Milk – The Era Of Too Many Choices!
Gone are the days where milk was simply milk. Some 50 years ago, rich, creamy full fat milk, nothing added, just milk, was delivered to your door and was what everyone drank. Wind the clock forward to today and suddenly we have more types of milk than we do days in the week! From cow’s milk to almond milk to A2 milk, our choices are endless! Yes it is great to have choice but like a lot of things when we have to many choices deciding which one is best can create some confusion. To help you decide what is best for you and your family read on to learn more about the different types of milk gracing your local supermarket shelf.
Almond Milk A very popular choice among those wanting to avoid dairy either by choice or need. A slightly nutty flavour and creamy texture make this milk a great addition to smoothies and desserts. Rich in vitamin E, which is key for strong immunity, healthy skin and eyes, and for protecting cells in your body from damage. Almond milk is much lower in protein and calcium compared to cow’s milk, therefore it is important to look for products with added calcium to ensure you are giving yourself the best opportunity to maintain your bone health. Choose unsweetened varieties to avoid added sugars, which will increase the number of calories and amount of sugar consumed.
Rice Milk Rice milk is a good option for individuals with an allergy to nuts or soy. Generally made from brown rice and water, like almond milk it is very low in protein and calcium, so where possible buy products with added calcium. Compared to almond milk, rice milk contains significantly more sugars, therefore be mindful of the amount you consume.
Oat Milk Made from oats, water and oat flour, oat milk is higher in protein than both almond and rice milk. Oats contain dietary fibre; therefore they are of benefit to our blood cholesterol levels. Although oat milk is low in sugars, per 250mL, it still contains ~30g total carbohydrates, making it a beverage more suited to those who are trying to lower their cholesterol but do not have weight or blood sugar level issues.
Soy Milk Probably one of the most common dairy milk alternatives. Compared to the other milk alternatives discussed, soy milk has a higher protein content, which is comparative to cow’s milk, however it is lower in saturated fat with the majority of the total fat content being of the polyunsaturated type. Soy milk is available in low, reduced and full fat varieties and is generally fortified with many essential nutrients, including calcium. Be sure to check the labels as some varieties contain added sugars and/or vegetable oils.
Goat Milk Goat milk contains different proteins and fats compared to cow’s milk making it easier to digest for some people. Goat milk is high in phosphorus, zinc, essential fatty acids and contains as much potassium, magnesium, iron and calcium as cow’s milk. Contrary to popular belief goat milk still contains lactose, therefore it is not a suitable option for vegans or individuals who are lactose intolerant despite slightly lower levels compared to cow’s milk.
Sheep Milk Similar to goat’s milk with smaller fat globules and more medium chain fatty acids, which aid in digestion. If you are after a creamy, full-bodied milk, than sheep milk is for you.
Cow’s Milk When it comes to cow’s milk you have many choices. Depending on the type of mouth feel, fat content or taste you are after will dictate whether you opt for full cream or low fat cow’s milk. If you do not consume a lot of milk on a daily basis (think just in your coffee or with your cereal once a day) then full cream milk will be ok. If you are consuming upward of 2-3 glasses per day, a reduced or low fat variety is likely to be a better option to help you control your daily total calorie and fat intake.
Full Cream Milk Many people are going back to full cream milk with an increased focus on unprocessed and more natural products. As mentioned if you don’t consume a lot of milk, full cream is ok, however with ~10g fat per 250mL if you are consuming 2-3 glasses per day the amount of fat consumed quickly adds up…think 20-30g of fat just from milk! It is important to remember that for children aged 12 months to 2 years, full cream milk is the best choice.
Reduced Fat Milk Reduced fat milk falls half way between full cream and skim milk. It is a great choice for those people seeking the creamy mouth feel that characterizes full cream milk, but don’t want the fat that goes with it. Reduced fat milk generally contains added calcium; therefore it is a perfect choice for families with young school children.
Skim or Low Fat Milk Low fat milk can vary greatly between virtually no fat, low calorie with a watery taste, to fortified varieties, which have a much creamier taste, however still contain
So there you have it…well most of it! Hopefully you are now somewhat more informed about the different milk varieties staring you in the face when you are in the supermarket and are now equipped with the knowledge to make the best choice for you and your family.
To book an appointment online with our Dietitian click WA Health Group Dietitian – Canning Vale