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Back to Other Nutrients

Nutrient Contribution

Dairy products are key contributors to the diets of Canadians. They provide a range of nutrients and help achieve optimal nutrient status.

Dairy products are a vital source of important nutrients, such as vitamin D and calcium. The contribution of milk products, including milk, yogurt and cheese, to the daily nutrient intake of Canadians is shown below.

Percentage contribution of dairy products to the daily nutrient intake of Canadians1

Nutrient Milk Yogurt Cheese Total dairy products
Calories 6.9 0.9 4.4 14.8
Protein 11.8 1.1 8.0 21.6
Total fat 6.7 0.5 9.1 20.4
Carbohydrates 5.6 1.0 0.4 9.5
Vitamin D 50.9 0.2 1.1 53.6
Vitamin A 22.5 0.4 7.4 33.6
Riboflavin 23.6 2.0 5.1 32.7
Vitamin B12 23.5 2.3 5.1 32.4
Calcium 37.6 3.4 19.1 62.0
Phosphorus 20.8 1.9 10.9 35.0
Zinc 10.4 1.3 6.9 19.7
Potassium 15.0 1.4 1.3 19.1
Magnesium 12.9 1.1 2.3 17.8

Note: Total dairy products includes all milk types, yogurt, cheese, cream, ice cream and other dairy products containing enough milk to be included in this category (i.e., most except butter).

The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2003-2006 showed that milk was the most significant contributor of vitamin D, vitamin A, riboflavin, calcium, phosphorus and potassium in the diet of US adults aged 19 and over, a situation similar to that in Canada.2 The survey also found that milk was the highest contributor of protein, vitamin B12 and magnesium for children and adolescents aged 2 to 18.3

Results from the NHANES showed that consuming one additional serving of milk or milk products can significantly increase vitamin D, calcium and phosphorus intake. Conversely, replacing milk or milk products with other foods can result in other nutrient shortfalls and decrease the overall diet quality, as nutrients from milk products, such as calcium, are difficult to replace.4

Keywords: calcium , vitamin D , Vitamin B12

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