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“I’ll have a hot half almond half soy milk latte thanks” …..I mean really?

Skim, whole, soy, rice, coconut, almond and the list goes on, I do not envy the role of the barista these days.  Alongside the long list of options, is the accompanying list of opinions about which is best for you and why.

Here’s some quick pros & cons on the most common varieties to help you navigate the world of milk!

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Cow’s Milk

PROS

  • Hands down cows milk has the most calcium than any other milk.
  • Double the protein of most other milk
  • Several options available, including fat-free, 1%, 2% and whole milk

CONS

  • Not suitable for those who are lactose intolerant

Goat’s Milk

PROS

  • Easier to digest for many people than cow’s milk
  • Just as much calcium as the whole milk variety of cow’s milk
  • More tryptophan than cow’s milk. Tryptophan is an essential amino acid

CONS

  • Contains lactose, giving it the same disadvantage as cow’s milk
  • The flavor isn’t for everyone. Somewhere between sweet and salty. Definitely an acquired taste

Soy Milk

PROS

  • High in calcium and protein
  • Contains no saturated fat
  • Good alternative for those who are lactose intolerant
  • Least processed of all the alternative milks
  • Low in calories

CONS

  • Soy milk has a thicker texture and often gets lumpy near the bottom of the container
  • Many people don’t like the taste
  • May inhibit mineral and protein absorption
  • Some studies show that soy consumption can increase the risk of breast cancer
  • Soy is a common food allergy for many, but most common in children

Coconut Milk

PROS

  • Rich, creamy and full of flavour
  • Great for cooking, in particular Thai and Indian cuisine
  • Easily digestible
  • Contains “healthy fats” that are rich in lauric acid
  • Low in carbs, cholesterol and sodium

CONS

  • Very high in calories
  • Low in protein and calcium
  • High in saturated fat
  • Not safe if you’re allergic to nuts
  • Some people find the flavour a little overwhelming or too rich – I am not one of them, personally I think if you like coconut (which I do) you will love the taste

Rice Milk

PROS

  • Very Low in calories and fat
  • Comes in soy-free and lactose-free varieties
  • Has a nice, light, sweet taste
  • Good option if you have soy or nut allergies
  • Lactose free

CONS

  • No vitamin A or C
  • Very limited protein content
  • Lacks nutrition overall
  • Considered a hi-GI food

Almond Milk

PROS

  • Pleasant, rich, nutty taste
  • Similar nutritional profile to dairy milk
  • Several available flavors
  • Several vitamins and minerals
  • Does not contain cholesterol or lactose

CONS

  • Very little protein compared to cow’s milk
  • Lacks vitamin B
  • Some varieties have lots of added sugar
  • Not safe for those with nut allergies (obviously)

 

So which is best for you? The truth is, the answer will be very different for each individual depending on your health and fitness goals, personal tastes and allergies. Hopefully this guide helps you easily ascertain which variety suits your lifestyle and goals.

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