Is there a nutritional difference between UHT and normal milk?
Posted by kathryn in Uncategorized
In this week’s Q & A Thursday, the first question is:
In our household we have both full cream fresh milk (for my cereal) and UHT skim milk (for my partner’s protein shakes). Can you advise if he would be better switching to fresh skim milk, or is there no discernable difference?
What is UHT?
UHT stands for ultra-high temperature processing. Milk is heated at a temperature of 135°C for 1 – 2 seconds. This is done to sterilise the milk and kills virtually all bacteria – meaning the milk can be kept for longer, without refrigeration.
Does it change the nutrient content of the milk?
If you compare the basic nutrient levels between UHT and normal milk, there’s very little difference between the two. There’s a really tiny difference in their potassium, calcium and levels – but not enough to be nutritionally significant. While almost every other nutrient is the same.
When you compare how absorbable those nutrients are, there is a difference. The UHT process damages some of the proteins in milk, which makes them less digestible.
It’s possible the UHT process may also affect the availability of some of the calcium in UHT milk – although this is still being determined.
Yes there is a nutritional difference between UHT and normal milk. You’re losing useful protein if you drink UHT milk, and possibly also some of the calcium. I’d advise making the switch to fresh skim milk.
Warning – brain exploding medical speak alert:
What is Q & A Thursday?
This post is part of Q & A Thursday – a fortnightly burst of blogging, where you get to dictate the subject matter. Q & A Thursday is all about simple, practical answers to food and diet dilemmas sent in by readers.