A Buyer's Guide to Milk Alternatives

Don't have a cow: milk can come from many sources.

Nine out of 10 glasses of milk consumed in the United States come from cows, but increasingly, Americans are “milking” other options. For instance, sales of goat’s milk more than doubled from 2003 to 2007 and the demand for “alterna-milks” (made from soy, rice, almond and even hemp) is at an all-time high. Though you may drink these plant-based milks in place of what Elsie produces, “Technically, these drinks aren’t really milk,” says Catherine W. Donnelly, Ph.D., of the University of Vermont. “Milk is a secretion from mammary glands and plants don’t have mammary glands.” What’s more, plant-based milks don’t contain lactose, the sugar found in milk, and with the exception of almond milk, they naturally contain only negligible amounts of calcium. And, though many are fortified with calcium and vitamin D, they may not be as nutritious.



I am amazed that the listing for protein content is so varied in this report. What soy milk has only 2 grams of protein per cup and what almond milk has 9 grams per cup? I look at the nutritional data on the back of alternative milk products in the store on a regular basis and have never seen these wide variations. Also, why was coconut milk excluded from this report? It's not my choice of milk alternative but it is has a large following.


06/09/2015 - 9:52am

Considering most milks are full of hormones and additives, and are hard to digest, alternative milks like coconut, soy, hemp, almond and others are a good alternative. Just make sure they don't have carrageenan in them, as carrageenan is not healthy. There are many plant based way of getting calcium. There are also calcium supplements.

If you prefer regular milk, goats milk is easier to digest, and is even recommended for babies that cannot drink cows milk due to allergies or stomach upsets. Lactaid is a good option for the lactose intolerant, but a lot of regular milks especially the low fat ones have added sugars to make them tastier, and of course, the before mentioned hormones.


08/08/2014 - 7:52am

What about Lactaid milk that has the lactose removed?


10/23/2013 - 3:35pm

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