Milk is a common part of most people’s diet. From cereal to a warm sleep aid, We enjoy milk all through our lives. But what category of food can we classify milk under?
The Short Answer
Milk is the main component of the dairy food group.
The Long Answer
Milk is the backbone of the dairy food group. The common ingredient that makes a dairy product dairy IS milk. Dairy includes all fluid milk products and foods that are made from milk. This includes cheese, yogurt, ice cream, and sour cream. If you’re wondering why we didn’t include eggs, check out our explanation for why eggs don’t fall in the dairy group.
A dairy food must be made from milk but retain its calcium content. This is why calcium-fortified soy milk is considered dairy.
Dairy products contain lactose, which is composed of the natural sugars found in all milk products. The human body produces an enzyme called lactase, which helps us to break down lactose for easy digestion. Some individuals produce little to no lactase, and thus suffer from gastrointestinal issues such as bloating, gas, and diarrhea when eating dairy because lactose particles are never broken down and wind up in the colon. It is common for people to develop lactose intolerance later in life, as the body’s lactase production can diminish with age.