Are All Milks Created Equal?

Hi Leah Renee!  

I have been feeling  a little overwhelmed lately at all the milk options at the grocery store.  Some of my friends drink almond milk, some drink soy…which kind of milk is best for me? ~Nel, RI

The milk section of the grocery store seems to have spread from a small refrigerated section at one point in time to now taking up an entire aisle of the grocery store (in addition to the refrigerated area)! More options can lead to more confusion.  Not only are there different kinds of milk to choose from, there are different variations of them too (full-fat, low fat, non-fat or skim, chocolate or vanilla, sweetened or unsweetened?!)!  To top it all off, there are so many different brands all promising the best if we choose theirs!  With all the varieties out there we wonder if we’re choosing the ‘right’ one.

Truth be told, there is not one in particular that is right for all of us, but there will be one or more that is right for each of us.  So long as we know what each one has to offer, we can make an educated decision based on our own diet preferences, restrictions…or mood!.   It may also help cut down all that extra time spent staring at and inspecting each label while we’re grocery shopping.  If you are consuming one (or more) of these beverages daily, I recommend choosing one that is low in sugar (there are unsweetened vanilla options that are quite tasty) and something lower in calories.

Here are your options:

Goat’s Milk

  • A nutritious, allergy-free alternative to cow’s milk
  • Contains high levels of calcium and protein for strong bones  (a cup of goat’s milk supplies 32% of the daily value for calcium—higher than cow’s milk at 27%)
  • Easy to digest (and great for babies with colic and/or frequent vomiting)
  • Been known to prevent migraine headaches (it is a natural anti-inflammatory)
  • High in potassium which is  important in maintaining healthy blood pressure
  • Promotes energy production (from the Riboflavin otherwise known as B2) and heart health

Nutrition Facts (one cup): 89 calories, 2.4g fat, 9.4g sugar, 7.39g protein

By the way, I know the topic is Milk here…but Goat’s Milk soap is INCREDIBLE.  Leaves skin silky smooth and it’s natural.  Love it.

Fun Fact: About 65% of the milk consumed around the globe comes from goat’s milk.

Soy Milk 

  • A good alternative to cow’s milk since it does not contain lactose
  • Provides vitamins and minerals such as vitamin A, vitamin C, and iron
  • Fortified soy milk contains vitamin D (helps with calcium absorption and good for immune function), B12 (for energy), calcium, and potassium (great for muscles and nerves)
  • If you choose the chocolate or vanilla versions…well…you get a healthy(-er) treat.  Also available in regular, unsweetened, and organic.
  • Depending on the one you choose, in can contain less calories and sugar than cow’s milk.  Regular versions tend to be on par with cow’s milk as far as calorie and sugar content goes.
  • PLEASE choose the organic variety.  Just say no to GMO’s–and from what we’re told organic does not contain any.

Nutrition Facts (one cup of Unsweetened): 80 calories, 4g fat, 2g sugar, 7g protein

Due to GMO’s, be sure to choose organic soy milk when making your selection. Earth BalanceTrader Joe’s Organic Original Soy Milk, Whole Foods Organic Soy Milk, and Organic Valley Unsweetened Soy Milk are all good options.

Almond Milk

  • Another good alternative to cow’s milk (no lactose)
  • Low calorie content
  • Limited affects on blood sugar levels
  • Contains 50% of the daily allowance vitamin E, great for the skin
  • A great form of Calcium (not only because of almonds themselves, but it’s fortified)
  • No cholesterol
  • Great if you follow a vegan diet

Make it yourself!!!  One cup nuts per 4 cups of water.
Soaking them first reaps the best outcome; whether you have one hour to soak them or 8, any amount of soaking will suffice, but more is best!

Little tip:  Pour your almond milk into an ice cube tray for homemade ice cream and smoothies!!!

Nutrition Facts (one cup of unsweetened): 40 calories, 3.5g fat, 0g sugar, 1g protein

*As you can see, there is a negligible amount of protein found in almond milk.  If you are used to having another type of milk (with protein) and decide to switch to this one, make sure to be mindful and add a little protein to your diet so you’re not missing out.

Rice Milk 

What you get:

  • A high-carb alternative to cow’s milk or if you have soy allergies
  • Free of cholesterol and saturated fat
  • Fortified versions will give you some calcium, vitamin D, B vitamins, iron, and magnesium though not to the extend of other options
  • A smooth, mild taste

Nutrition Facts (one cup): 120 calories, 2.5g fat, 10g sugar, 1g protein
*Just like the Almond Milk, there is a negligible amount of protein found in Rice Milk.  Unless you really just enjoy the flavor of rice milk or have particular reasons to have it and not another type of milk, I would probably not make this a first choice due to its calorie and sugar content.

Cow’s Milk 

What you get:

  • A great amount of calcium and vitamin D; studies show calcium-rich dairy foods have the ability to boost the body’s burning of fat after a meal
  • A good source of protein
  • A good source of riboflavin (B2) and B12, both great for energy production
  • Can help promote thyroid function with its iodine content
  • A good source of vitamin A

*Just like soy milk, it’s really important to select organic milk free of added hormones.

*Raw Cow’s Milk can be found in some health stores across the country and farmer’s markets.  It contains many health benefits including all 20 standard amino acids.  Many people who find it difficult to digest milk may notice they’re able to digest raw milk without any problem at all.  That decision is up to you, as consuming raw anything can come with its risks.

Nutrition Facts (one cup of 2%): 120 calories, 3.5g fat, 12g sugar, 8g protein
*There are different varieties from whole milk to non-fat and the nutrition facts will vary depending.  More fat = less sugar.  Less fat = more sugar.

Hemp Milk 

  • Omega-3 and Omega-6 Fatty Acids
  • All 10 essential amino acids
  • No Cholesterol
  • Vitamin A, vitamin D, B12, vitamin E, iron, and calcium because it’s fortified
  • An earthy taste
  • Vegan friendly

Nutrition Facts (one cup, Unsweetened Vanilla): 70 calories, 6g fat, 0g sugar, 2g protein

*Hemp Milk has a very earthly taste.  Great to use as the base liquid for smoothies.  I’ve personally had some very decent tasting mint chip hemp ice cream!

Coconut Milk

  • A tasty dairy alternative
  • Nut free, gluten free, vegan
  • A low calorie beverage that’s great for smoothies or a yummy alternative for sugary drinks = weight loss!
  • A range of vitamins and minerals.  It contains a substantial amount of B12 (energy!), magnesium, zinc, and selenium.
  • Medium chain fatty acids (MCFAs).  There is not a negative effect on cholesterol and can help protect against heart disease.  Potential weight loss & control.

Nutrition Facts: 50 calories, 5g fat, 1g sugar, 1g protein

As you can see….there certainly are a lot to choose from!  Depending on whether you’re watching your calorie intake, your sugar intake, are lactose intolerant, or just feel like changing it up, there’s a milk out there for you!  Enjoy one or many!  My personal preferences vary whether I’m making a smoothie, adding it to coffee, or having a warm cup of it before bed like this one.

Cheers!!! 🙂

What milk is your fave??

2 comments

  1. Leah is there a difference for Soy and Almond milk found on the shelf or the fridge in the store? I always wonder why some have longer “shelf” life

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