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Milk

Updated: Dec 27, 2022

So we all know every month or so there's a new faze out there regarding which milk is the best. I thought I'd give you a quick easy version of milk so you can make your own decision!


Cow's Milk (semi-skimmed and skimmed)

Benefits: It is easily available to purchase. It is a source of protein, calcium, iodine, vitamin B2 and high in vitamin B12. Skimmed milk contains higher levels of calcium than semi-skimmed milk (which in turn has more than whole milk) due to the processing. Skimmed milk has had most of the fat removed and is a great choice if you're watching your calorie and fat levels.

Downsides: Small numbers of people have a full-blown allergy to the protein in cows milk and some are intolerant to lactose - although nowadays lactose-free versions of cow milk are available.


Almond Milk (unsweetened)

Benefits: Its dairy free, low in fat and calories and unless you buy an organic version usually fortified with calcium and vitamins D, E, B2 and B12.

Downsides: It's low in protein. Although some contain vitamins D and E, these are fat soluble so may not be absorbed unless you're having the milk with a higher fat food.


Coconut Milk

Benefits: It's dairy free and has a pleasing taste, making it one of the most popular alternatives. It's fortified with vitamins B12 and D.

Downsides: Although low in natural sugars and calories, it contains more saturated fat than other milk, including semi-skimmed. Plus it's not all that comparable to cows milk from a nutrition point of view.


Soya Milk (sweetened and unsweetened)

Benefits: it's dairy free but almost comparable to cows milk in its high protein content. Plus it's low in fat, and a source of calcium if fortified.

Downsides: People who are intolerant to the protein in the cows milk are often intolerant to the protein in soya milk too. In fact there may be up to a 50% crossover, so it may not work as an alternative for everyone.


Rice Milk

Benefits: It's dairy free. Many are fortified with calcium and vitamin B12.

Downsides: It contains low levels of arsenic, and for this reason the Food Standards Agency advises against children under four-and-a-half having it at all. It's higher in sugars than other milk alternatives.


Oat Milk

Benefits: It's dairy free. Oat milks are often a source of fibre, in particular beta-glucan, a type of soluble fibre linked to improve blood sugar and cholesterol levels. Some brands have added calcium and sometimes vitamins D, B2 and B12.

Downsides: it's relatively low in protein.


Goat's Milk

Benefits: Nutritionally, it's the most similar to full-fat cows milk. Some people who can't tolerate cow's milk find goat's milk easier to digest.

Downsides: Around 90% of people with a true allergy to cow's milk protein (as opposed to lactose intolerance) will also have an allergy to goat's milk protein.


So I hope this has cleared some milk facts up for you!


In a nutshell here are some quick references per 100ml.


Calories

Best: Soya Milk

Worst: Goat's Milk (full-fat)


Fat

Best: Cow's Milk (skimmed)

Worst: Goat's Milk (full-fat)


Saturated Fat

Best: Rice Milk & Cow's Milk (skimmed)

Worst: Goat's Milk (full-fat)


Sugars

Best: Almond (unsweetened) & Soya (unsweetened)

Worst: Rice Milk


Protein

Best: Cow's Milk (skimmed and semi-skimmed)

Worst: Rice Milk


Calcium

Best: Soya Milk

Worst: Goat's Milk (full-fat)

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