Even those who do not have lactose intolerance are choosing milk alternatives for health and dietary reasons.
For the approximately 7 million Canadians who are lactose intolerant, and the countless others who have some degree of sensitivity, a tall glass of milk is just not an option.
But milk alternatives are gaining momentum—some such as soy and almond milk are even available at our local coffee shops.
Even those who do not have a physical aversion to cow’s milk are choosing milk alternatives for health and dietary reasons.
Probably the “original” cows’ milk alternative, goats’ milk has less of the milk sugar, lactose, and the milk allergen, casein alpha 1, making it easier to digest in those with sensitivities. In addition, goats’ milk is thought to have anti-inflammatory properties and is dense in calcium, iron, and magnesium, among other nutrients.
In terms of nutritional protein, soy milk is the closest to cows’ milk. However, cows’ milk is higher in calcium and vitamin D, so choose a soy product that is fortified. Also, beware of sweetened soy beverages, which contain added sugars.
Boasting low calories, sugar, and total fat, almond milk is an excellent choice for those on a health kick. With its light, nutty flavour, almond milk works well in baking and other desserts, as well as curries and smoothies.
Many people say this milk alternative most closely imitates the flavour of cows’ milk, and is therefore great for pouring over your favourite cereal. Be aware, however, that rice milk contains no calcium, so it those who frequently use rice milk as a milk replacer need to be sure they’re getting enough calcium elsewhere.
Packed with heart-healthy omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids and 4 to 5 g of protein per cup, hemp milk is the perfect beverage for athletes looking to go dairy free. In addition, hemp milk supplies the body with a variety of other nutrients such as magnesium, iron, and zinc, making it an all-around good choice for any health fanatic!
Probably the youngest of all milk alternatives, oat milk is free of lactose, cholesterol, and is a great choice for those who are also trying to reduce their soy intake. Oat milk may also contain fibre; however, because oats contain gluten, oat milk is not the best choice for those with a gluten allergy, sensitivity, or those with celiac disease.