Milk, yoghurt and cheese

Learn more about milk, yoghurt and cheese here.

  • Milk

    Milk is a highly nutritious, natural, versatile and affordable product. Cow’s milk naturally contains a unique package of essential nutrients and few foods provide as much absorbable calcium per serve. While milk and milk products are not the only dietary sources of calcium, to get the same amount of calcium as one glass of milk, an individual would need to eat five cups of cooked broccoli or 21 cups of raw spinach or 32 Brussels sprouts.1,2


    Types of milk and its versatility

    When it comes to milk, consumers can choose from a wide variety of different products; regular or full-fat, low-fat, skim, A2 and ultra-heat treated (UHT) milk are just some of the types available today.

    Milk is extremely versatile. It can be drunk on its own, added to breakfast cereal or included in coffee, tea or hot chocolate. Milk can also be used in smoothies or milkshakes as a great afternoon snack, or used in dairy-based desserts. These desserts, including custard, junkets and puddings, are best made at home as store-bought versions can be high in sugar and kilojoules.

    Milk is an important part of a balanced diet and the Australian Dietary Guidelines recommends consumption of all milk types.

    Flavoured milk

    While flavoured milk contains added sugar, it contains the same package of essential nutrients as plain milk and is associated with the same health benefits. Most Australians are not meeting the recommended serves of dairy and are instead consuming soft drink or other sugary beverages instead of opting for flavoured milk. Research has shown that children who drink flavoured milk are nearly twice as likely to meet their daily calcium targets as exclusively plain-milk drinkers. This same research also showed that drinking flavoured milk had no negative impact on children’s body weight.3 No relationship has been found between flavoured milk intake and the consumption of added sugars.4

    Flavoured milk can also play an important role in sports nutrition. Research has shown chocolate milk has a good mix of carbohydrates and protein which helps promote muscle glycogen resynthesis.5



    1 Weaver CM, Proulx WR, Heaney R. Choices for achieving adequate dietary calcium with a vegetarian diet. Am J Clin Nutr. 1999;70(3 Suppl):543-8S.

    2 Weaver CM, Plawecki KL. Dietary calcium: adequacy of a vegetarian diet. Am J Clin Nutr. 1994; 59(5 Suppl): 1238-41S.

    3 Fayet F, Ridges L, Wright J, Petocz P. Australian children who drink milk (plain or flavored) have higher milk and micronutrient intakes but similar body mass index to those who do not drink milk. Nutr Res. 2013;33(2):95-102.

    4 Johnson R, Frary C, Wang M. The nutritional consequences of flavored-milk consumption by school-aged children and adolescents in the United States. J Am Diet Assoc. 2002;102(6):853-56.

    5 Pritchett K, Pritchett R. Chocolate milk: a post-exercise recovery beverage for endurance sports. Med Sport Sci. 2012;59:127-34.

  • Yoghurt

    Yoghurt is a fermented dairy food made by adding live bacterial cultures to milk. Not only is yoghurt high in protein, it contains a package of essential nutrients including vitamin A, vitamin B12 and riboflavin. While yoghurt can be enjoyed on its own as a snack, it is also extremely versatile and makes a great addition to many meals.

    Several types of yoghurt are available for purchase including natural, flavoured, Greek/Greek-style and probiotic yoghurts. Probiotics are special ‘friendly’ bacteria that can promote intestinal health by restoring the balance between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ bacteria in the human gut.6 The live cultures added to yoghurt help to break down lactose, so yoghurt should be well tolerated in those with diagnosed cases of lactose intolerance.



    6 Balakrishnan M, Floch M. Prebiotics, probiotics and digestive health. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2012;15(6):580-85.

  • Cheese

    Cheese is a versatile and tasty snack made from four basic ingredients; milk, salt, starter culture and rennet.7 A wide range of cheese products exists so there’s something to suit everyone. Some of the versatile and delicious varieties include:

    • Cheddar-style cheeses including cheddar, colby and lacashire

    • Fresh unripened cheeses such as ricotta, feta and cottage cheese

    • Stretched curd varieties including mozzarella

    • White mould cheeses such as brie and camembert

    • Hard cheese including parmesan and pecorino

    • Blue cheese which can vary from mild to strong

    • Semi-hard cheeses such as gruyere, gouda and edam.

    Some people tend to avoid consuming cheese due to its salt and saturated fat content, however research has shown cheese plays an important role as part of a balanced diet as it contains many essential nutrients.

    The Australian Dietary Guidelines acknowledge consumption of cheese, and other dairy products, is associated with reduced risk of heart disease, stroke and hypertension and is not linked with weight gain.8 Cheese has also been shown to protect teeth against decay 9 and contains little-to-no lactose (depending on the variety) so is suitable for those with lactose intolerance.10




    7 Guinee T. Salting and the role of salt in cheese. Int J Dairy Technol. 2004;57(2-3):99-109.

    8 National Health and Medical Research Council. Australian Dietary Guidelines, Canberra: Commonwealth of Australia; 2013.

    9 Kashket S, DePaola D. Cheese consumption and the development and progression of dental caries. Nutr Rev. 2002;60(4):97-103.

    10 National Health and Medical Research Council. Australian Dietary Guidelines, Canberra: Commonwealth of Australia; 2013.

  • References for this page



    1 Weaver CM, Proulx WR, Heaney R. Choices for achieving adequate dietary calcium with a vegetarian diet. Am J Clin Nutr. 1999;70(3 Suppl):543-8S.

    2 Weaver CM, Plawecki KL. Dietary calcium: adequacy of a vegetarian diet. Am J Clin Nutr. 1994; 59(5 Suppl): 1238-41S.

    3 Fayet F, Ridges L, Wright J, Petocz P. Australian children who drink milk (plain or flavored) have higher milk and micronutrient intakes but similar body mass index to those who do not drink milk. Nutr Res. 2013;33(2):95-102.

    4 Johnson R, Frary C, Wang M. The nutritional consequences of flavored-milk consumption by school-aged children and adolescents in the United States. J Am Diet Assoc. 2002;102(6):853-56.

    5 Pritchett K, Pritchett R. Chocolate milk: a post-exercise recovery beverage for endurance sports. Med Sport Sci. 2012;59:127-34.

    6 Balakrishnan M, Floch M. Prebiotics, probiotics and digestive health. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2012;15(6):580-85.

    7 Guinee T. Salting and the role of salt in cheese. Int J Dairy Technol. 2004;57(2-3):99-109.

    8 National Health and Medical Research Council. Australian Dietary Guidelines, Canberra: Commonwealth of Australia; 2013.

    9 Kashket S, DePaola D. Cheese consumption and the development and progression of dental caries. Nutr Rev. 2002;60(4):97-103.

    10 National Health and Medical Research Council. Australian Dietary Guidelines, Canberra: Commonwealth of Australia; 2013.