The milk market is really going off. Full fat, skim, soy, hemp, almond and coconut all crowd our local supermarket fridge. If you’re udderly confused like most of us then let me outline which milk you should be drinking and why. I am a trusted expert in this field.
One glass or 250 ml of cow’s milk contains eight grams of protein and almost one third of our daily recommended calcium intake. It also provides nutrients such as Vitamin A, riboflavin, B12, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, zinc and Vitamin D. The electrolytes in milk are excellent for rehydration after exercise.
Full cream cow’s milk has around four percent fat and the creamiest taste. Low-fat cow’s milk has around 1.5 percent fat and often has skim milk powder added to it to increase its protein and calcium. Skim milk has the lowest fat content at around 1% and also the addition of powder to boost protein and calcium.
Drinking low-fat or skim milk reduces your kilojoule and saturated fat intake. Low fat and skim milk do not have any added sugar. Due to the fat being removed it just appears there is more as lactose – the naturally occurring sugar in milk – is more concentrated. Lactose-free milk has this sugar completely removed.
Buy local and organic whenever you purchase your milk. Organic milk means that the cows have been pastured for at least thirty percent of the time which results in milk with a higher omega-3 content. A2 milk has not been shown to have any significant scientific advantages over typical milk which contains a combination of A1 and A2 beta casein.
Soy milk is an excellent milk alternative that is high in protein, Vitamin A, B12, potassium, calcium and has around four grams of fat. It has created controversy with its links to cancer but recent data shows that in moderation it will in fact reduce your risk of cancer. Go for a low sugar option as many soy milks have added sweeteners.
Almond milk has around 2.5 grams of fat and a high water content. It’s often fortified with Vitamin E, calcium and Vitamin D but is low in protein and healthy fats. Shake it up before you use it as additives can sit on the bottom of your glass. Cashew is another nutty milk that is more nutritious due to its added fibre, antioxidants and copper.
Coconut milk is the latest drink that everyone is going nuts for. It contains healthy fats and added calcium but it’s very low in protein. Hemp milk is another newbie to the market that is packed with omega-3 and often fortified with calcium, Vitamin D and B12. It has a low oligosaccharide content which is a gas producing sugar found in milk and milk alternatives. The only high you’ll find will be the price.
Milk is a safe and nutritious food to drink. If you can tolerate it I would recommend a local, low-fat organic cow’s milk. Milk alternatives are really secondairy to cow’s milk but if you choose carefully they can be a healthy alternative. Brands differ in their nutrient content so always check your labels to make a cowculated decision.