Milk, in its various forms, has been a part of human nutrition since ancient times and it also consists of a fairly long, rich history. On World Milk Day, know the different types of Milk with various characteristics & health benefits.

While we all know that the most popular varieties of milk come from cows, sheep, and goats, however, as time progressed, numerous other types of milk were discovered and produced.

Here we have compiled a list of different types of milk, some of which are incredibly popular while others are not as well-known, each with their unique characteristics and health benefits.

Whole Milk

This is also known as ‘regular’ milk that consists of about 3.5% of fat content. The fat percentage typically ranges somewhere between 3.25% and 3.5%. The primary reason why it is called ‘whole’ milk is it is comparatively purer than most other types of milk, and also because of its fat content. Whole milk is considered to be very thick, creamy, and rich, and pairs perfectly with cereals for breakfast in the morning.

2% Milk

This milk is also referred to as “reduced-fat” which basically refers to the fact that the fat content in this milk is actually 2 percent of the total weight of the milk. It is not as thick as whole milk and consists of a mild flavor that is not too strong. It is believed to be an excellent source of calcium, vitamin D, and other beneficial nutrients. 2% milk or reduced-fat milk goes through an important fat-removal process in which extra fat is removed from the milk.

Low Fat Milk

Low-fat milk is often confused with reduced-fat milk; however, they are actually different from one another. While the latter consists of 2% fat percentage, low-fat milk has only one percent of fat content. Due to its incredibly less fat percentage, this type of milk is ideal for weight watchers. This is also because consuming low-fat milk means you are having less saturated fat which further helps keep cholesterol levels under control.

Skimmed Milk

Skimmed milk is dairy milk with all the fat removed. The texture is slightly thinner than whole milk, and it contains 0 to 0.1 percent of fat. The modern processing method does not reduce the protein and calcium amounts. While skim milk does not contain fat, the process also removes its vitamin A.

Organic Milk

Organic milk comes from those cows that aren’t given supplemental hormones and it is produced by those dairy farmers who use only organic pesticides and fertilizers. This milk has three key characteristics that distinguish them from other types of milk. Firstly, it comes from cows that get 30% of their diet from pasture, secondly, these cows aren’t given any kind of antibiotics, and lastly, they aren’t fed any reproduction or growth hormones.

Plant-based Milk

Plant-based or non-dairy milk alternative is the fast growing segment in newer food product development category of functional and specialty beverage across the globe. Nowadays, cow milk allergy, lactose intolerance, calorie concern and prevalence of hypercholesterolemia, more preference to vegan diets has influenced consumers towards choosing cow milk alternatives. Few examples of plant-based milk are coconut milk, soy milk, almond milk, oat milk, hemp milk, pea milk cashew milk, and rice milk among others.

Raw Milk

This is best known as ‘unpasteurized’ milk or one that hasn’t been homogenized. This means that raw milk is not heated by dairy farmers to decontaminate it for safe drinking. It comes from a variety of different animals including buffalos, sheep, camel, cows, and goats. The fact that raw milk is not pasteurized raises several health concerns primarily because it may contain harmful germs, bacteria, and viruses that can adversely affect your health. However, advocates of raw milk argue that it is a ‘complete’ type of milk that is void of any harmful additives or preservatives and is in fact, natural food with all its amino acids, proteins, minerals, and vitamins completely intact.

Full Cream Milk

Full cream milk is one with the highest percentage of fat in it which gives it the creamiest taste and texture, compared to other types of milk that have a lower fat percentage. The term ‘full cream milk’ is also used for milk that has the same fat content as whole milk, a characteristic that makes both the types of milk very similar.

Lactose-free Milk

Lactose-free milk, as the name implies, is one that has lactose removed from it, making it a great option for all those people who are lactose-intolerant. Lactose is a type of natural sugar present in milk that many people are unable to digest to an extent that even a single glass can trigger digestive problems like diarrhea and vomiting. Lactose-free milk is produced by food manufacturers by adding lactase to regular milk. Lactase is basically an enzyme that helps break down lactose in the body. However, this doesn’t affect the milk’s taste, nutritional profile, or texture in any way and it still tastes like regular cow milk.

Also read: World Milk Day: Why Milk is crucial for a healthy immune system

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