Dairy milk is a good source for many nutrients, but its ubiquity has created problems for those who avoid it because they are lactose intolerant or have eliminated animal products from their diet. The variety of dairy and nondairy milks on the market today means they all have their own pros and cons.
Here we compare cow’s milk with a few of the most popular milk alternatives. Many varieties also are fortified with additional vitamins and minerals, so you’ll need to read the labels to know exactly what is and isn’t in the products you buy.
This is sold in three different forms depending on how much fat has been removed from the original product. One cup of 2% fat milk, the “middle of the road” choice, has 122 calories, 8.1 grams protein and 4.8 grams fat (including 3.1 grams saturated fat) and 12.3 grams of carbohydrates. It contains 29% of daily recommended calcium intake.
One cup of this popular alternative has around 35 calories, 2.5 grams fat, 1 gram of protein and 1 or 2 grams of carbs. It does not contain much calcium on its own but many brands are fortified with it and may contain higher amounts than what’s found naturally in cow’s milk. It’s a good choice when you’re cutting calorie and/or carb consumption.
One of the newest “mylks” to surface in mass-market grocery stores and growing more popular every day, a typical cup of oat milk has 140 calories, 5 grams of fat, 2.5 to 5 grams protein and up to 30 grams of carbs. It has a lot of beta-glucan gel, a type of fiber that binds with cholesterol to reduce its absorption into the body and also contributes to feelings of satiety.
Created from the cannabis plant, it lacks the psychoactive THC content of marijuana and is considered one of the healthier alternative milk choices. It has 60 to 80 calories per cup, 4.5 to 8 grams of fat, 2 to 3 grams of complete protein and 1 gram of carbs at the most. It also contains two essential fatty acids.