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Nutrition Comparison: Milk and The Alternatives

Whether you believe people should or should not drink milk or whether you are allergic to milk or have lactose intolerance, here are some alternatives with nutritional information as well as what these options have to offer:

Milk

  • The best source and absorption of Calcium and Vitamin D (out of all options noted below)
  • Contains a good amount of protein (8 grams/8 oz)
  • Contains about 12 grams of sugar, however, it is from a natural source called lactose
  • Contains a good amount of phosphorus, magnesium, riboflavin and B12

Soy Milk

  • Second best to milk. Typically fortified with Calcium and Vitamin D
  • Contains a very similar content of protein (7 grams/8 oz)
  • Sugar content is typically added
  • Contains antioxidants and phytochemicals that have been shown to decrease heart disease, lower cholesterol and decrease certain types of cancers

Ripple Milk

  • An equally good alternative to milk as soy. Fortified with more Calcium and Vitamin D than dairy.
  • Contains similar protein to dairy milk (8 g/8 oz)
  • Sugar content is typically added (6 g sugar/8 oz)
  • About half the fat as whole milk (4.5g/8oz) Almond milk
  • Can be a good alternative to milk if you are looking to cut the calorie content
  • Hardly contains any protein (1 gram/8 oz)
  • Sugar content is typically added
  • Rich with Vitamin E, A and B12

Rice, oat or hazelnut milk

  • Not the best milk alternative
  • Hardly contains any protein (1 gram/8 oz)
  • Typically contains a high amount of added sugars
  • Compared to the other milk alternatives it’s nutritionally poor
  • Fortified with Vitamin A, D and B12

Coconut milk

  • Contains as much fat as whole milk (in most products)
  • Contains hardly any protein (<1 gram/8 oz)
  • Typically fortified with Vitamin D and B12
  • Not much added sugars

Hemp milk

  • A good alternative for people with allergies
  • Protein content is closer to half that of milk (3 grams/8 oz)
  • May contain a minimal or a high amount of added sugar
  • Contains a good amount of omega 3
  • Rich with B12, Magnesium, Phosphorus and Riboflavin and fortified with Calcium and Vitamin D

What to choose?

Choose higher protein content, no (or low) added sugars (stick to original or unsweetened) and fortified with vitamins and minerals (at least 30% Calcium and 25% Vitamin D of daily value, per 8-oz serving)

Type of Milk (1 cup) Calories Fat Sat. Fat Chol. Protein Carbs Sugars
Whole cow's milk 150 8 g 5 g 35 mg 8 g 12 g 12 g
2% cow's milk 130 5 g 3 g 20 mg 8 g 13 g 12 g
1% cow's milk 110 2.5 g 1.5 g 15 mg 8 g 13 g 12 g
Skim cow's milk 90 0 g 0 g <5 mg 8g 13 g 12 g
Ripple Milk, original 100 4.5 g 0.5 g 0 mg 8 g 6 g 6 g
Soy, unsweetened 80-90 4-4.5 g 0.5 g 0 mg 7-9 g 4-5 g 1-2 g
Soy, plain/original 70-130 2-4 g 0-0.5 g 0 mg 5-8 g 8-16 g 6-9 g
Almond, unsweetened 30-50 2.5 g 0 g 0 mg 1 g 1-5 g 0-1 g
Almond, original 50-60 2.5 g 0 g 0 mg 1 g 6-8 g 5-6 g"
Hemp, unsweetened 70 6 g 0.5 g 0 mg 2 g 1 g 0 g
Hemp, original 100-140 5-6 g 0.5 g 0 mg 2-4 g 8-20 g 6-14 g
Rice, plain 80-130 2-2.5 g 0 g 0 mg 1 g 16-27 g 8-14 g
Oat, original 110-130 1.5-2.5 g 0 g 0 mg 4 g 24 g 19 g
Hazelnut, original 110 3.5 g 0 g 0 mg 2 g 18 g 14 g
Coconut, unsweetened 50 5 g 5 g 0 mg 1 g 1 g 0 g
Coconut, original 80 5 g 5 g 0 mg 1 g 7 g 6 g