- The nutritional content of dairy milks and milk alternatives varies.
- Insider compared the nutritional profiles of 12 different milks, assessing calories, protein, carbs, and more.
- Unsweetened almond milk is a low-calorie choice, but semi-skimmed cow’s milk offers the most protein.
Plant-based milks have been growing in popularity for years, but the nutritional content of different milks and milk alternatives varies, with discrepancies between brands too.
The global dairy alternatives market is projected to grow from $22.25 billion in 2021 to $53.97 billion in 2028, according to a report by Fortune Business Insights.
In February 2022, the world’s first potato milk launched in the UK, which bills itself as “the most sustainable plant-based dairy alternative on the market.”
While some people opt for dairy alternatives, cow’s milk is an excellent source of calcium, protein, and vitamin D. It’s also more hydrating than water, according to a small study by St Andrews University in Scotland.
However, some people shun dairy because of intolerance or environmental concerns, and for some, the incentive is health.
Nutritional profiles of milks vary, with some offering more fiber, fat, protein, carbs, sugar, and calories than others.
Dietitians recommend choosing fortified plant-based milks
Plant-based milks are not necessarily “healthier” than dairy, and when following a plant-based diet, dietitians recommend ensuring your dairy-free milk alternatives are fortified with essential vitamins and minerals.
“Fortified means that they are added by the manufacturer and so will be on the ingredients list, or advertised on the front,” dietitian Nichola Ludlam-Raine previously told Insider.
“Choose milk alternatives that are fortified with vitamins such as vitamin B12 and
in addition to the minerals calcium and iodine,” she said.
The nutritional content of milk varies in terms of protein, carbs, and fiber. Cow’s milk, for example, contains lots of calcium and vitamin D, as well as protein. Soy milk is often fortified with calcium, and is also high in protein.
For the purpose of this comparison, Insider selected popular brands of each milk, opting for unsweetened options wherever possible, per cup.
Here’s the nutritional information to bear in mind when choosing which milk to have in your coffee, on your cereal, or alongside a cookie.