Milk – Do You Know Your Options?

We all need calcium and milk is a good source, but what is the best milk for you?

Have you found that you aren’t as tolerable to milk or milk products as maybe when you were young?  It is becoming more common to be lactose intolerable or have an allergic reaction to milk.  Listed below are different kinds of milk to help you decide what you should be drinking:

1. Cow’s Milk.  Americans consume about 583 million cups annually, according to 2008 statistics from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.  One cup provides about 30% of your daily requirement (around 300 mg).  All cow’s milk is fortified with vitamin D, which the body needs to absorb calcium.  If you’re counting calories, choose nonfat milk, which has less than half the calories of whole milk (about 80 calories per cup versus about 150 calories) and slightly more calcium.  Here’s the fat content:

  • Skim milk - less than 0.5 grams of fat per 8-ounce glass
  • 1% milk – about 2 grams of fat per 8-ounce glass
  • 2% milk - about 5 grams of fat per 8-ounce glass
  • Whole milk – 8 grams of fat per 8-ounce glass

2. Goat’s milk is popular in other parts of the world and is gaining popularity here in the U.S.  It has even more calcium than cow’s milk.  It has more than 30% of your daily value, and more tryptophan, an essential amino acid that helps the body process protein.  It does contain lactose, so be careful if you have a lactose intolerance.

3. Soy Milk is a popular alternative.  It is made by soaking soybeans and grinding them with water to create a milky liquid.  It also comes in many flavors – vanilla or chocolate, for example – that are great in coffee, smoothies or just plain.  Soy milk is rich in protein and doesn’t have saturated fat.  A big plus from drinking soy milk is that  consuming 25 grams of soy protein daily in any form may reduce the risk of heart disease, according to the FDA (Food an Drug Administration).  Because it is low in calcium, supplements may be needed for your daily requirement.

4. Almond Milk is made by soaking ground-up almonds.  It comes refrigerated or on the shelf in plain and in vanilla and chocolate flavors.  It is a great choice for people with allergies to dairy, soy or rice. The rich, nutty taste makes it good for smoothies, coffee and baked goods.  It is a natural source for calcium and vitamin E.  It  provides 20%-30% of the daily recommended value of calcium.  It’s also low in calories and saturated fat.

5. Rice Milk is a dairy-free beverage made from ground rice isn’t as thick as cow’s milk.  It comes in plain or vanilla flavors, and you’ll find it refrigerated or on the shelf.  It’s good for dieters as it has no saturated fat and 1-2 grams of heart-healthy unsaturated fat per cup.  But, it isn’t a match for cow’s protein.  It is also a carbohydrate.

6. Hemp Milk and is made from hemp plant seeds, which don’t contain THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the psychoactive ingredient  found in marijuana.  (It is legal.)  It is a good choice as a dairy-free alternative.  It matches cow’s milk protein content with 6-8 grams per cup – and it’s free of saturated fat with fiber to aid your digestive system.

7. Oat Milk is a non-dairy alternative and is made from ground up oat groats (the broken-up hulled grain). It has a mild, nutty flavor and is free of unsaturated fats.  It is higher in calories than cow’s milk, so be careful if you’re counting calories.

8. Coconut Milk is made from coconuts, with the meat and juice combined to make this rich, creamy milk that’s a staple in Indian and Thai cuisine.  It’s very good in oatmeal and smoothies too.  A little goes a long way because it has a strong, sweet flavor.  It generous amounts of phosphorous, potassium and fiber (5 grams per cup), but it is also very high in calories.

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  1. Nice! I like experimenting with different milks and this was really informative.

  2. Your article was very informative. I drink Smart Balance milk. It is fat free milk, but it tastes like whole milk. I also drink skim milk when the store does not have Smart Balance milk. The only problem is that skim milk tastes watered down now that I drink Smart Balance milk.

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  4. Interesting milk varieties

  5. nice post

  6. I have never had Hemp or Oat milk… I like and have tried all the others. Thank you for the comment, take care!

  7. Thanks for all your comments.

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