Nutritional Benefits of Dairy Ingredients: Milk
Skim milk powder (SMP), which is 34-37% protein, is the most common dairy ingredient used for therapeutic and supplementary foods. SMP can be added to ready-to-use foods (RUFs) or fortified blended foods (FBFs). Aside from its many nutritional benefits, SMP is readily available, costs less than full-fat dairy ingredients, and improves the flavor of the finished product. SMP avoids many food risks due to its resistance to bacterial growth (due to the absence of fat and water) and the long shelf life of its major nutritional elements. Moreover, it can be used both as an ingredient in other nutritional products or in a reconstituted form if clean water is available. SMP may be reconstituted into ultra-high-temperature (UHT) milk, which has a shelf life of several months without refrigeration, provided it has not been opened.
For individuals with limited stomach or intake capacity (such as small children or people living with HIV/AIDS), it is especially beneficial that milk is nutrient-dense, meaning that it furnishes a generous supply of critical nutrients, such as easily digestible proteins, vitamins and minerals in relation to calories.
The two types of milk protein in SMP both promote health for adults and children. The majority of the protein is casein, which on its own is a complete, high quality protein with all of the essential amino acids. Because of this, it has been used as a standard reference protein to evaluate the nutritive value of other proteins. The remainder of the protein in SMP is whey protein, which is also valued on its own merits. Casein digests at a slower rate compared to whey protein allowing it to slowly nourish the body, giving more time for the nutrients to be absorbed. The whey component digests more quickly to provide essential amino acids and nourishment to muscle tissue throughout the body, and it has a higher concentration of BCAAs. In combination, the two proteins and the remaining components of SMP provide an ideal food ingredient.
SMP is available in both an ordinary and instant form, each with equally high quality attributes. There are three classifications for each type: high heat (least soluble), medium heat and low heat (most soluble). A dairy ingredient supplier is able to provide direction on which type of SMP is best suited for a specific application.
For additional information on the protein composition of cow's milk and the complete profile of proteins, vitamins and minerals found in SMP, please refer to the following: