Milk is a natural source of 15 essential nutrients. Here’s a quick rundown of what they are, and some of the things they help your body do.

Dairy and your health facts

Choose your flavour

Whether you like to drink 1%, 2%, homogenized or chocolate milk, they all contain the same nutritional elements.

In round figures

Here’s a milk nutrition fact: Did you know a 200 ml glass of milk contains about the same amount of protein as one egg?


What if you’re lactose intolerant?

There are ways you can have dairy if you're lactose intolerant. Try drinking smaller portions, and drink milk with meals or other foods. Or eat lower-lactose cheeses like cheddar, Swiss, Edam, gouda or parmesan. You can also buy lactose-free milk or take lactase enzyme drops or tablets beforehand to reduce dairy intolerance symptoms.

What if you’re lactose intolerant?
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Dairy milk is milk that comes from cows. This differentiates it from milk produced by other animals, or products derived from plants (like nuts or soy).

It's important to check the labels of the foods you're buying for their exact nutrient content. Milk alternatives like soy and almond beverages tend to have low amounts of naturally occurring calcium and vitamin D, and are fortified as a result. The amount of fortification is not standardized, so the nutrient content may vary from product to product. For tips on how to understand nutrition facts tables, visit the Government of Canada's Understanding food labels page.

The main difference between skim, 1%, 2% and homogenized (3.25%) milk is the amount of milk fat. The following chart shows the comparative nutrient values of the various types of dairy milk. 

Nutritional value per 250 mL






Energy (kCal)

88 kCal

108 kCal

129 kCal

155 kCal

Total fat


3 g

5 g

8 g

Saturated fat

0.2 g

1.6 g

3.3 g

5.4 g


5 mg

13 mg

21 mg

26 mg


109 mg

113 mg

106 mg

103 mg


13 g

13 g

12 g / 4%

12 g / 4%


9 g

9 g

9 g

8 g


13 g

13 g

13 g

14 g

Vitamin A

158 RAE*

150 RAE*

142 RAE*

72 RAE*


324 mg

307 mg

302 mg

291 mg


0.1 mg

0.1 mg

0.1 mg

0.1 mg

Vitamin D

2.7 μg

2.6 μg

2.8 μg

2.7 μg

*Retinol activity equivalent,
Source: Health Canada

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