You may or may not have a problem with cow milk. But if your body can’t tolerate it from an allergy or digesting its lactose to worrying about antibiotics and other chemicals that many brands have or if you’re starting a vegan diet, you may have switched to plant based beverages vs. cow milk, especially now with dairy prices climbing each week lately. For this reason, let me break down the best of those milk alternatives for health, diet and often your budget if opting for a store brand.
Almond milk has a lot to offer if you trying to watch your weight with only approximately 40 calories per cup compared to whole fat cow milk with 152 calories. Of course, in reduced fat dairy such as 2% with 122 calories, 1% milk has 106 calories, and the skim has 84 calories. However, this choice falls short for protein with only one gram per cup compared to eight in whole milk dairy, five in 2%, two in 1%, and none in a skim.
Another advantage of almond milk is that it has fewer carbohydrates (two grams per cup) compared to regular whole milk with 12 grams, which is perfect if you’re watching your blood sugar.
To be fair, almond milk lacks the same rich natural nutritional components as its counterpart, but formulas have been fortified with vitamin D, calcium to more protein to their own vitamins and minerals that put it for a nearly close match. Yet, it has more vitamin E to offer than dairy milk, which hardly amounts to much, especially when buying lower fat or no fat choices.
Maybe you crave that creaminess of regular dairy. If so, then oat milk has a better texture and that nutty sweet taste than the thinner plant based beverages with a bit more fiber. You get fiber, a bit more protein than almond at three grams per cup, but nearly as many calories with 122 as regular milk in the same amount. This is an ideal choice for those watching their cholesterol levels.
Some people prefer coconut milk, but if you’re trying to get protein this is not a great option unless the formula is enriched or you select a canned version over the carton that is diluted. If you’re trying to strengthen your immune system, then this choice has lauric acid with a special ability to help deal with inflammation and killing bacteria, viruses and fungi that may be present in your system.
Soy milk is a close counterpart to regular in rich consistency and contributing protein and similar nutrition. It also has a longer shelf life and makes a wonderful choice for those on vegan diets or with nut allergies. However, if you have gout, you want to avoid soy milk. Though the studies are not conclusive, there is reason to believe that soy protein may raise uric acid levels to make your condition worse.
Each of these plant based alternatives for cow milk has pluses and minuses to offer when making your choice.