Milk and dairy foods are important sources of several nutrients which contribute to health. In this area you can find out more about what nutrients are in dairy products including calcium, iodine and protein.

NUTRIENTS IN MILK
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A 200ml GLASS OF SEMI-SKIMMED MILK PROVIDES:

7g Protein

  • maintenance of normal bone
  • muscle growth and maintenance
  • normal bone growth and development in children

240mg Calcium

  • normal growth and development of bones
  • maintenance of normal bones
  • maintenance of normal teeth
  • normal blood clotting
  • normal energy–yielding metabolism
  • normal muscle function
  • process of cell division
  • normal neurotransmission

60μg Iodine

  • normal growth of children
  • normal energy–yielding metabolism
  • maintenance of normal skin
  • normal functioning of the nervous system
  • normal cognitive function
  • normal production and function of thyroid hormones

312mg Potassium

  • normal functioning of the nervous system
  • maintenance of normal blood pressure
  • normal muscle function

0.48mg Vitamin B2

  • normal energy–yielding metabolism
  • maintenance of normal skin
  • normal functioning of the nervous system
  • maintenance of normal vision
  • normal iron metabolism
  • maintenance of normal red blood cells
  • reduction of tiredness and fatigue

1.8mg Vitamin B12

  • normal energy–yielding metabolism
  • normal red blood cell formation
  • process of cell division
  • normal immune function
  • normal psychological function
  • reduction of tiredness and fatigue

188mg Phosphorus

  • normal growth and development of bone
  • maintenance of normal teeth
  • normal function of cell membranes
  • normal energy–yielding metabolism

7.2g Fat

  • low in fat

NUTRIENTS IN CHEESE
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A 30g PIECE OF HARD CHEESE PROVIDES

7.6g Protein

Contributes to:

  • normal muscle growth and maintenance
  • maintenance of normal bone
  • normal bone growth and development in children

221.7mg Calcium

Contributes to:

  • normal growth and development of bones in children
  • maintenance of normal bones and teeth
  • normal blood clotting
  • energy–yielding metabolism
  • normal muscle function
  • process of cell division
  • normal neurotransmission
  • normal function of digestive enzymes

151.5mg Phosphorus

Contributes to:

  • normal function of cell membranes
  • realising energy from food
  • needed for
  • maintenance of normal teeth

Needed for:

  • normal bone growth and development of bone in children

0.7ug Vitamin B12

Contributes to:

  • normal energy–yielding metabolism
  • red blood cell formation
  • process of cell division
  • normal immune function
  • reduction in tiredness and fatigue
  • normal psychological function

NUTRIENTS IN YOGURT
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A 150g POT OF PLAIN LOW-FAT YOGURT PROVIDES:

7.2g Protein

Contributes to:

  • maintenance of normal bone and muscle
  • muscle growth
  • bone growth and maintenance in children

243mg Calcium

Contributes to:

  • normal growth and development of bones in children
  • maintenance of normal bones and teeth
  • normal blood clotting
  • energy–yielding metabolism
  • normal muscle function
  • normal function of digestive enzymes
  • process of cell division and specialisation
  • normal neurotransmission

 51mg Iodine

Contributes to:

  • normal growth of children
  • releasing energy from food
  • maintenance of normal skin
  • normal functioning of the nervous system
  • normal cognitive function
  • production and function of thyroid hormones

214.5mg Phosphorus

Contributes to:

  • function of cell membranes
  • energy–yielding metabolism
  • growth and development of bone in children
  • maintenance of normal teeth
  • maintenance of normal bones

0.33mg Vitamin B2

Contributes to:

  • normal energy–yielding metabolism
  • maintenance of normal skin
  • normal functioning of the nervous system
  • maintenance of normal vision
  • normal iron metabolism
  • reduction of tiredness and fatigue
  • maintenance of normal red blood cells

0.45ug Vitamin B12

Contributes to:

  • normal red blood cell formation
  • normal energy–yielding metabolism
  • process of cell division
  • normal functioning of the immune function
  • reduction in tiredness and fatigue
  • normal psychological function
Calcium is important for growth and development in children and most people will be aware of its role in maintaining bones and teeth. But it has some other important functions too! It supports blood clotting, as well as muscle function.

The majority of our bones are built during childhood and, particularly, teenage years and continue to strengthen until our mid-thirties. After this, we begin to lose bone, and for women there is an increase in bone loss around the time of the menopause. So it’s important to make sure we have enough sources of calcium in the diet to help these demands throughout the life course.

Including dairy products such as milk, hard cheese and yogurt in the diet is a good way to help meet calcium needs. Dairy is the main provider of calcium in the UK diet.

Calcium requirements differ depending on our stage in life and the downloadable guide below shows how much calcium is required for infants, children, teenagers, adults and older adults and how that can be met from eating dairy foods.

Calcium is not the only bone friendly nutrient. Protein, phosphorus and vitamin D also play important roles. Like muscles, healthy bones also need regular exercise to keep them strong.

As well as dairy, some other foods contain calcium. These include:

  • Oily fish with soft edible bones
  • Calcium fortified drinks
  • Calcium fortified desserts
  • Tofu
  • Some nuts e.g. almonds, Brazil nuts, hazelnuts
  • Some green veg e.g. okra and kale

CALCIUM TABLE
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For more information, check out our free Calcium booklet below.
Iodine is a lesser known nutrient but it supports normal growth in children and some brain functions – you probably recognise the name from a dye you once used in science class!

Iodine makes up part of the thyroid hormones which help to release energy from food and regulate growth in children. These hormones also contribute to nerve and some brain functions.

Like folic acid, it’s important to have enough iodine in the diet both during pregnancy and preconception for the health of the baby.

Dairy is one of the main providers of iodine to the UK diet and a decline in milk consumption has been linked to iodine deficiency in certain groups of women.

Iodine recommendations change depending on our stage in life and the downloadable guide below shows how much iodine is required for infants, children, teenagers, adults and older adults and how that can be met from eating dairy foods.

As well dairy, some other foods contain iodine. These include:

  • White fish, oily fish & shellfish
  • Eggs
  • Beef
  • Some nuts e.g. Brazil nuts & peanuts

IODINE TABLE
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For more information, check out our free Iodine booklet below.
Protein is well-known for its contribution to the growth and maintenance of muscles. Did you know it is needed for normal growth and development of bones in children, and maintaining normal bones through the rest of our lives?

Milk and dairy foods contain two types of protein: whey and casein. These proteins are found in milk in the ratio of 20% whey and 80% casein. Proteins are broken down into amino acids which have many roles in the body. Both of these dairy proteins provide a complete source of amino acids. All 9 essential amino acids are found in milk: histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan and valine and three nonessential: alanine, aspartic acid and glutamic acid. Milk also contains 6 amino acids which aren’t essential, but are needed in times of recovery from sickness or injury, these are arginine, cysteine, glycine, proline, serine and tyrosine.

The table below shows the protein requirements of each age group, as well as the protein content of common dairy products. Please note that for those aged 11 and above, males and females have different requirements.

Age Protein requirements (RNI g/day) Portion sizes Protein content (g)
1-3 years 14.5 100ml whole milk
60g whole plain yogurt
15g cheddar cheese
These portion sizes provide approximately 10.7g of protein
3.5
3.4
3.8
4-6 years 19.7 A small carton (189ml) semi-skimmed milk
80g whole plain yogurt
20g cheddar cheese
These portion sizes provide approximately 16.3g of protein
6.6
4.6
5.1
7-10 years 28.3 A small carton (189ml) semi-skimmed milk
125g low-fat plain yogurt
20g cheddar cheese
These portion sizes provide approximately 17.7g of protein
6.6
6.0
5.1
11-14 years Males: 42.1

Females: 41.2

200ml semi-skimmed milk
150g low-fat plain yogurt
30g cheddar cheese
These portion sizes provide approximately 22g of protein
7.2
7.2
7.6
15-18 years Males: 55.2

Females: 45.4

250ml semi-skimmed milk
200g low-fat plain yogurt
30g cheddar cheese
These portion sizes provide approximately 26.2g of protein
9
9.6
7.6
19-50 years Males: 55.5

Females: 45.4

200ml semi-skimmed milk
200g low-fat plain yogurt
30g cheddar cheese
These portion sizes provide approximately 24.2g of protein
7.2
9.6
7.6
50+ years Males: 53.3

Females: 46.5

200ml semi-skimmed milk
150g low-fat plain yogurt
30g cheddar cheese
These portion sizes provide approximately 22g of protein
7.2
7.2
7.6
  • MilkConsumer

    Consumer booklet about milk processing, nutrients, myths and misconceptions.

    MILK BOOKLET DOWNLOAD PDF
  • CheeseConsumer

    Consumer booklet that answers lots of the most common questions about cheese.

    CHEESE BOOKLET DOWNLOAD PDF
  • YogurtConsumer

    Consumer booklet about yogurt nutrition, how it is made and cooking with yogurt.

    YOGURT BOOKLET DOWNLOAD PDF
  • Calcium

    Consumer pocket guide summarising the roles of calcium and needs for different life st

    CALCIUM BOOKLET DOWNLOAD PDF

Last reviewed: 03/2017
Next review due: 03/2019