With allergies and intolerances on the rise, not to mention the questioning about the health of a diet rich in dairy, many people are looking towards milk alternatives. If you are curious about trying some alternatives or just want to know what is available out there, I have put together this small list of the most popular milk alternatives. What you choose to use will be personal to what you need, how you like the taste and what you want to use it in.
It's important to understand when limiting, altering or removing dairy products from your diet, that you are removing one of your largest sources of dietary calcium. When selecting milk alternatives, it is important to check that it contains a minimum of 100mg of calcium per 100ml. This information can usually be found on the nutrition information section of the product label.
Pros: Almond milk is naturally high in Vitamin D and E, and a number of minerals including manganese, potassium, copper, magnesium and selenium. It is naturally low in carbohydrates, saturated fat and has no dietary cholesterol.
Cons: Almond milk is very low in protein and is not safe to drink if you have nut allergies (obvious, I know!). Some manufacturers also include preservatives and added sugar, so it is important to read the label before purchasing. Most almond milks will not have enough calcium added, so should not be used as a complete replacement.
Pros: Rice milk is a super low-allergenic milk, making it a great option for people with allergies and sensitive tummies. It is free of cholesterol and saturated fats and is often fortified with enough calcium, making it a good alternative for cow’s milk (just make sure that you check the label before purchasing!).
Cons: As it is derived from rice, rice milk is higher in carbohydrates and sugar than other alternatives, and is low in vitamins, protein and calcium. If you are looking to lose weight this may not the best milk alternative, but can be drunk after a tough workout to help recovery if that’s what you are after.
Pros: Soy milk is considered a good alternative to cow’s milk, as it is low in saturated fat and is much higher in protein than other alternatives. It also contains good amounts of calcium.
Cons: As soy beans are not able to be eaten in their natural state, soy milk undergoes high amounts of processing in order for it to become edible (or drinkable in this case!).
Not sure which to try? I like to use Almond Milk in my smoothies as an alternative to skim milk sometimes. It doesn't feel as heavy and adds a nice nutty flavour.
* Results may vary. Strict adherence to the nutrition and exercise guide are required for best results.