Milk Multiple Choice

Today’s blog post is from Kathleen Woods APN-BC, our CWH nurse practitioner:

Got Milk?  Do you mean almond, coconut, soy, skim, 2%….. help!

Americans are always looking for the next non-dairy alternative to the old dairy standby.  The latest choice is almond milk, which has posted the biggest dollar sales gains among all dairy alternative drinks in 2011.  Almond milk is made by blending together a mixture of finely ground almonds, water and sometimes sugar or other sweeteners. Because almond milk contains mostly water, it doesn’t pack as many nutrients as other milk products.  One cup of almond milk contains about 4 or 5 almonds.  One cup of unsweetened almond milk has about 40 calories and only about 2 grams of protein.

On the other hand, One cup of soy milk has 7 grams of protein, 120 calories, and 5 grams of fat.  Both soy and almond milk are good sources of B vitamins.

Soy milk and cow’s milk have basically the same amount of calories, protein and fat.  One cup of either has about 122 calories, 5 to 8 grams of protein and almost 5 grams of fat.  Soy has no cholesterol, where 2% cow’s milk has nearly 20mg.

Coconut milk comes in both regular and fat free varieties.  Regular coconut milk packs 400 calories per cup, 48 grams of fat and 4 grams of protein.  Pure or unsweetened coconut milk has between 40 and 80 calories, 0 to 4 grams of fat and only 1 gram of protein.

Now that you’re thoroughly confused, here is the skinny:

Unsweetened almond milk is a low-calorie beverage – and it’s a terrific non-dairy choice for people who are vegan, have dairy allergies, or are just looking to change things up in their cereal, smoothies or coffee.  As far as calcium content:  skim, 2%, whole, or soy milk have about 300mg of calcium per cup.    Pure Coconut, Soy and Almond milk all have 50% more calcium than cow’s milk.

So drink up!

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