What milk is the best? A Nutritionist answers ahead of Shavuot

Got milk? An Israeli nutritionist breaks down the different options for a healthy Shavuot meal.

June 8, 2019 14:23
3 minute read.

Milk. (photo credit: MARTIN VOREL)


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The festival of Shavuot, which begins Saturday night, is typified by eating dairy food, and a nutritionist at Ariel University's Clinical Nutrition Department Faculty of Health Sciences has several recommendations.

Dr. Olga Raz, head of the department released a study ahead of the Jewish holiday.
Cow milk: 

Cow's milk is the most common and is an excellent source of protein containing all the essential amino acids that the human body cannot produce, Dr. Raz stated. 100 grams of cow's milk contain about 3.2 grams of protein. Cow milk types differ mainly in fat and in the presence of lactose. There is no significant difference between cow's milk and other kinds in terms of nutritional value such as amount of protein, vitamins and minerals. It is important to know that vitamin D is not found in milk and dairy products, but is added artificially, and is indicated on the packaging, Raz explained. The combination of calcium, magnesium and vitamin B12, which are found naturally in milk with vitamin D supplementation, improves health and bone density.

Goat milk: 

Many people who report sensitivity to cow's milk feel less side effects in the consumption of goat milk products, Raz said. Although the two types of milk are similar, the following differences may explain the phenomenon:

· Goat milk contains slightly less lactose. It contains ingredients of nutritional and biological importance, more than cow's milk, like short-chain fatty acids and A2 protein, for example.

· Fat particles in goat's milk are smaller than in cow's milk. All of these seem to provide for better absorption.

Sheep milk:

· Contains more fat, making it more velvety in texture.

· Contains more protein per 100 grams: 5.4 grams, compared to cow's and goat's milk containing about 3.2 grams.

· Like goat's milk, it contains smaller particles of fat, more protein A2 and more short-chain fatty acids, which probably improves its absorption.

· The amount of vitamins and minerals is greater than in cow's milk and goat's milk.

Buffalo milk:

· The amount of protein is higher than cow and goat milk but lower compared to sheep's milk.

· The highest fat percentage among all types of milk - 8%, providing more energy.

· The amount of cholesterol is lower than in cow's milk.

· A slightly higher amount of lactose.

· The amount of calcium is higher than in all other types of milk.

· Contains more protein A, similar to goat's milk and sheep.

Milk substitutes

Except for milk produced by animals, other milk products do not contain similar ingredients. These are vegetable beverages such as rice, almonds, oats and the like. These beverages have almost no protein content, which is the most important ingredient in milk: less than 1 gram per drink, compared to 6-7 grams in a glass of milk. They also do not contain the vitamins and minerals that other types of milk contain, unless manufacturers add a few of them. In almond milk, for example, the amount of almonds is small, so the drink does not have nutritional significance. In contrast, there is a lot of water and a varying amount of sugar.

Soy beverages are preferable to other milk substitutes. They contain protein, which is less qualitative than the milk protein, but still important. Manufacturers often add calcium and other supplements, making it more nutritious than other substitutes. Soy milk often comes sugar free.

Coconut drinks contain no protein,  a large amount of water, little coconut, small amounts of vitamins and minerals and lots of flavors, sugar and calories in varying amounts.

Milk substitutes do not have the same nutritional value as milk. Despite their widespread use in coffee, baking, and so on.

Unsweetened dairy products such as butter, whipped cream and cream have a high fat content. In addition to butter there is quite a bit of trans fat and cholesterol.

When baking traditional Shavuot cheesecakes and other holiday treats, the fat can be reduced by using 5% fat milk products, or cream with 9% fat.

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