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Comparing Milks: Dairy, Almond, Soy, Rice, Coconut and oats.

Comparing Milks: Dairy, Almond, Soy, Rice, Coconut and oats.


Amount of 236ml/8oz

Cow’s Milk


Almond Milk


Soy Milk


 Rice milk


Coconut Milk


Oat Milk (unsweetened)




150 kcal

40 kcal

80 kcal

































Cow’s Milk

The most popular of milks, this is produced by the mammary glands of cows.

While whole milk has 150 calories in one cup, 1% milk has 110 calories, and skim milk has just 80 calories, all of the milk types has the same amount of carbohydrates and protein, with some or all of the fat removed.

Whole milk has the highest fat content of all types of milk.

whole milk is high in natural proteins, fat, and calcium usually the milk is fortified with vitamin A and vitamin D.

Fat-free milk is significantly lower in calories than whole milk. However, the removal of fat decreases the amount of certain nutrients in the milk, including Fat-soluble Vitamins E and K.

Some people may have lactose intolerance, so they remove lactose (A sugar found in cow’s milk).

Lactose-free milk is processed to break down lactose. It is also a good source of protein, calcium, vitamins, and minerals. The total and saturated fat contents of lactose-free milk vary, as it comes in 2 percent, 1 percent

Pros of cow’s milk:

1- High in protein (A complete protein which means it has all the essential amino acids the body needs to synthesize protein).

2- Calcium (it provides 29% of the daily recommended intake) and vitamin B12, a vitamin that can only be naturally found in animal products.

3- vitamins and minerals: The vitamin is critical for our brain function and nervous systems as well as the carrier that brings iron into our bloodstream to help form new blood cells.

4-Lactose-free versions are available for people who have a lactose intolerance.


Cons of cow’s milk

1-Milk is higher in saturated fat and calories than other options on this list, one cup of whole milk contains 4.6 grams of saturated fat; one cup of 2% milk contains 3.1 grams; and one cup of 1% milk contains 1.5 grams.

2-Many people are intolerant to lactose, a milk sugar.


Almond milk (plant-based milk)

This is a dairy-free milk created by toasting and grinding the crunchy nuts and blending them with water. The result is a milk with a creamy texture and a nutty taste. It may also contain starches and thickeners to improve its consistency and shelf life.

Almond milk is low in protein compared to some of its counterparts, but it has a wide range of other nutrients.


Pros of Almond milk

1-It’s low in calories.

2-  Almond Milk is high in Magnesium, selenium and vitamin E, which can improve the health of your bones, provide antioxidants and help your immune system and metabolism

3-Almond milk is also cholesterol- and lactose-free, making it a popular alternative for those who want to avoid dairy products or those who are lactose-intolerant, It’s typically fortified to be a good source of calcium, vitamin A, and vitamin D. Because almond milk is low in sodium, it’s also a great option for anyone to maintain a healthy heart. Where almond milk beats out the competition is with calories, carbs and sugars and calcium.

4-Vegan and naturally lactose-free.            



Cons of Almond milk:

1- compared with soy milk and cow's milk, almond milk is very low in protein.

2-It may contain carrageenan, which may cause digestive issues in some people.


soy milk (plant-based milk)

Soy milk is produced by soaking dried soybeans and grinding them in water.

 Like other plant-based milk alternatives, it may contain thickeners to improve consistency and shelf life.

Because it comes from plants, soy milk is naturally free of cholesterol and low in saturated fat. It also con contains no lactose.

soy milk offers a complete protein, like dairy milk, but it can affect hormonal balance.


Pros of soy milk:

  • Soy milk is a complete protein (like cow's milk) and fiber; it's also low in sodium and can help reduce LDL, or "bad" cholesterol. A study in the Journal of Food Science and Technology compared the nutritional profiles of soy, almond, rice and coconut milk and found that soy came out on top. After cow's milk, which is the most nutritious, it’s also the highest in protein of the alternative milks tested, with about 8 grams for an 8-ounce serving.


  • Good source of potassium and can be fortified with vitamins A, B-12, and D, as well as calcium.
  • It contains very little saturated fat.


Cons of soy milk:

  • Soy is considered a phytoestrogen (or plant-sourced estrogen), and the soy estrogens in soy milk can affect hormonal balance.
  • It's also one of the highest milks in terms of fat and is lowest in calcium.

3-Soy is a common allergen for both adults and children.

3-Most of the soy produced comes from genetically modified plants.





Rice milk (plant-based milk)

Rice milk is made from milled rice and water. As with other alternative milks, it frequently contains additives to improve consistency and shelf stability.

 The most hypoallergenic of all the milk options, rice milk is a dairy-free milk made from boiled rice, brown rice syrup and brown rice starch. It's also the sweetest of the milk options.

 Rice milk is very low in fat but is high in carbohydrates and calories.

It’s the least likely of all milk products to cause allergies. A good choice for people with lactose intolerance or allergies to milk, soy, or nuts.

While rice milk can be fortified with calcium and vitamin D, it’s not a natural source of either, just like soy and almond milk. Rice has also been shown to have higher levels of inorganic arsenic.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends not relying solely on rice and rice products, especially for infants, children, and pregnant women.

Pros of rice milk

  • Rice milk is very low in fat and also contains high levels of magnesium to control blood pressure, it’s also dairy-free, so it's good for anyone who is lactose intolerant.


  • It’s the least allergenic of milk alternatives.


  • It can be fortified to be a good source of calcium, vitamin A, and vitamin D.


  • Rice milk is naturally sweeter than other milk alternatives.


Cons of rice milk

1-Low in calcium comparing it with the other milk types.

2-It contains high levels of carbohydrates. Rice milk comes in at 26 grams of carbs per serving, significantly more than all of the others, this makes it higher in sugars as well.

3-It’s not a good source of protein.

4-Eating too much of a rice product may pose a health risk for infants and children due to inorganic arsenic levels.


Coconut milk (plant-based milk)

Coconut milk made from filtered water and coconut cream, which is made from grated mature coconut flesh. As with other plant-based milk alternatives, coconut milk often contains added thickeners and other ingredients.

Coconut milk doesn’t naturally contain calcium, vitamin A, or vitamin D. However, it can be fortified with these nutrients.

Pros of coconut milk:

  • Coconut milk is low in calories, with about 45 calories per 8-ounce serving. Many people prefer the taste over other alternative milks. Coconut milk has a creamy texture, similar to cow's milk, making it an easy substitute in recipes.


  • Coconut milk is safe for most people with nut allergies.


  • It can be fortified to be a good source of calcium, vitamin A, and vitamin D.


Cons of coconut milk

1-Coconut milk has no protein. It's also high in saturated fat, but some nutritionists argue that these are medium-chain fatty acids, which only raise good cholesterol.

2-It may contain carrageenan, which may cause digestive issues in some people.


Oats milk (plant-based milk)

Oat milk is made by soaking oats in water, blending, and straining the mixture.

Compared to other types of milk, oat milk generally has more calories, carbs, and fiber than almond, soy, or cow’s milk while providing less protein than soy and dairy varieties.

Pros of oat milk:

  • Oat milk is high in soluble fiber and contains beta-glucans. (Beta-glucans are sugars found in oats and can help boost a person's immune system.) It also contains more B vitamins than soy or coconut milk.
  • Great Source of B Vitamins, Oat milk is often fortified with B vitamins, such as riboflavin (B2) and vitamin B12. For instance, they may help elevate your mood, combat oxidative stress, and promote healthy hair, nails, and skin.
  • 2-It's a good alternative for people with nut and soy allergies.

Cons of oat milk:

  • Low in protein, vitamins and minerals. Oat milk also contains more fat than other milk alternatives.
  • If you have a gluten intolerance, be sure to buy oat milk that’s labeled gluten-free or make it at home using certified gluten-free oats.




1- Singhal, S., Baker, R. and Baker, S., 2017. A Comparison of the Nutritional Value of Cowʼs Milk and Nondairy Beverages. Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition, 64(5), pp.799-805.

2- Marashly, E. and Bohlega, S., 2017. Riboflavin Has Neuroprotective Potential: Focus on Parkinson’s Disease and Migraine. Frontiers in Neurology, 8.

3- Whitehead, A., Beck, E., Tosh, S. and Wolever, T., 2014. Cholesterol-lowering effects of oat β-glucan: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 100(6), pp.1413-1421.

4- Vanga, S. and Raghavan, V., 2017. How well do plant based alternatives fare nutritionally compared to cow’s milk?. Journal of Food Science and Technology, 55(1), pp.10-20.

5- Fahoum, L., Moscovici, A., David, S., Shaoul, R., Rozen, G., Meyron-Holtz, E. and Lesmes, U., 2017. Digestive fate of dietary carrageenan: Evidence of interference with digestive proteolysis and disruption of gut epithelial function. Molecular Nutrition & Food Research, 61(3), p.1600545.

6- Verduci, E., D’Elios, S., Cerrato, L., Comberiati, P., Calvani, M., Palazzo, S., Martelli, A., Landi, M., Trikamjee, T. and Peroni, D., 2019. Cow’s Milk Substitutes for Children: Nutritional Aspects of Milk from Different Mammalian Species, Special Formula and Plant-Based Beverages. Nutrients, 11(8), p.1739.

 7- Bridges, M. and Rees, C., 2018. Moo-Ove Over, Cow’S Milk: The Rise Of Plant-Based Dairy Alternatives. Meagan Bridges. Available at:  

8- Messina, M., 2016. Soy and Health Update: Evaluation of the Clinical and Epidemiologic Literature. Nutrients, 8(12), p.754.

9- Schuster, M., Wang, X., Hawkins, T. and Painter, J., 2018. Comparison of the Nutrient Content of Cow’s Milk and Nondairy Milk Alternatives. Nutrition Today, 53(4), pp.153-159.

10- Singhal S, Baker R, Baker S, 2017 May A Comparison of theNutritional Value of Cow’s Milk and Nondairy Beverages.J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr.;64(5):799-805.


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