A Milk for Everyone!

A Milk for Everyone!

By: Jennifer Seleem, MS, RDNJennifer Seleem use

Legend has it that in ancient Egypt, milk and other dairy products were seen as a delicacy reserved for royalty and the very wealthy. In current time, there is a lot of controversy about the necessity of milk and which type of milk is best.

Milk is a great source of calcium and vitamin D, which both play a role in maintaining strong bones and teeth. Daily recommendation for calcium in adults is 1000-1200 mg/day. To get the recommended calcium from other foods like spinach, kale, broccoli you would have to eat almost 10 times the serving. Also, research suggests that calcium intake at less than recommended levels is associated with increased body weight. According to the Journal of Nutrition only 32 percent of U.S. adults met the adequate intake for calcium through diet. Adequate milk intake can help improve those calcium numbers!

A variety of milks are available at your local grocery store. Each has varying calories, fat, protein, calcium and vitamin D. I’ll review cow’s milk, alternate animal milks and plant based milks to see which works best for you! Using the database from United States Department of Agriculture, several milks were analyzed for their nutritional composition. First, cow’s milk was analyzed.

 

Whole milk: 149 calories|8gm fat|8 gm protein|276 mg Ca|3 µg vitamin D

2% milk: 122 calories|5 gm fat|8 gm protein|293 mg Ca|3 µg Vitamin D

1% milk: 102 calories|2gm fat|8 gm protein|305 mg Ca|3 µg Vitamin D

Skim: 83 calories |0 gm fat|8 gm protein|299 mg Ca|3 µg Vitamin D

 

When comparing cows milks, skim milk or 1% is the healthiest option. These are lower in calorie, lower in fat grams and higher in calcium than whole milk.

Next, milks from other animals besides the cow were analyzed.

 

Goat: 168 calories|10 gm fat|9 gm protein|327 gm Ca|3 µg Vitamin D

Sheep: 265 calories|17g fat|15 gm protein|473 mg Ca| Vitamin D N/A

Water buffalo: 237 calories|17 gm fat|9 gm protein|412 mg Ca| Vitamin D N/A

 

When comparing milk’s from these three animals you can see that their calories and fat are higher than cow’s milk, but their calcium is higher as well. In this case, if you are looking for more calcium this is the way to go, but limit these milks if you have any cardiac concerns due to the higher fat content.

Lastly, plant based milks were compared.

Almond: 29 calories|3 gm Fat|1 gm protein|451 mg Ca|101 µg Vitamin D

Rice: 89 calories| 1 gm fat|0 gm protein| 118 mg Ca|42 µg Vitamin D

Soy: 108 calories|4 gm fat|6 gm protein|300 mg Ca|101 µg Vitamin D

Coconut: 79 calories| 5 gm fat|0 gm protein|451 mg Ca|101 µg Vitamin D

 

When comparing plant based milks, they all have their own benefits. Almond milk is lowest in calories; rice milk lowest in fat; soy milk highest in protein; and coconut milk and almond milk tied for highest calcium.

In conclusion, milk is a great source of calcium and vitamin D which should be incorporated in your diet. The best milk to choose depends on your personal preference and what you are focusing on based on your health. Always look at the nutrition label and see how that milk fits into your nutritional goals. Don’t be afraid to, Get Milk!

Jennifer Seleem is a registered dietitian/nutritionist with the Institute for Weight Loss at Raritan Bay Medical Center – Old Bridge, a member of the Hackensack Meridian Health family. The Institute provides weight loss surgery and support for individuals seeking weight loss, who have been unable to lose weight through conventional dieting, exercise or weight loss medication. To attend a free seminar, which occurs twice monthly, call 855-TIME-4-ME.

 

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