Let's talk milk and milk alternatives

Over the past few years, milk alternatives have sprung up in grocery stores across the country, and many have adopted them without question. Besides veganism and vegetarianism, what are the reasons behind this shift away from cow's milk? Here's a bit on the controversial research on dairy and alternative milks to help you determine whether milk or milk substitutes are best for you and your family. 

Common Milk Alternatives

The above research may allude to why some people choose a milk substitute. Other reasons may include the antibiotic content of certain brands of cow's milk and the environmental impact of animal agriculture, but there are also drawbacks to these vegan substitutes.

Common milk alternatives include soy, almond, rice, cashew, oat, hemp, and coconut milk. Generally, these milks will be low in protein and calcium, which is why many people drink cow's milk. With that being said, many of the alternative milks you'll buy in the store will be fortified with calcium and sometimes even protein.

Are Milk Alternatives Worth It?

While some may believe that choosing a milk substitute is a better environmental choice, the production of almond milk, one of the most commonly purchased milk alternatives, is actually worse for the environment than that of cow's milk. While almond milk production emits fewer greenhouse gases, it uses nearly 21 times the amount of water.

Even though some of the research about cow's milk is concerning, most of the negative findings were observed in those with high milk or dairy intake. A good way to include dairy in moderation is to aim for one or two servings of dairy per day, and seek out vegetable sources of calcium or choose a calcium supplement with vitamin D.

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The information provided by Dignity Health and Dignity Health Arizona is for general informational purposes only. All information is provided in good fair and we make no representation or warranty of any kind, express or implied.