Nutritional Properties of Dairy Products

Project entitled:

Impact of the Structure of Dairy Products on their Nutritional Properties

Sylvie Turgeon, Michel Britten, Sylvie Gauthier, André Marette


Food is a source of nutrients that are essential to human health. Currently, health foods or functional foods are developed by adding bioactive molecules to traditional foods, but very few studies examine how the molecular and structural organization of foods’ nutrients affects their health properties. Nutrients from food matrices must be bioaccessible and then bioavailable in order to reach vital organs and be metabolized. Dairy proteins have significant nutritional value due to being made from essential amino acids and branched-chain amino acids that have an impact on several postprandial metabolic responses. These proteins also play a key technological role in the yogourt manufacturing process. Polysaccharides can be added into yogourt to stabilize it. Previous studies have shown that starches, pectins (stabilizers used by the dairy industry) and beta-glucans (stabilizers of interest for being a source of fibre) can modulate protein digestion (in vitro and in vivo) and certain postprandial metabolic responses. Lipids are incorporated differently depending on the structure of foods (milk, cheese, etc.), and little information is available on how lipids behave in a gastric environment and what impact they have on digestive processes. The wide variety of existing cheeses (composition, texture, etc.) suggests a potential heterogeneity in the digestion and absorption processes.