There are many different varieties of milk available for consumption in the world. For the most part, the different varieties are based on their individual fat contents. Whole milk, for example has about 4 percent fat. As one can determine, 2 percent milks contain only 2 percent fat, and so on. There are other varieties such as organic milk, evaporated milk, and powdered milk.
All milk that is sold in the United States must go undergo pasteurization that ensures that any harmful micro-organisms do not remain in the final product. This process protects people from ingesting pathogenic bacteria, yeasts, or molds that could cause illness or even death. Most milk is also homogenized as well. Homogenization decreases the creaminess of the milk, making it easier to drink and incorporate into the diet.
Natural whole milk is milk that has had no fat removed or skimmed. However, standardized whole milk has had a bit of fat removed and contains about 3.5 percent fat. This standardized whole milk is what is typically marketed as whole vitamin D milk.
Semi-skimmed and Skimmed Milk
Semi-skimmed milk such as 2 percent, 1 percent, and 0.5 percent milk are all based on the amount of fat that is remaining after the skimming process. Zero percent milk, however, can contain up to 0.5 percent milk fat and still keep its “fat free” status. For the most part, the nutrients, vitamins, and enzymes found in milk remain intact throughout the skimming process. However, most milk is fortified with additional vitamins anyway.
Organic milk has become a cultural phenomenon. Health conscience consumers, parents, and restaurants are turning to organic milk. Organic milk goes through the same process as regular milk varieties, but it is derived from cows that feed off grain that has had no chemical fertilizer or pesticides. Organic milk also ensures that the cows that have produced the milk have not been exposed to growth hormones or synthetic hormones that could have leaked into the milk content. Because of this, organic milk is no more nutritious than regular milk; it is just derived from different cows.
Many people enjoy the treat of flavored milk. Milk can be purchased already chocolate, vanilla, or strawberry flavored for a special dessert or addition to a meal. Flavored milk usually is made with lower fat milk because the flavoring will essentially add calories and sugar. Drinking flavored milk is a delicious way to incorporate the nutritious benefits of milk into the diet.
Finally, there are condensed and evaporated varieties of milk. Both condensed and evaporated milk are made essentially the same way. They are both put through a vacuuming process which takes out nearly 70 percent of the water content from whole milk. Evaporated milk is then canned; however condensed milk is usually sweetened. Condensed milk, since it is sweetened is usually reserved for baking desserts or incorporating in sweet drinks. Evaporated milk is for savory recipes, such as for gravies, casseroles, or pasta sauces.
However one chooses to enjoy milk, the nutrients remain an essential part of a healthy diet!