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Nutrition Facts of Buttermilk: Health Benefits and Side Effects

Nutrition Facts Of Buttermilk

Buttermilk is a type of fermented dairy product, usually made from cow’s milk. It is commonly used in baking and as a drink that is poured over cereal, biscuits or pancakes.

It is made from cream that was churned until butter had formed. It has long been an important source of food in the regions surrounding the Middle East, Eastern Europe, and South Asia.

Buttermilk is more sour than regular milk; it also contains a higher level of fat and lower level of lactose.

People who are lactose intolerant can find solace in buttermilk because it is low in lactose. But what other health benefits and side effects does buttermilk have?.

Learn all about the nutrition facts of buttermilk and why it is such an important part of a balanced diet.

Nutrition Facts of Buttermilk, Low Fat (1%)

Below is a nutrition information provided by the USDA for 1fl oz (30.5 g) of buttermilk.

  • Water: 27.5g
  • Energy: 12.2kcal
  • Protein: 1.01g
  • Fat: 0.326g
  • Carbohydrate: 1.46g
  • Fiber: 0g
  • Sugars: 1.46g
  • Calcium: 35.4mg
  • Iron: 0.015mg
  • Magnesium: 3.36mg
  • Phosphorus: 27.1mg
  • Potassium: 46.1mg
  • Sodium: 45.1mg
  • Zinc: 0.128mg
  • Vitamin C: 0.305mg

Nutrition Facts of Cultured Buttermilk

Cultured buttermilk is the by-product of the butter-making process. Due to it’s short shelf life and rapid changes in taste due to oxidation, buttermilk is usually fermented to improve the keeping quality and to stabilise the flavour. It is not only made from fresh buttermilk but due to the lack of consistent supply of fresh buttermilk, skimmed milk is now also being used as the basis for cultured buttermilk.

Cultured buttermilk is a viscous liquid with a mild lactic acid flavour, and is consumed as a refreshing drink or used as an ingredient in various baked products.

1cup of cultured buttermilk contains:

  • Energy: 149kcal
  • Protein: 7.99g
  • Fat: 7.99g
  • Carbohydrate: 13g
  • Fiber: 0g
  • Sugars: 11g
  • Calcium: 300mg
  • Iron: 0mg
  • Sodium: 269mg
  • Vitamin C: 0mg
  • Vitamin A: 300IU
  • Saturated fatty acids: 4.99g
  • Trans fatty acids: 0g
  • Cholesterol: 36mg

Ingredients: Cultured buttermilk, contains less than 1% of food starch-modified (corn), locust bean gum, carrageenan, salt and sodium citrate.


The fat content of buttermilk is high, about 6% to 20% compared to skim milk (0.3%–0.4%).

Fatty Acids

Around 40% of fatty acids present in buttermilk are saturated by dry weight. Non-conjugated penta-unsaturated acids make up the rest of the volume.

Health Benefits of Buttermilk

Consuming buttermilk on regular basis offers many health benefits.

1. Contains All Essential Macronutrients

Buttermilk is a complete food. It is nutritive and contains all the elements necessary for a good balanced diet. It has proteins, carbohydrates, minimal lipids, vitamins and essential enzymes that makes a complete meal anywhere, anytime. It should be included in all diets and be consumed daily.

As over 90% of buttermilk is water, it’s consumption helps to maintain the water balance of the body. It is absorbed slowly from the intestines as it’s contents are mostly combined with proteins. It is better to drink buttermilk than any other flavored drink. Fermented buttermilk is sour to taste, but biologically is very nutritive for the body and tissues.

2. Cooling Effect On The Digestive Tract

Buttermilk has a tendency to wash down spicy food and soothes the lining of the stomach when consumed after a piquant meal. The additives of ginger, cumin powder and other condiments also relieve the stomach of any irritation that may have been caused due to the food.

It is well-liked by women, as it reduces body heat and alleviates many symptoms. For those looking for relief from hot flashes, buttermilk is a great way to counterbalance these irritating symptoms.

Even men who have a high metabolic rate and body temperature can take advantage of buttermilk to reduce body heat.

3. Encourages Digestion And Treats Stomach Ailments

Buttermilk has a fair amount of acid in it which works against bacteria and helps clear stomach and aids in digestion.

All the condiments added to buttermilk make very good digestive agents. Ginger, pepper and cumin all make excellent digestive properties.

As they are carminative substances they expel gas from the stomach. Consumed together they have a cooling and digestive effect on the gastrointestinal tract.

A preparation of buttermilk drunk regularly also helps gastrointestinal conditions. Some of the digestive ailments cured by buttermilk include:

  • Irregular bowel movements
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Cancer of the colon
  • Stomach infections
4. Effective Against Dehydration

Made from yogurt with added salt and spices, buttermilk is an effective therapy to prevent dehydration. It is full of electrolytes and is one of the best drinks to fight against the heat and loss of water from the body. In summer, it is truly a drink to relish.

5. Rich in Vitamins

Buttermilk contains vitamin B complex and vitamin D. This makes buttermilk a good choice to overcome weakness and anemia caused by vitamin insufficiency. Vitamin D present in buttermilk strengthens the immune system, making it less susceptible to infections. One serving of this drink gives you over 21% of the suggested daily intake.

A natural remedy for lowering and controlling blood cholesterol is buttermilk. It’s constituents are very effective in keeping cholesterol under check.

Different Types of Buttermilk

Sweet Cream Buttermilk: Produced from sweet milk which is converted to cream, then converts again to butter and buttermilk. It has a taste similar to regular skim milk.

Sour Cream Buttermilk: Made from raw, unpasteurized sour milk. The milk is allowed to sour naturally prior to churning.

Cultured Buttermilk: Produced by addition of bacterial culture, which provides a rich, fuller and tangier flavor.

Commercial Buttermilk: Milk is not used to make butter, instead manufacturers add bacterial cultures to skim or low-fat cow’s milk and let it mature.

Does Buttermilk Have Side Effects?

Lactose intolerance in adults is common worldwide. People with lactose intolerance are not able to consume whole milk as consumption may cause abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea and flatulence.

Inability to digest lactose occurs due to the absence or presence of lactase in low levels in the small intestine.

However, people suffering from lactose intolerance can consume buttermilk as an alternative for whole milk.

The microflora present in buttermilk have the ability to metabolize lactose. The metabolic activity of microbes converts lactose in lactic acid which is easy to digest.

Additionally, buttermilk helps in the removal of undesired stomach acid by creating a layer on the lining of the stomach and moving the acid through esophagus.

Buttermilk is safe and has no side effects, however consumption should be in moderation.

Preparation of Buttermilk

Buttermilk can be prepared from toned milk, which is heated to 90°C for 5min-10 min. The milk is cooled to 40-42°C.

At the same time, an adequate quantity of starter culture about 1%-2% is added to milk, which is agitated for 10-15 min for proper mixing of culture in culture vats.

Curd formed after incubation period is then broken with agitators with the addition of pasteurized chilled water at 4°C, followed by homogenization for the uniform mixing of the curd particles.

The buttermilk is then subjected to thermisation to inactivate psychrotrophic bacteria in milk followed by addition of additives to impart characteristic taste and flavor to the product.

Storage of Buttermilk

Buttermilk should be kept in the refrigerator below 40°F (4.4°C) to prevent bacterial growth. Avoid storing it in the door of your fridge, which usually experiences the most temperature changes. Avoid leaving buttermilk at room temperature.

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