Cow’s Milk vs Almond Milk

I am sure you will all agree that with the plethora of milk options from which you can choose today, a very simple decision has become a lot more complicated. Before I pass the verdict, let us look into some facts.

Per 8 ounce serving

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Type Calories Total Fat Saturated Fat Protein Sugar %Calcium %Vitamin D
Whole Milk 150 8 5 8 12 30 25
Non- fat Milk 90 0 0 9 12 30 25
Almond Milk 30 2.5 0 1 0 45 25

Cow’s Milk

A nutrient powerhouse, packed with nine essential nutrients-calcium, potassium, phosphorus, protein, vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin B12, riboflavin and niacin. It has 12 grams of sugar-naturally occurring lactose.

Almond Milk

Rich in calcium and a good source of vitamins A, D and E, almond milk has definitely become more popular in the last few years. Its nutty taste and texture pleases many. Fortified brands contain just as much bone-building vitamin D (25% of your daily value) and often 50% more calcium.

Similarities

Cow’s milk and almond milk are both packed with essential nutrients. Both are rich in calcium, vitamins A, D and B. Cow’s milk is a good source of phosphorous, but almond milk is rich in vitamin E. They both come close in the fat grams that they contain. Also both can be used interchangeably for cooking and baking.

cow´s milk vs almond milk_2

Differences

The differences range from taste to health benefits. Most people are switching from cow’s milk to an alternative like almond milk, because of the associated health benefits. Almond milk is cholesterol, saturated fat and sodium free while even the skim milk has at least 5 mg of cholesterol and 130 mg of sodium, which makes it a wise alternative to cow’s milk in people at risk of heart disease.

Similarly, for diabetics almond milk would be a better alternative, as cow’s milk has more carbohydrates which ultimately break down in the body as sugar, not a desired outcome for diabetics. And, unlike cow’s milk, almond milk is lactose free. A good choice for those who are lactose intolerant.

If you compare skim milk to almond milk, even though it has less calories than whole milk it has more calories than almond milk. Almond milk doesn’t need to be heated or pasteurized and can be made fresh, unlike cow’s milk.

Cow’s milk was once thought of as the best way to get the calcium the body needs, but almond milk also offers good quality calcium.

But, if you’re hoping to use almond milk as a protein source with your meal, you are out of luck. Per cup it packs a measly 1 gram. However, many brands now add supplements to boost protein. So, if you wish to lower the calories of your cereal or smoothie and add some protein with the benefits of cow’s milk, almond milk is a good low calorie choice.

And if you don’t have any allergies and there is room for saturated fat in your diet, cow’s milk can be included. You can rely on it to get good protein in your diet but skip it if you’re lactose intolerant.

Bottom line, when choosing a “milk” beverage, a lot of it comes down to taste preference and the nutrition goal, which obviously varies from person to person.

To read more about Harmeet K Sehgal, visit her Expert Profile.

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