Healthy Debate: Almond Milk vs. Dairy Milk

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Drinking milk is on most dietician’s to-do list because milk is full of vitamins and minerals, a good source of protein, and generally healthy. So, to focus in on two milk options, we’ve decided to host a healthy debate between almond milk and dairy (cow’s) milk. We’ll look at the pros and cons of each milk, and then at the end, we encourage you to share your thoughts in the comments below. Let’s get started!

Comparing The Milks

A single cup serving of almond milk contains 30-90 calories, 1 g of protein, and 45% of your daily value of calcium (depending on the brand and flavor). In contrast, a single cup serving of cow’s milk has 90 – 120 calories, 9 g of protein, and 30% of your daily value of calcium. While there are some clear advantages to almond milk, if calorie or calcium intakes are of concern, cow’s milk is the true winner in the protein category. Now, let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons of each of milk.

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Pros of Almond Milk

  • Increased vitamin and mineral content (potassium, vitamin A, vitamin D, and calcium to name a few!)
  • More healthy fats than cow’s milk
  • Lower in calories and fat
  • Great for people with lactose intolerance or other food allergies
  • Vegetarian / Vegan
  • No saturated fat or cholesterol since almond milk is not an animal product

Cons of Almond Milk

  • Almond milk is generally more expensive than cow’s milk
  • May be difficult to find depending on where you grocery shop
  • Results may vary when substituting almond milk for regular cow’s milk in baking and cooking recipes
  • Potential for high sugar content depending on flavor and sweetened vs. unsweetened

Pros of Dairy Milk

  • Higher protein content
  • Safe option for those with nut allergies
  • Inexpensive source of protein
  • Convenient source of calcium
  • Unflavored milk is low in sugar

Cons of Dairy Milk

  • Higher amounts of saturated fats and cholesterol which can increase risk of heart attack
  • Lactose intolerance and food allergies associated with cow’s milk consumption
  • Can interfere with iron absorption
  • Potential health risks of milk containing synthetic hormones (rBGH)

Things to Consider

  1. You’re getting calcium in both milk options.
  2. Consider buying all organic dairy – the hormones in commercial dairy can potentially damage your body.
  3. Almond milk is a great alternative if food allergies, such as lactose intolerance, are an issue for you or your family.

Bottom Line

Choose the beverage that makes the most sense for you and your family based on budget, health status, and taste preferences.

Keep in mind that there will always be pros and cons to whatever food you choose to eat.

Your turn: Which milk do you prefer and why?

Let us know in the comments below!

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Carly Sippel is a certified life coach, expert in nutrition, and yoga enthusiast. She has a Bachelor of Science in Nutritional Dietetics from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. She turns her passion into practice, promoting healthy bodies in both her personal and professional life.

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