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Despite having a relatively low level by itself, milk is considered an important source of protein, particularly in Western cultures. High protein milk exists in various forms, including milk harvested from cows that simply have higher protein levels, powdered milk supplements or other dairy products. Processed dairy products such as cheese and milk additionally contain high levels of protein.
Due to the amount of water present, milk has a fairly low quantity of protein. The casein protein found in milk, however, is considered to be of high quality. Casein protein contains all essential amino acids. Skim milk and whole milk contain almost the same amount of casein protein.
Certain types of cows produce milk higher in protein than others. In 2003, dairy cows in New Zealand were genetically cloned that produced milk with unusually high protein levels, for example. Genetically modified animals, such as these cows, are often administered growth hormones. This is considered a controversial practice, as such hormones are often transmitted through the animal and into the harvested milk.
A high protein milk mixture may be concocted at home by mixing skim, low-fat, or whole milk with a dried milk powder. Powdered milk contains a high amount of protein per ounce due to the fact that all water is evaporated from the product. By mixing it with liquid milk, protein levels are kept high without either the liquid or dried product being diluted by any other adjunct.
Other high protein milk products include cheeses and yogurts. Like powdered milk, much of the water is removed from cheese and yogurt during processing, resulting in a higher protein content than liquid milk. Cheddar, mozzarella, cream cheese, and Parmesan have relatively low levels of protein when compared to cottage cheese. A serving of cottage cheese, however, is often larger in volume than a serving of any of the aforementioned cheeses. Cottage cheese is often considered to be a meal in itself, particularly when mixed with fruit.
Yogurt is among the most healthful of high protein milk products. Non-fat yogurt tends to have a higher level of protein than whole milk yogurt, and Greek yogurt is considered an excellent protein source as well. Other health advantages of yogurt include the presence of live cultures such as acidopholous and bifidus, which promote healthy digestion, and calcium, which is found in all milk products.
High protein milk products may be used in practicing a high protein diet. Such a diet aids in the building of lean muscle mass, but may be at the expense of fruit and vegetable intake. As higher levels of protein in the diet require a higher need for vitamin and mineral intake, a balanced diet is recommended not to be overlooked.