Got milk? But which kind?

Time was when milk meant dairy. But these days there’s a wide variety available for the taking. Would you like whole milk or soy? Rice or almond? If you’re even more choosy, pick up imported cashew, coconut and oat versions.

Each type of milk has its advantages and disadvantages, depending on a person’s diet, health and nutritional needs. Choosing a “milk” often boils down to taste preference, which varies from person to person. We give you the skinny on four types of milk. Make your choice prudently, keeping age and needs in mind.


This drink that we’ve all grown up on – the whole variety – is packed with nine essential nutrients, including calcium, potassium, phosphorus, protein, vitamin A, D and B12, riboflavin and niacin.

Good to Know

• Pick a variant that suits you – whole milk-toned milk or skim milk.
• Whole milk contains 8 grams of fat per cup, 8.5% non-fat milk solids, and 88% water.
• A cup of whole milk has 150 calories while a cup of skim milk has 80 calories.
• Fat-free milk has all of the nutritional benefits that whole milk offers sans the saturated fat and calories. Dietitians often recommend skim milk for the majority of their clients.
• The proteins and extra calories found in whole milk benefit infants and the elderly.
• Try a lactose-free version if you’re lactose intolerant.

dairy milkWhole Milk, 1 cup
Calories: 150 
Fat: 8 gm
Carbs: 12 gm
Sugar: 11 gm
Protein: 8 gm
Calcium: 300 mg


Made from soybeans, this milk alternative is extremely popular with vegans and those who’re lactose intolerant.

Good to Know

• Soy milk is a good source of protein, potassium, vitamin A, B12 and D.
• It has the same amount of protein as cow’s milk but has a lower calorie content than whole milk.
• Soy milk has zero cholesterol and is low in saturated fat – the best bet for anyone with a heart condition.
• An overdose of soy isn’t recommended for those with a thyroid problem.

Soy Milk, 1 cupSoy Milk
Calories: 100 
Fat: 3.5 gm
Carbs: 10
Fibre: 1 gm 
Sugar: 8 gm 
Protein: 6 gm 
Calcium: 300 mg


Made from ground almonds, almond milk is a variant that’s free from cholesterol and saturated fat.

Good to Know

• One of the many almond milk benefits is that it is extremely low in calories.
• It contains no saturated fat or cholesterol and is a good source of vitamins A and D.
• It’s naturally lactose-free.
• It’s not a good source of protein and is lacking in calcium unless fortified.
• Those allergic to almonds or nuts should avoid almond milk.

Almond MilkAlmond Milk
Calories: 30 
Fat: 2.5 gm
Carbs: 0
Sugar: 0
Protein: 1 gm
Calcium: 450 mg


Made from milled rice and water, rice milk is a good choice for those with lactose or nut allergies.

Good to know
• Rice milk is not a natural source of either calcium or vitamin D but can be fortified.
• It is extremely high in carbs and very low in protein so best avoided by the elderly and athletes.

Rice Milk, 1 cupRice Milk
Calories: 90
Fat: 2.5
Carbs: 15 gm
Sugar: 0
Protein: 0
Calcium: 300 mg

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Written by Sumita Thomas

Sumita Thomas

For Sumita Thomas, good nutrition advice is less about what NOT to eat and all about HOW to eat. Armed with a master’s degree in clinical nutrition and dietetics from IGNOU, Sumita has worked with multi-specialty clinics and corporate clients, planning calorie-specific menus for their cafeterias. She’s also a certified diabetes educator, has worked in cardiac nutrition and is even a TUV-certified internal auditor for food safety management systems. Maybe that’s why she ensures her advice is always scientifically sound, which makes her a perfect fit for us at HealthifyMe. Of the belief that a healthy lifestyle can be achieved with the combination of a healthy mind, body and diet, Sumita recommends setting realistic goals – one health target a day – and gradually incorporating healthy ingredients to your daily diet. Does she practice what she preaches? For sure, and ensures all those around her do too. So get set, because that now includes you!

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