Protein is an important part of a varied and balanced diet and benefits people of different ages in various ways. All milk products contain high-quality milk protein which absorbs well is efficiently utilised by our bodies. The average amount of protein occurring in milk naturally is 3.3 grams per 100 grams.
Milk protein contains all of the nine amino acids essential for the body and is therefore a “complete” protein. Milk protein also absorbs well, due to which our bodies utilise it efficiently. The nutritional quality of protein sources can be assessed by considering their amino acid composition and the absorption of individual amino acids – in other words, the body's ability to make use of the amino acids. According to the Digestible Indispensable Amino Acid Score (DIAAS) adopted by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, milk protein is nutritionally the best natural source of protein.
Some 20 per cent of the protein in regular milk is whey protein, while 80 per cent of it is casein protein. Whey proteins are not denatured in the acidic conditions of the stomach, but are rapidly passed into the small intestine where they are degraded, absorbed and delivered to muscles and other tissues. Casein, on the other hand, forms a clot in the stomach and is released more slowly, which is why milk products that contain casein are favoured as a snack before bedtime. Read more about whey protein ›
Different life situations affect protein needs. Active exercisers get important building blocks for their muscles from protein foods because protein is needed for the growth and maintenance of muscle mass. Also in the diet of the elderly, protein helps maintain muscle mass and keep bones in good condition. Weight managers benefit from a varied diet that contains enough good quality protein.
The easiest way to satisfy your daily need for protein is to have varied milk products in addition to other protein sources during meals