Sunday, August 22, 2010

battle of the milks

[sorry if this post appeared 2x..I love technology].
My sister is visiting this weekend! So far we’ve hit the beach, picked pails of blueberries, run the flat and gorgeous MI territory, roasted marshmallows over our fire pit, and day tripped to St. Joseph.
Allison recently commented: I'm so glad you brought up Almond Milk! Can you tell me, as a dietitian, why almond milk is a better choice than soy milk? Is it a good alternative to cow’s milk or soy milk for children?
almond vssilk_soy_milk_vanilla_190vs    ist2_3931123-stock-photo-of-milk-carton
Here’s a nutritional breakdown:
Almond Milk (Almond Breeze, vanilla); 1 cup Soy Milk (Silk, vanilla); 1 cup Cow’s Milk; (1% milk fat) 1 cup
Calories 90 calories 100 calories 102 calories
Fat 2.5 grams 3.5 grams 2.4 grams
Sodium 150 mg 95 mg 107 mg
Sugars 15 grams 8 grams 12.7 grams
Protein 1 gram 6 grams 8.2 grams
Vitamin A 10% 10% 10%
Calcium 20% 30% 29%
Iron 2% 6% 0%
Vitamin D 25% 30% 32%
For adults:
  • If you have a milk protein or soy allergy and need to find an alternative, almond milk is a delicious substitute.
  • Note that almond milk is very protein poor (1 g) compared to soy milk (6 g) and cow’s milk (8.2 g).
  • Almond milk does not contain phytoestrogens (plant estrogens) like soy milk does, but I have yet to see research that concludes drinking soy milk is harmful.
  • Caution is warranted for those who have a history of breast cancer or thyroid disorders-eat a moderate amount of dietary soy (25 grams/day of soy protein may reduce the risk of heart disease; Harvard School of Public Health advises limiting consumption to 2-4 servings/wk of dietary soy).
For infants/children*:
  • The World Health Organization, American Academy of Pediatrics, and American Dietetic Association recommend exclusive breast feeding for the first six months of life and support breastfeeding for at least 12 months (AAP, ADA) or up to 2 + yrs (WHO) with appropriate supplementation of complementary foods (iron fortified after 6 months).
  • Soy milk or almond milk should never be used as alternatives to breastmilk or formula.
  • Once old enough to drink cow’s milk, remember that 25-60% of those with milk protein allergy will also react to soy.
  • Keep in mind that almond milk has less protein, fat, calcium, and vitamin D than cow’s milk or soy milk when considering your child’s nutritional needs.
* information from WHO, AAP, ADA, and lectures from Karen Steitz’s Pediatric Nutrition class, 2010
While I do believe that some people may best achieve optimal health by consuming a vegan diet, I can’t conclude that this diet is beneficial for all people in all situations. When making the choice to go vegan, you must determine if consuming dairy or animal products adversely affects your personal health. I’m continually researching this subject and will keep you posted as I learn more.
Happy {last day of the} weekend!
This is your last chance to vote for Donate Life America! Almond Breeze is dividing 25k between the charity organizations listed on the widget to the right of my blog (refresh the page if you can’t see the widget or click here to vote). Voting ends today-Sunday at 11:59 pm ET!


  1. Interesting topic. I love almond milk, but don't buy it, because of its poor protein content. I am weaning myself out of meat, so most of my protein comes from dairy. I would be afraid of not getting enough protein in a vegan diet.

  2. I love almond milk, but I really wish there was more protein in it! What's the deal?! I know almonds have a lot of protein. It's almost like they took it out. So weird.

  3. Great info on non-dairy milks--love the handy comparison table!

  4. haha seriously this post was JUST in time because just yesterday my mom and dad were asking me what's better soy, regular or almond! i'm totally passing this info on to them haha :) i'm a huge fan of almond breeze unsweetened!

  5. I always drink almond breeze! But I thought it only had 40 calories per cup! (At least, in the unsweetened kind!) Does it really have 90?

  6. great informative post Emily. Guess what, I've never tried almond milk. I know you are an avid sipper, so I think it's high time I try it too! oatmeal, smoothies...the horizons are broadening. yay! have a lovely week.

  7. This was very informative and I love the chart of them side by side! I wish I could love almond milk...I just think Soy or Cows milk are so much tastier!

  8. my mom usually buy slmond milk all the time. i love it in cereals or smoothies but in general i use unsweetened soy milk because its much thicker and works in my teas and coffees. especially coffee since it wont curdle like almond milk can in hot liquid. rice milk is good too altho i find it really sweet. some cows milk is good as well, and buttermilk works so well in baking :)

    hope ur having a great week Emily <3

  9. Drinking milk is very important especially for kids. They have softer bones compared to adults. ilk can definitely help develop their bones and make them stronger.


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