There's a lot of buzz about nondairy alternatives these days – you know, soy milk, almond milk, and the like. In fact, these alternatives have practically become synonymous with health.
I am all for living the healthy life – after all, that's a huge part of why I became a dietitian. But I have to disagree with some of the health trends – many of which are untried and untrue – and passing on dairy is one of them. There's a reason classics are classics: they stand the test of time. And cows' milk is a classic. Decades of nutrition research document the many health benefits of cows' milk. It's basically the little black dress of your refrigerator!
As a nutrition expert, I appreciate dairy’s unique nutrient package, which nondairy alternatives simply do not match (check out the comparisons for yourself here). In a nutshell, these are the reasons why I love milk:
- High nutrient-to-calorie ratio: Milk packs a nutrient punch for about 100 calories per 8 ounce serving. Calories count, but not at the cost of cutting nutrients. Milk has the best of both worlds – lots of nutrients for little calories.
- Calcium: Milk is the richest natural food source of calcium and also happens to have vitamin D, potassium, and phosphorous, which work with calcium to build and maintain strong bones. I’m a busy mom of three, so milk is an easy way for my whole family to get these nutrients in one convenient package without having to spend time over-strategizing meals and snacks. You would have to eat bigger portions of other foods to match milk's unique nutrient package.
- Protein: Milk contains 8 grams of high-quality protein per serving. As an avid runner, I especially appreciate this because it fills me up and also makes a great post-exercise recovery drink that both rehydrates and replenishes.
- Natural: If you look at the ingredients label on milk, you will see that it is just that: milk. Milk is fortified with just two other ingredients, vitamin A and D. No matter what brand I choose, this is true across the board. This is simply not the case for milk alternatives.
To learn more about the unmatched nutrition found in a glass of cow's milk, visit our nutrition page.