FYI Friday – Cow Milk, Soy Milk, Almond Milk…Which One To Drink?

Lately I have been noticing more and more people switching from dairy milk to milk alternatives and many healthy recipes calling for soy or almond milk. Personally, I have never considered dairy alternatives because I haven’t had a reason to. I am not lactose intolerant and I love dairy milk. But I figured there must be some reason everyone is switching. So let’s take a look at a couple popular milk & milk alternatives.

Dairy (Skim) SoGood Soy Original RiceDream Original Almond Breeze
Calories 90 kcal 110 kcal 120 kcal 60 kcal
Fat 0 g 4 g 2.5 g 2.5g
Saturated 0 g 0.6 g 0 g 0 g
Trans 0 g 0 g 0 g 0 g
Cholesterol 10 mg 0 g 0 g 0 g
Sodium 125 mg 100 mg 100 mg 150 mg
Carbohydrate 12 g 12 g 24 g 8 g
Fibre 0 g 0 g 0 g 1 g
Sugar 13 g 8 g 11 g 7 g
Protein 9 g 7 g 1 g 1 g
Vitamin A 10% DV 10% DV 0% DV 10% DV
Vitamin C 0% DV 4% DV 0% DV 0% DV
Calcium 30% DV 30% DV 2% DV 45% DV
Iron 0% DV 8% DV 2% DV 4% DV
Vitamin D 45% DV (vitamin D3) 45% DV (vitamin D2) Not listed 25% DV (vitamin D2)

 

When comparing these milks I noticed a few key things:

Calories:

Almond breeze has the lowest amount of calories. This may account for why so many recipes are calling for almond milk.

Sugar:

While dairy milk has the highest amount of sugar, this sugar is naturally occurring as lactose. Whereas in all other products, sugar is added.

Protein:

Dairy milk has the highest amount of protein per serving. Both rice & almond milk have very minimal protein per serving.

Vitamin D:

All products, except rice milk, have vitamin D added. However, only dairy milk uses vitamin D3. Vitamin D3 comes from animal sources therefore to keep products vegetarian/vegan friendly milk alternatives use Vitamin D2. Vitamin D3 is the preferred source for supplementation as it is more potent and more shelf stable. In fact in a 2006 article published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the authors stated, “Vitamin D2 should not be regarded as a nutrient suitable for supplementation or fortification”.

Ingredient Lists: 

Dairy milk:

Skimmed milk, Vitamin A Palmitate, Vitamin D3

dairymlk

So Good Soy Original
Filtered Water, Soy Protein (Whole Soybeans and Soy Protein Isolate),Cane Sugar, Canola Oil,Tricalcium Phosphate, Potassium Citrate,Natural Flavors, Dipotassium Phosphate, Magnesium Phosphate, Salt,Carrageenan, Zinc Gluconate, Ascorbic Acid, Niacin, Pantothenate,Riboflavin, Vitamin B6, Vitamin A, Thiamine, Folacin, Vitamin D2,Vitamin B12

sogood

Rice Dream Original:

filtered water, organic brown rice (partially milled), expeller pressed high oleic safflower oil, canola oil, sunflower oil, sea salt.

rice dream

Almond Breeze:

Almond Milk (Filtered water, almonds), evaporated cane juice, calcium carbonate, sea salt, potassium citrate, carrageenan, sunflower lecithin, vitamin A palmitate, vitamin D2, D-alpha-tocopherol (vitamin E)

almond

The number of ingredients in each of the milk alternatives is concerning. As always, less processed is always better. Also, consider that dairy milk contains a multitude of other vitamins such as Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, folate, potassium and magnesium. The milk alternatives add additional vitamins to compare to the nutritional profile of milk. However, the sum of ingredients is never as good as the whole.

My opinion:

Unless you have a reason to switch from dairy milk, I wouldn’t. Cows milk is natural and is the least processed. It contains the highest amount of protein per serving, the most potent form of Vitamin D and is a natural source of calcium.

Additionally, dairy regulations in Canada are very strict and therefore you can rest assured that milk does not contain any antibiotics or added growth hormones.

Have you tried milk alternatives? 

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2 thoughts on “FYI Friday – Cow Milk, Soy Milk, Almond Milk…Which One To Drink?

  1. I have and truly struggle with this as I’m trying to cut out as many animal products as possible. But cows milk is my #1 most favorite think and I just cannot find an alternative I can stomach. Someday I hope to give it up but I’m with you – its just not the same.

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