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Facts About Food: Milk Products

Milk Bottles

According to the USDA, diets that include milk products tend to have a higher overall nutritional quality. This category includes all fluid milk products and many foods made from milk. It does not include products that have little to no calcium like cream cheese or butter. The milk group includes dairy products, such as yogurt, cheese and low fat ice cream that are loaded with nutrients including calcium, potassium, vitamin D and protein which are vital for the health and maintenance of your body. For a snapshot of daily recommendations, click here.

Health benefits

  • Eating and drinking products in this category is especially important to bone health during early childhood and adolescence, when bone mass is being built.
  • Don't forget, diets rich in milk products also help build and maintain bone mass throughout the life-cycle, which may reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
  • While choosing foods in this category, remember some milk based products are high in saturated fats and cholesterol (whole milk, many cheeses) that can lead to health issues. Diets high in saturated fats raise "bad" cholesterol levels in the blood and in turn, increase the risk for coronary heart disease.


  • The body uses calcium to build bones and teeth and in maintaining bone mass. Milk products are the primary source of calcium in our diets and just three 8-ounce glasses a day can improve your bone mass.
  • Research shows that diets rich in potassium may help to maintain healthy blood pressure.
  • Vitamin D functions in the body to maintain proper levels of calcium and phosphorous, which helps to build and maintain bones. You can find several milk based products that are fortified with vitamin D including milk, yogurt and some ready-to-eat breakfast cereals.
  • If you don't drink 3 glasses of milk a day (or the equivalent in other types of dairy products), you will definitely have a big gap in your intake of calcium and vitamin D. Don't let that gap go unfilled — consider adding a supplement of calcium and vitamin D, and remember to take it every day.

To learn more about the this group, click here.

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