SportStars Magazine

Health Advantages and Disadvantages of Milk


When it comes to milk beverages, the choices are more plentiful than ever. Whether you have allergies, intolerances or simply a desire for variety, there’s bound to be a milk product that meets your needs. Each type of milk has its advantages and disadvantages, depending on your health, eating habits and performance demands.

Here’s a breakdown of both dairy and non-dairy beverages. This will help you decide which one is the best fit for you.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Milk:

>> COW — Cow’s milk is a great source of carbohydrates, protein (8 grams per cup), calcium, and vitamins A and D.

Variety is available in both flavor and fat content (skim, 1 percent, 2 percent, whole). Lactose-free milk is available for people with a lactose intolerance.

>> ALMOND — Almond milk is made from ground almonds, water and a small amount of sweetener.

It is typically lower in calories and sugar than other milk alternatives, and low in protein – only 1 gram per cup.

It is high in vitamin E, and many brands are fortified with riboflavin, calcium and vitamins A and D.

>> SOY — One of the original non-dairy milk products on the market, it is higher in protein than most non-dairy alternatives, with 6-11 grams per cup.

Most brands have been fortified with calcium, riboflavin and vitamins A, D and B12. Soymilk is available in both sweetened and unsweetened varieties.


>> PEA — Made of yellow peas, this allergy-friendly beverage is dairy-, soy-, nut-, and gluten-free. Pea protein milk is a great source of protein with 8 grams per cup in the original flavor.

The sweetened vanilla or chocolate options could be an effective recovery drink, since it has a good amount of protein and carbohydrates.

>> COCONUT — Made of coconut “meat” blended with water, coconut milk has a higher fat and calorie content than other non-dairy milk alternatives. It has only 1 gram of protein per cup, and is fortified with calcium, vitamins A, D and B12. Try it in a smoothie for a tropical taste.

>> RICE — Rice milk has added sweeteners, which makes it taste sweeter than cow’s milk. It is fortified with calcium and Vitamin D, yet is low in protein at only 1 gram per cup.

It is generally the thinnest non-dairy milk, similar to skim cow’s milk.

If dairy products still work for your body, great!

No need to eliminate them. But if you’re looking for variety, or something to replace cow’s milk, try some of these milk alternatives. See if there is one, or more, that you enjoy.

Maximize your athletic performance by seeking personalized advice. From Nutrition Coach Jill Daniels, MS, RD, CSSD, Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics.

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