You've probably heard "milk does the body good." A 1980s commercial campaign popularized it. "Got milk?" read another milk commercial featuring celebrity milk mustaches. Simple messages promoted milk as a healthy food. Milk nutrition is more complicated.
Traditional cow's milk contains vitamins, minerals, protein, fat, and sugar. Since those classic milk ads, dairy case alternatives have proliferated.
Cows, sheep, and goats produce milk now. Almond, soybean, and other plant-based "milks" are also popular. These drinks are promoted as healthier or more sustainable dairy alternatives.
"Milk alternatives or substitutes are made by blending or extracting plant material in water," says Columbus-based nutritionist Candace Pumper. "The plant materials are homogenized and thermally treated to improve physical stability and shelf life."
Plant-based milks may taste nice but lack vitamin D, calcium, potassium, and protein. To suit nutritional demands, they are typically supplemented with vitamins and minerals.
"All'milks' are not created equal," explains Arlington, Virginia-based registered dietician Lise Gloede. Nutritional disparities are considerable. If you have allergies or lactose intolerance, try soy milk, but remember that it has less protein and riboflavin. Important nutrients.”
Consider calcium content while choosing milk. Calcium strengthens bones, heart, muscles, and nerves.
Calcium deficiency is harmful. Calcium deficiency can stunt growth in children and lead to osteoporosis in adults.
Age and gender determine the calcium RDA. The National Institutes of Health recommends 1,000 mg of calcium for males 19–70 and 1,200 for those 71 and beyond. Women 19–50 should get 1,000 mg of calcium per day, while 51+ should get 1,200.
Age determines calcium needs in children. 200 milligrams daily for infants under 6 months. From 700 milligrams for 1-year-olds to 1,300 for 14-18-year-olds, the dosage increases with age.
Calcium amounts vary by milk type. According to Carmel, Indiana-based registered dietitian Michelle Dudash, whole milk offers 276 milligrams of calcium per 8-ounce cup, while skim milk has 299.
One kind of almond milk provides roughly 61 mg of calcium, whereas unfortified soy milk has 61. Most soy milks are calcium-fortified and provide 25% to 50% of the adult calcium RDA.