Diet Diva
Diet Diva

Get advice on healthy eating, nutrition, and weight loss from expert dietitian Tara Gidus. 

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What Kind of “Milk” are You Drinking?

Examining the many varieties of milk to meet your nutritional needs.

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Milk Alternatives.One staple of the American diet? Milk! Milk is great for strong bones and a healthy body, but even though milk is an important part of our diets, individuals may require or desire other versions. This may be due to lactose intolerance (lactose is only in cow’s milk) and other allergies, or simply due to preference.

So, how do other milk options compare? Let’s find out!

Cow’s Milk

Whole milk can be high in fat, but skim or low-fat versions provide less fat with all of the nutrients. Cow’s milk is naturally a good source of protein and calcium, which are both important for our health.  If you are lactose intolerant, you can still stick with cow’s milk, but choose the lactose-free variety (look for it on labels).

Soy Milk

Soy milk is made from ground soybeans. Soy milk is the highest non-dairy source of protein, but the flavored versions can be high in sugar and those with soy allergies may not be able to consume this product.

Almond Milk

Almond milk is a product made from ground almonds and water. It’s low in calories at 60 calories per cup, with low levels of fat. It provides calcium, and is a good option for those with allergies to soy or dairy. Almond milk provides roughly 1 gram of protein per serving compared to 8 grams in cow’s milk.

Rice Milk

Rice milk is made from ground rice and is free of soy and nuts, making it good for those with allergies. It is also low in fat and calories, but provides little nutritional value and contains 1 gram of protein.

Hemp Milk

Hemp milk is a milk substitute made from ground hemp seeds, giving it a nutty flavor. Hemp milk provides 2 grams of protein and is soy and lactose free. It has also been found to be an adequate option for those with nut allergies. Higher in fat than the other milk options, it does contain ALA omega-3 fats.

The many varieties of milk available can be confusing, but having options is great for those with allergies. Try out the many products and choose whichever ones fit your nutritional needs!

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Tags: Hydration , Nutrition Trends , Protein , Vegetarian

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About the Author


MS, RD, CSSD, LD/N

Tara Gidus is a nationally recognized expert and spokesperson on nutrition and fitness.

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