Which “Milk” is Right for You?

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You walk into the dairy section of your local supermarket and what used to be a simple decision of either whole, 2%, 1%, or skim milk, has recently become a little more challenging. More and more variations of milk seem to become increasingly popular. Are some of them “better” for you than others? Instead of looking at which may be the best option, let's see what each type has to offer and I'll let you make the decision on which suits your needs the best. First off, we have the traditional Dairy Milk. On average, an 8 oz serving contains 110 calories, 8g of protein, 2.5g of fat, and 12g of carbs. Whole milk can provide essential proteins and extra calories from fats, as well as vitamins and minerals for infants and the elderly. Lactose-free versions are available for people who are lactose intolerant and it is widely available in grocery stores and convenience stores. The downside is the ones that are not fat-free are high in saturated fat and calories. This may not be the best option if you have high cholesterol, are trying to lose weight, or have a heart condition. Now let’s take a look at Almond Milk. On average, an 8 oz serving contains 60 calories, 1g of protein, 2.5g of fat, and 8g of carbs. Almond milk is lower in calories compared to diary milk, and contains no saturated fat or cholesterol. Its good source of vitamins A and D, and is naturally lactose free. The downside is that it is not a sufficient source of protein and, unless it is fortified, contains no calcium. Another option is Soy Milk. On average, an 8 oz serving contains 110 calories, 8g of protein, 4.5g of fat, and 9g of carbs. Soy milk comes from soybeans and is a very popular milk alternative for those who are lactose intolerant and vegan. It’s a good source of protein, vitamin A, B12, vitamin D, and potassium. Soy milk contains almost as much protein as cow's milk, yet is lower in calories than whole milk and comparable to skim milk. It contains no cholesterol, which is important for those with heart conditions. If you have a thyroid disease or other conditions, Soy milk may not be for you. Studies have shown that higher intakes of soy-based foods can cause fertility problems and lower sperm counts. A few other options that I didn’t include which you could research for yourself would be rice milk, coconut milk, and cashew milk. Like I mentioned before, there isn’t a best option out there, it just depends on what your body needs and what you prefer.

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