What is milk needed for?

Valio is often asked what milk is needed for. Nutrition Specialist and senior scientist Tuula Tuure, PhD, has spent over 20 years studying what you should choose to put on your plate if you want to have a healthy and varied diet. Recently, she has spent a lot of time thinking about milk’s role in a climate-friendly diet.

“I use dairy products for many reasons, one of which is because research shows that, out of all natural protein sources, milk is nutritionally the best. Milk is an easy way for humans to get many of the important nutrients, like protein, iodine and calcium. In itself, milk isn’t necessary for humans; it’s the components it contains. Milk just happens to be an excellent source of a lot of important nutrients in one package.”

One basic element of nutritionally good food is nutrient density. It’s food that, in addition to energy, provides you with essential nutrients, like vitamins, minerals, fibres, fatty acids, and proteins.

Milk protein is the best natural source of protein, as we can absorb its amino acids nearly completely, and our systems can use them effectively.

Image above: Essential amino acids: leucine, methionine, isoleucine, phenyl alanine, valine, tryptophan, histidine, threonine, lysine

Source: FAO DIAAS protein quality system. Enjoy various protein sources as part of a varied diet and a healthy lifestyle.

Milk protein is especially useful when our bodies go through significant changes, such as in children, when their bones are growing, and in advanced age to keep muscle mass from disappearing. Protein intake should be on your mind during pregnancy as well as if you do a lot of sports or are trying to lose weight.

“It’s great that more and more people are thinking about their diet’s climate impact. Nutrition is something you should always consider when looking at the climate impacts. A diet that meets nutritional requirements – everything in moderation – is an easy and functional rule of thumb.”

In Finland, dietary climate impacts and nutrition were the focus of the government-funded Ruokaminimi project, carried out by the Natural Resources Institute and Finnish Environment Institute. According to the project, there are many ways to have a climate-friendly and nutritious diet. Milk was included in many of the various diet options.

Climate change is the global challenge of our era, with an effect on people as well. Through our own actions, however, we can help to make things better. We are aware of the environmental impacts of our operations, and we want to be part of the solution. Our goal is not just to reduce milk’s carbon footprint, it’s to cut it completely by 2035.