The Consumer Education Project of Milk SA

What are fermented milk products?

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Milk can be fermented with live bacterial cultures, yeast or moulds to produce yoghurt, amasi, kefir, buttermilk, sour cream and many kinds of cheese.

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Fermented milk products are made from milk that has been treated with live bacterial cultures (usually lactic acid bacteria), yeast or mould. These products are also referred to as cultured milk products. Examples of fermented milk products include yoghurt, kefir, amasi, buttermilk, sour cream, cheese and cream cheese.

During fermentation some of the lactose in milk (milk sugar) is converted to lactic acid. This causes the milk to thicken. Due to this thicker consistency and the lower pH, fermented dairy products cause a relatively low glycaemic response, because the thickened milk delays emptying of the stomach and so slows the release of milk sugar into the bloodstream. In addition, fermented milk products may also enhance gastric function and potentially increase the number of microbes in the gut.

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