What are some alternatives to milk?
In recent times, many more people are looking for the best cows milk alternatives... maybe because they are vegan, maybe they have an allergy or an intolerance to the proteins in milk or a lactose intolerance. Maybe they just feel better not drinking cow's milk.
If you do not drink cow's milk, then it is important to try and find a milk alternative that replaces the nutrients you would otherwise get from milk. It can be very helpful to work with a dietitian to help you do this, especially if your diet is not fully balanced with all the food groups.
If you have worked with a dietitian or other health professional and determined that for some reason, you or your child, cannot tolerate dairy protein, the drink with the most similar nutrients to dairy is soy. However, it is important to understand that about half of people who cannot tolerate dairy also cannot tolerate soy. The proteins are very similar.
Most soy drinks have different tastes and consistencies, so it is best to try a few until you find one that you like. Ideally you would find a soy drink that has added calcium, riboflavin – vitamin B2, vitamin B12 and vitamin A. Ideally you would also choose one that is GMO free. So Good and Bonsoy are good brands most people prefer.
If you are not able to find a soy drink that has all these added vitamins, or you do not enjoy the taste, or you do not tolerate soy, it is possible to get these nutrients from other sources.
What about sheep or goats drinks?
All other milk type drinks including rice milk, goat milk, sheep or oat milk are generally not recommended as dairy substitutes, unless there is no other option or if you are on an elimination diet. They are often lacking in too many vitamins and minerals. Rice and oat milk are also low in protein.
However the availability of alternative milks with added nutrients is continually growing.
Also, it is important to realise that goats’ milk or sheeps’ milk have very similar proteins to dairy and if you have a problem with the protein in dairy, it is highly likely you will have a problem with these milks too.
Some people find that they tolerate A2 cows milk but not A1 (normal cows milk) as the casein protein is different. However, you need to challenge to see if you are able to tolerate it.
How about Almond Drink?
Assuming you don't have a nut allergy, almond drink is by far the most popular alternative milk. Almonds are high in a range of nutrients including magnesium, manganese and vitamin E. It has a good level of protein, although not as much as cow's milk and the drink produces a nice creamy flavour when used in smoothies, coffee, tea etc.
Almond milk has good levels of healthy fats compared with the saturated fat, however some brands are sweetened or flavoured. These are ok for irregular consumption but not for everyday use.
Other important information:
If the choice of milk replacement you choose is low in protein and calcium and you have other dietary restrictions. A dietitian might recommend including extra protein in your diet and taking a calcium supplement.
Children under the age of 1 year should only have breastmilk or formula as a milk drink. Breastmilk is the normal complete food for infants although formula will meet nutritional needs of the baby. Among other things, breastmilk also contains many protective factors and growth factors important for development and components that encourage healthy gut bacteria in the baby. The World Health Organization recommends that babies breastfeed for 2 years and beyond, as long as mother and child desire.
Special formulas may be prescribed by a doctor if your baby is not breastfed and needs this due to severe allergies or intolerances.
See our range of dairy free products
At Hopper HQ, we aim to be a source of nutritional and food hypersensitivity information to guide you in your journey through an elimination diet or in learning to live on a restricted diet. However, the information provided on our site is for educational purposes only and should never be used to diagnose food hypersensitivity or other medical conditions. It is very important you talk to a health professional such as a doctor and a dietitian before you undertake any kind of dietary elimination process or restricted diet.
LINKS TO OTHER SITES
Our Allergy Train / Hopper HQ website contains links to other websites to assist you with obtaining more information. However, we do not necessarily endorse all the content on these sites. Please critique each of these sites yourself before taking on board any of the information found on these sites.
- Jenny Trezise