I’ve developed a love for Almond Milk lately, it guilt free & it tastes delicious. I have this w/ my cereal, teas, hot chocolates etc.
I’ve done a fair bit of research in regards to milks & the pro’s & con’s of dairy milk, almond milk, soy milk & rice milk.
Each type of milk has its advantages and disadvantages, depending on a person’s diet, health, nutritional needs, or personal taste preferences.
For example, people in key development years — children over two, teens, and pregnant women — need proteins, vitamin D, and calcium. These are abundant in dairy milk. On the other hand, people who need to watch their calories or cholesterol — for weight reasons or heart health problems — should look to other options. Whole dairy milk contains more calories and cholesterol than any other milk.
In looking at the differences in these popular types of milks, you can determine which best suits your needs.
Whole milk is cow’s milk with none of the fat removed. It contains 8 grams of fat per cup, 8.5 percent nonfat milk solids, and 88 percent water. As none of the milk’s natural components are removed, it is high in natural proteins, fat, calcium, and vitamin D.
Other dairy milk has some or all of the fat removed. While whole milk has 150 calories in one cup, 1 percent milk has 110 calories, and skim milk has just 80 calories. Fat-free milk has all of the nutritional benefits of whole milk — a good source of protein, calcium, vitamins, and minerals — without the saturated fat and calories, though absorption of some vitamins may be reduced due to the lack of fat.
Lactose-free milk is processed to break down lactose, a natural sugar found in milk products. As with other milks, lactose-free milk is a good source of protein, calcium, vitamins, and minerals. The fat and cholesterol content of lactose-free milk varies, as it comes in 2 percent, 1 percent, and fat-free varieties.
Below are 6 pointers as to why dairy milk is bad for you:
- You Can’t Digest It Properly
You might not be diagnosed as lactose intolerant, but an astonishing three-quarters of us actually lack the enzyme to properly digest cow’s milk, and suffer digestively from the stuff. Most people begin to produce less lactase, the enzyme that helps with the digestion of milk, when they stop breastfeeding, around two years old. If our families don’t come from someplace that has raised dairy cows for centuries, it’s just not in our genetics to be able to process it.
Often, symptoms might be subtle enough that you won’t notice how much better you feel until you cut dairy out. But people who suffer from asthma, headaches, fatigue, and digestive problems have also been shown to experience marked and often complete improvements in their health after cutting milk from their diets. One study removed dairy from the diets of 48 people suffering from either migraines or asthma — and 33 of them reported their condition improved significantly.
- It Actually Makes You More Likely To Have Osteoporosis & Break Bones
It sounds counter-intuitive, I know: the dairy industry has done an excellent job of equating milk with strong bones and preventing osteoporosis — but the research doesn’t back it up.
High cow’s milk intake is associated with increased risk for bone fractures as well as death, according to a recent study in the British Medical Journal. Among women, those who consumed three or more glasses of milk per day had a 60 percent increased risk for developing a hip fracture and a 16 percent increased risk for developing any bone fracture.
You should, of course, get enough calcium — but experts say you’re much better off getting it from dairy-free sources that don’t carry all these risks. On average, we absorb just 30 percent of the calcium found in milk, yogurt, and cheese; but we absorb twice the amount of calcium if we eat veggies like kale, broccoli, bok choy, spinach and lots of other plant-based foods that are really good for you in lots of ways.
- There Are Lots Of Hormones In Milk
This is true even if your milk and yogurt is organic. Because dairy cows are kept on sex hormones or pregnant for their entire lives in order to lactate for humans year-round, when you consume dairy, you’re also taking in a significant amount of the sex hormones estrogen and progesterone. We know that an increased exposure to estrogen increases the risk of cancer, and dairy accounts for 60 percent to 80 percent of estrogens consumed by humans today.
When it comes to non-organic milk, your risks are even higher. In addition to the natural hormones and growth factors produced within a cow’s body, milk contains synthetic hormones such as recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH) which is commonly used in cows to increase the production of milk. Once introduced into the human body, these hormones may also affect your normal hormonal function.
- It Increases Your Risk Of Cancer
If you have a history of cancer in your family, you might want to seriously watch how much dairy you’re eating. In 2006, Harvard researchers published the results of a meta study that looked at 100,000 women aged 26 to 46. Those who had the highest intake of meat and dairy products also had the highest risk of breast cancer (33 percent more than those who consumed the least). For men, over 20 studies have established a strong link between prostate cancer and milk consumption.
A more recent study published in the British Journal of Cancer, which followed 22,788 lactose intolerant participants from Sweden, showed that low consumption of milk and other dairy products is linked with decreased risks of lung, breast, and ovarian cancers. It makes sense — less exposure to excess sex hormones, less cancer risk.
- There Are Lots Of Contaminants In Milk
Dairy products contribute from one-fourth to one-half of most people’s dietary intake of dioxins. “Dioxins” is a catchall word for any highly toxic compound produced as the result of some manufacturing processes. All of these toxins do not readily leave the body and can eventually build to harmful levels that may affect the immune, reproductive, and the central nervous systems, and have also been linked to cancer.
Other contaminants often introduced during processing of milk products include melamine, which is also found in plastics, and negatively affects the kidneys and urinary tract due to its high nitrogen content, and carcinogenic toxins including aflatoxins. When farmers treat cows for conditions such as mastitis, an inflammation of the mammary glands that’s incredibly common because of the constant milking cows suffer, antibiotics are used — which means you also might be drinking those.
- It Makes Your Skin Break Out
Dairy products and foods with a high glycemic index are the leading causes of acne, according to a review published in a 2013 issue of the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Researchers examined the link between acne and diet and have found that certain products, especially cow’s milk, produce and stimulate hormones linked with acne. This study supports previous findings from the Harvard School of Public Health and lots of other studies linking dairy and acne.
Almond milk is made from ground almonds and is lower in calories than other milks as long as it is unsweetened. It’s also free of cholesterol, saturated fat, and is naturally lactose free. Even though almonds are a good source of protein, almond milk is not. Almond milk is also not a good source of calcium. However, many of the brands available in the market are supplemented with calcium as well as vitamin D.
The 3 Best Things About Almond Milk
- It’s low in calories and contains no saturated fat or cholesterol.
- It’s good source of vitamins A and D.
- It’s naturally lactose free.
Con: It’s not a good source of protein and, unless it is fortified, it contains no calcium, which is important for people with conditions like osteoporosis. (People who are allergic to almonds or nuts should avoid almond milk.) Some almond milk brands also contain carrageenan which may cause digestive issues in some people.
Soy milk is made from soybeans. It’s a popular milk alternative for vegans and people who are lactose intolerant. Since it comes from plants, it is naturally free of cholesterol, low in saturated fat, and contains absolutely no lactose. Soybeans and soy milk are a good source of protein, calcium (when fortified), and potassium. Probiotic or fermented soy milk is also available and is an even better choice, especially for someone with high blood pressure.
The 3 Best Things About Soy Milk
- It’s a good source of protein, vitamin A, B12, vitamin D, potassium, and isoflavones.
- Soy milk contains almost as much protein as cow’s milk, yet is lower in calories than whole milk and comparable to skim milk.
- It contains very little saturated fat, which is important for those with heart conditions.
Con: Too much soy may be a problem for those with thyroid disease or other conditions. A 2008 Harvard study showed that higher intakes of soy-based foods caused fertility problems and lower sperm counts. Soy milk may also contain carrageenan.
Rice milk is made from milled rice and water. It is the least allergenic of all of these products, which makes it a good choice for people with lactose or nut allergies. While rice milk can be fortified with calcium and vitamin D, it is not a natural source of either of these, just like soy and almond.
The 3 Best Things About Rice Milk
- It’s the least allergenic of milk alternatives.
- It can be fortified to be a good source of calcium.
- Rice milk can be used by vegans.
Con: Rice milk is very high in carbohydrate and very low in protein, so it’s the least desirable choice for people with diabetes as well as people who want more protein, such as athletes or the elderly.
I hope this post gives a bit of insight of what we consume & what it does to our body – I won’t admit, I haven’t gone completely ‘DAIRY-FREE’ but, I am slowly making the change, I know this will benefit many areas of my life both physically & mentally. I have started the change w/ my milk, so almond is def the way to go – or any lactose/dairy free form of milk, next will be other dairy products ie cheese, butter, yoghurts, dips, ice creams etc.