Read the labels. I dare you to read the labels! Contrary to what may be told to you by your pediatrician, friends and family, cow’s milk does not have more calcium than almond milk. In fact, it has less!
One cup of cow’s milk contains just 30% calcium while one cup of almond milk contains a whopping 45%! Soy milk is also a close competitor with one cup containing 20%.
Another real problem with cow’s milk is the saturated fat, which has been proven to contribute to childhood obesity, diabetes, heart disease and a whole host of other diseases! One cup of whole milk contains 23% of one’s daily requirement for saturated fat- roughly 1/4 of what we are supposed to consume the entire day!
That would not be terrible in and of itself, but pediatricians are recommending that children have 3 glasses a day “to get their calcium requirements” (and adults are being given very similar advice). So, not even taking into consideration what the children are eating during their day, children are being told to consume 69% of saturated fat before they even put a morsel in their mouths. And, if they fill up with milk, chances are that they won’t be as hungry and won’t eat the healthy vegetables or heart friendly salmon on their plate!
Well, what if you drink and give your family reduced fat milk? One cup reduced fat milk contains 15% of our daily requirements so if you or your kids are drinking 3 glasses a day that would be 45% of the daily requirement.
What about protein? The incorrect belief many have is that nut or soy based milks don’t have protein. Soy, in fact, has just as much protein as cow’s milk. So that myth is debunked!
Lastly, if these arguments don’t sway you perhaps this one will. Cow’s milk makes us pack on the pounds! If you think about it, cow’s milk is intended to turn a 90 pound calf into a 2000 pound cow in a year!We wouldn’t dream of drinking someone elses breast milk, but we will drink the breast milk from another species? Makes no sense to me!
I don’t drink cow’s milk for health, humane or philosophical reasons or give it to my kids but the occasional glass of milk or cup of yogurt is not the problem. The routine daily inclusion in the diet is! Utimately cow’s milk is not a healthy thing to consistently put into our bodies. Read The Milk Myth to learn more.
Here is a cheat sheet comparing milk to other milk substitues:
Almond milk– more calcium than cow’s milk (45% to cows milk’s 28%) but not much protein; also contains vitamin E; rich, creamy taste Almond Breeze Vanilla Unsweetened is our favorite because you get the delicious, creamy flavor without the added sugar. Vanilla SilkMilk is another favorite!
Soy milk– as much protein as cow’s milk (7g versus 8g) and almost as much calcium (20% to cows milk’s 28%); also contains magnesium and vitamin D; negatives would be the soy estrogens that some say to stay away from; I prefer the taste of almond milk but my husband is literally addicted to the Silk Milk Vanilla Soy Creamer, which he puts in his coffee and over berries.
Rice milk– I personally don’t like rice milk and think it tastes watery. It also has a very low calcium (2%) and protein (1g) count. Although it does come in an “enriched” variety with calicum and vitamin A, B12, and D”, I don’t consider this the same as getting these nutrients naturally. The only reason I think this would be my choice is if I had a nut allergy and?or had cancer in my history and couldn’t have almond or soy milk.
Hemp milk– as much calcium as cow’s milk (30% to cows milk’s 28%) but low protein (2g) much like almond milk; also high in Omega 3’s; I prefer the taste of almond milk but if I had a nut allergy, hemp milk would be a good alternative.
Coconut milk– more calcium than cow’s milk (45% to cows milk’s 28%); rich, creamy taste; high in B12 so a good choice if you are feeling low energy. Negatives would be that it is 25% saturated fat similar to cows milk but studies have show that plant-based saturated fat does not contribute to disease in the same way animal based saturated fat does. I use coconut milk as a treat over berries much like I would dessert, but stick to almond milk on a daily basis.
We all make milk choices for various reasons. Many of us drink milk and serve it to our families for the calcium while others are looking for protein. Some have just recovered from cancer or are at risk for cancer therefore need to avoid soy and some say even almonds. Yet others could care less and just want something delicious to put on top of their cereal or in their morning coffee. I hope that this article will help you make the choices based upon your needs and will encourage you to make changes in your diet as well as that of your family!