​Nutrition and milk alternatives

Tuesday 08 May 2018

I found this recent article about all the different types of milk that are available to buy. It explains their nutritional value, uses etc and I thought as so many people with cancer give up drinking milk and having dairy products, (see blog posted on April last year called ‘The White Stuff’),  I thought that this article would be useful to share.

There seems to have been a huge surge in the different types of milk available possibly because the food manufacturers are realizing that people want alternatives particularly as so many people seem to have a dairy intolerance or who wish to stop using milk from an animal. I have written the information in a bullet point format to make it easier to pick out the details.

Goats milk

  • Nutritionally similar to whole cow’s milk containing protein, calcium and vitamins A and D;
  • A useful option for those who cannot tolerate cow’s milk as it has smaller fat particles and less lactose (the sugar found in milk).
  • Works well in all cooking and hot drinks.
  • 100mls contains 61 calories; 120mg of calcium; 3.6mgs of fat; 4.3mgs of sugar; 2.8mgs of protein.

Soya milk

  • Comparable in protein content to cow’s milk and is low in fat. Some brands are fortified with calcium and vitamins A and D. It has a nutty and thick but not sticky flavour
  • Good for non dairy drinkers and those who do not have hormone driven cancers because of its phytoestrogen content. It mixes well in tea and coffee and works well in baking.
  • 100mls contains; 37 calories; 120mg of calcium; 1.7g of fat; 0.8g of sugar and 3.1g of protein.

Almond Milk

  • A blend of almonds and spring water. It is fortified with calcium and vitamins including vitamins D and B12.
  • It is good for vegans and anyone who wants to avoid animal products, because it is fortified with vitamin B12 and this is only normally present in animal foods that vegans will not eat.
  • It has a subtle nutty flavour.
  • Suitable for cooking and baking and in coffee.
  • 100mls contains; 13 calories; 120mg of calcium; 1.1g of fat; 0.1g of sugar and 0.1g of protein.

Coconut milk

  • Made from pressed coconut with added calcium. There is a lower protein content and a higher level of fat but because it is a medium chain fatty acid the fat is converted very quickly to energy rather than being stored as fat. Therefore it is very good for people who have low energy particularly if you are suffering from fatigue.
  • Goes well on cereal and in tea, coffee and in smoothies. Can be used in cooking especially if you want dairy free pancakes.
  • 100mls contains; 25 calories; 120 mg of calcium; 1.8g of fat; 1.6g of sugar; 0.2g of protein.

Hemp milk

  • A blend of hemp seeds fortified with calcium and vitamin D.
  • It has a mild slightly sweet taste and good in hot drinks, smoothies or sauces or freeze with fruit or honey to make a non dairy ice cream.
  • 100mls contains; 39 calories; 120mg of calcium; 2.5g of fat; 1.6g of sugar; 0.04g of protein.

Oat milk

  • Made from oats and enriched with vitamins and calcium. It has all the health benefits of oats.
  • It has a creamy texture with a slight powdery aftertaste.
  • It will not split on cooking therefore good for making sauces, making porridge and puddings or in smoothies.
  • 100mls contains; 25 calories; 120g of calcium; 1.5g of fat; 4 g of sugar; 1.0g of protein.

Rice Milk

  • A sweet milk as rice is naturally quite a sweet grain, low in protein but fortified with calcium.
  • It has a thin consistency so if used in cooking then you may need to add a little more flour if making a sauce. It makes a good rice pudding and because it is a sweet milk it does not need the addition of sugar just some nutmeg or cinnamon perhaps.
  • 100mls contains; 47 calories; 120mg of calcium; 1.0g of fat; 4 g of sugar; 0.1gof protein.


Calcium  content compared to cows milk

As you can see that all the milks contain 120mg of calcium compared with cow’s milk which has 122mg so hardly any difference, so if you are concerned about your calcium intake then any alternative milk available seems to be just as useful.

But remember in order to make full use of the calcium and to assist in the absorption in to the bones we need vitamin D3.  Most of the milks are fortified with vitamin D which takes the worry out of the equation. Note that if you do drink cow’s milk and opt for semi skimmed or skimmed then the vitamin D content will have been removed as vitamin D only comes in fats that is why it is known as a fat soluble vitamin.

If you decide to have an alternative milk then I think any are very good it is just a matter of taste preference and availability. Although I do know that most of them can be bought from any large supermarket.

I hope that you have found this useful. I certainly did especially as someone else has done all the research which makes life easier.

 You may also be interested in my blog on milk: The white stuff (April 2012)


Blog originally written by Caroline April 2013

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