Got milk? Which one?

Nowadays it seems like a new type of milk appears on the market every week, but with so many options to choose from, where do you even begin? What are the pros to putting rice milk in your coffee? The downsides of coconut milk in your cereal? To make sure you get the most out of your morning breakfast, we’ve compiled a list of the pros and cons of some of the most popular milk choices out there. Got milk?

Cow’s milk

The pros

We’ve all grown up knowing the benefits of cow’s milk and anyone can tell you that it’s high in calcium as well as protein. But did you know that it’s also a great source of the vitamins A, B12, and D. As with most foods, organic is the way to go– and if you get the chance, organic and grass-fed cows provide the healthiest milk.

The cons

One of the main arguments against cow’s milk is that it contains hormones that can throw off our own hormonal balance, as well as contributing to weight gain and acne. Cow’s milk is also high in saturated fat, so the rest of your diet should also affect your choice of milk. You should also only drink two servings a day, so if milk is a staple in your diet, maybe switch to another option.

Try it with…

Cereal, porridge, and a huge variety of hot drinks.

Soy milk

The pros

The original dairy-free alternative to cow’s milk, soy milk offers a large selection of health benefits, including: heaps of protein, few calories, and virtually no saturated fat. Although soy milk has been the focus of many ‘does it cause or prevent cancer’ arguments, new research is pointing to the latter.

The cons

With so many types of soy milk on the market, you have to be careful with what you buy. Make sure you stick to the unsweetened varieties, as the added sugar in the sweetened types can really add up. So if you’re watching your sugar intake, keep this in mind at the grocery store.

Try it with…

Hot drinks and homemade baked goods.

Almond milk

The pros

With its mild taste and creamy consistency, almond milk is a great transition milk for someone looking to ditch the dairy. It’s low in calories, low in fat, and certain varieties even have up to 50% more calcium than cow’s milk. It’s also a great way to get extra vitamins A, D, and E into your diet.

The cons

Unfortunately, almond milk falls short in its protein offerings, providing only one gram per cup. Some brands do offer almond milk with added protein, but be careful when searching for these other varieties, as sweetened almond milk is often very high in sugar.

Try it with…

Perfect for breakfast – put it in your coffee or smoothies.

Rice milk

The pros

If you suffer from food related allergies or a sensitive stomach, rice milk might be for you. Having an allergy to rice is very rare, making rice milk a good all-round substitute to cow’s milk.

The cons

Though great if you have allergies, rice milk isn’t free from its health issues. It is seriously lacking in protein, only offering one gram per serving, and it’s not particularly low in calories compared to some of the other options on the list. It’s also worth noting that as a rice-based food, it is quite high in carbohydrates.

Try it with…

Due to its sweet flavour, rice milk is great for desserts!

Coconut milk

The pros

If you’re counting calories, then coconut milk is a good choice for you, with unsweetened varieties offering about 45 calories per cup.

The cons

However good those few calories look, you should also note that coconut milk is higher in saturated fat than most other milk alternatives. It also provides little calcium and no protein, so probably shouldn’t be used as your only form of milk.

Try it with…

If you’re a fan of the taste of coconut, this will be a great addition to your baking repertoire.

With each form of milk offering a huge variation of pros and cons, there is no universal answer to the question “which milk is good for me”. It will depend on your diet and exactly what benefits you’re looking for in your milk. Good luck!

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Rosy Parrish

Rosy Parrish grew up in Britain and now lives in Madrid. She divides her time between teaching English, writing about expat life, and befriending dogs in the street.

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