salt

832 kJ

200kcal

16g

10 g

3,0g

2,0g

11g

1.3g

Whey cheese. Correspondingly, fresh and peeled cheeses can be eaten frequently on a weekly basis (40-60 grams per serving), most of which contain few calories and fat. In addition, these products are rich in serum proteins that have significant effects on the human body, especially for children who are developing.

Myzithra fresh. Indicative nutrition declaration per 100 g

Calories

Fats

Of Which Saturated

Carbohydrates

Of Which Sugars

Protein

Salt

790 kcal /

190 kJ

15,0 g

10,5 g

2,0 g

1,5 g

11,0 g

0,5 g

Xinomizithra P.D.O. Indicative nutrition declaration per 100 g

Calories

Fats

Of Which Saturated

Carbohydrates

Of Which Sugars

Protein

Salt

1238 kcal /

299kJ

25g

16 g

5,9 g

2,6g

13g

0,9g

Soft cheeses. They can be eaten weekly (2-3 times a week) as part of a balanced diet in ~ 40 grams per serving than adults and children over two years of age.

White cheese from brine and goat milk. Indicative nutrition declaration per 100 g

Calories

Fats

Of Which Saturated

Carbohydrates

Of Which Sugars

Protein

Salt

1200 kJ /

290 kcal

25 g

17 g

0,8 g

<0,5 g

14 g

2,4 g

Semi-sweet – hard cheeses. It is recommended that they be consumed several times a month (2-3 times a month) as part of a balanced diet in amounts of ~ 40 grams per serving than adults and children over two years of age.

Graviera of Crete PDO. Indicative nutrition declaration per 100 g

Calories

Fats

Of Which Saturated

Carbohydrates

Of Which Sugars

Protein

Salt

1644 kJ/

396 kcal

30 g

20 g

2,7 g

1,5 g

29 g

1,5 g

Kefalotyri. Indicative nutrition declaration per 100 g

Calories

Fats

Of Which Saturated

Carbohydrates

Of Which Sugars

Protein

Salt

1794 kJ/

433 kcal

35 g

24 g

1,2 g

<0,5 g

28 g

2,0 g