Almond and soy and coconut- oh my! Experts reveal best milk for the body and say trendy varieties could be full of PESTICIDES

Navigating the ever-expanding selection of milk and dairy alternatives can make your head spin.

Traditional cow’s milk, a dietary staple for thousands of years, has fallen out of fashion and is being surpassed by trendy oat and nut milks, which have legions of wellness-conscious and lactose-intolerant followers.

There are dozens of types of animal and plant-based milks to choose from, but not all are created equal, and each type has a different impact on the body – and on the planet.

Some, like almond milk, contain high levels of bone-strengthening calcium but use an excessive amount of water, while others, like oat milk, cause a spike in blood sugar levels but have a very low impact on the environment.

Ultimately, dietitian Maya Feller told The best way to choose which milk to buy is up to the individual consumer, who knows their health best.

Below, breaks down the ins and outs of the most popular milks on the market.

There are dozens of types of animal and plant-based milks to choose from, but not all are created equal, and each type affects the body differently

Cow’s milk

Milk Classic. As for types of milk, these are the most nutritious, providing a healthy dose of protein – about eight grams per eight-ounce glass – about 30 percent of daily calcium needs, as well as phosphorus and vitamin B2. which help strengthen bones and provide energy.

Milk has long been associated with strong, healthy bones. It was the basis of the mega-popular Got Milk campaign in the ’90s and early 2000s, featuring the cast of Friends, Simpsons characters and the Williams sisters with prominent milk mustaches.

The Got Milk campaign has become an indelible part of American pop culture, with milk becoming a fundamental part of a healthy diet and a staple in the kitchen.

It comes in different forms: whole, with less fat, with low fat content and fat-free, also called lean products.

1709821164 105 Almond and soy and coconut oh my Experts reveal best

Researchers in Poland linked this to a lower risk of bone density loss in old age. She reported that regularly consuming dairy products during the preschool and school years was associated with a greater likelihood of having better bone mineral density as an adult.

And the high protein content not only makes you feel fuller, but is also a great benefit for bone health. A 2013 study in the journal Public Health Nutrition found that women who followed a high-protein diet were more likely to have healthy bone mineral density than those who did not.

Cow’s milk also contains potassium and magnesium, which help protect against stroke.

But it’s not all good news. Like many foods, there are pros and cons to traditional cow’s milk.

High dairy intake has been linked to an increased risk of death heart disease and cancer – this type of milk is therefore best consumed in moderation.

Doctors at Harvard University found that drinking a lot of low-fat or low-fat milk was linked to diabetes slightly higher risk of death from all causes and poor cardiovascular health, as well as lung cancer, ovarian cancer and prostate cancer.

Despite the benefits, cow’s milk is not suitable for everyone.

Between 30 and 50 million Americans have some degree of intolerance to lactose, the type of sugar found in milk.

People with lactose intolerance do not produce enough of the enzyme lactase, which is needed to digest milk sugars. Fortunately, however, the alternative milk market has exploded in the past decade.

Soy milk

From the crowded field of plant-based milks to choose from, soy milk emerges as the option with the highest nutrient density per 250-gram serving.

Soybeans are a protein powerhouse that packs six grams and at least 20 percent of your daily value of calcium and B12. It is considered a complete protein, meaning it contains all the essential amino acids that humans need.

However, soy milk has been clouded in controversy lately due to a number of ingredients.

Almost 100 percent of all soybean acreage planted on American land is genetically modified to resist herbicides and pesticides. That is an increase from 17 percent in 1997.

Some worry about the impact this has on their health, although there is no conclusive evidence to suggest harm or a decrease in nutritional value.

Soy is generally healthy for the heart and good for the blood vessels. A 2020 study in the journal Circulation showed that American men and women who ate the greatest amounts of tofu and isoflavones from soy products had an 18 percent and 13 percent lower risk of developing heart disease, respectively, compared to those who ate the least.

The study did not look specifically at soy milk, although the results are notable because soy milk contains the same isoflavones.

Another sticking point for soy is its association with a higher risk of breast cancer. Isoflavones in soy are a type of plant estrogen known as phytoestrogen that functions similarly to human estrogen, but with weaker effects.

Dr. Tara Scott, a gynecologist and hormone specialist, said: ‘(With) soy milk you do have to worry about the quality of the soy and the fact that it can be a phytoestrogen.’

Because estrogen is known to play a role in the development of breast cancer, there has been a long stream of debate and research into whether the consumption of phytoestrogens worsens that risk.

But phytoestrogens don’t always mimic estrogen. Sometimes they block the action of the hormone, which means drinking soy milk in theory reduce the risk of breast cancer.

In 2021, researchers in China discovered that eating soy could prevent death from breast cancer. They studied the intake of soy isoflavones in 1,460 early-stage breast cancer survivors before and after their diagnosis over a four-year period.

Drinking or eating large amounts of soy was associated with a 66 percent lower risk of death from any cause and a 64 percent lower risk of death from breast cancer.

Higher soy intake after breast cancer diagnosis was associated with a 64 percent and 51 percent lower risk of death from any cause and breast cancer, respectively.

Oat milk

Oat milk is the milk of the moment, but it’s also the milk most likely to cause a spike in blood sugar.

Biochemist Jessie Inchauspé said of the drink in a viral interview: ‘Oat milk comes from oats, oats are a grain and grains are starch. So when you drink oat milk, you are drinking starch juice. You drink juice that contains a lot of glucose, so that leads to a large glucose peak.’

In people without diabetes, the increase in blood glucose is most likely not concerning enough to warrant skipping your oat milk latte, but it could be concerning for people with the condition.

Oat milk is low in protein compared to dairy and soy milk, but contains more fiber and less fat.

Nutritionists point out that it is worth paying close attention to the ingredients label, which should list only a few.

Companies are also likely to add gums and flavorings, which undermine the already shaky nutritional foundation.

Many popular oat milk on the market also contain glyphosatethe active ingredient in the heavy duty weed killer RoundUp.

Some experts believe that late-season pesticide spraying on crops in the field is the cause.

Dr. Dora Marinova, professor of sustainability at Curtin University Sustainability Policy Institute, told Goop: ‘Oat milk is really good when it comes to carbon footprint – very, very low.

‘Yet it is grown as a monoculture, which makes it vulnerable to all kinds of insects and pests. “That’s why we’re seeing increased use of pesticides, including glyphosate, which essentially has potentially toxic effects.”

Almond milk

Almond milk is the best-selling plant-based milk in the US, yet it has the weakest nutritional profile compared to the others.

Ninety-seven percent of that is water, and an 8-ounce serving of almond milk contains only one gram of protein.

It’s always a good idea to read the label on the back of the carton because some brands of almond milk contain more sugar than cow’s milk. They’re also often packed with thickeners and flavorings that, like oat milk, can undermine the benefit of drinking them in the first place.

Unsweetened varieties of almond milk are typically low in carbohydrates, and many brands fortify their milk with vitamins, minerals and added protein.

Almond milk is also naturally rich in vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant linked to reducing the risk of heart disease.

Rice milk

Rice milk contains fewer calories than dairy milk and is gluten-free, making it a safe bet for people with celiac disease.

It’s also cholesterol-free and contains only one gram of fat per cup, which works well for people on a diet specifically designed to keep their heart healthy.

The low fat and calorie content also makes it a good option for someone looking to lose a few pounds.

A typical serving contains fewer calories than a glass of cow’s milk, but still more than a cup of soy milk.

However, a major disadvantage is the high glycemic index of the drink. One cup of rice milk contains 33 grams of carbohydrates, three to four times as much as cow’s milk or soy milk.

The naturally high carbohydrate content means that diabetics should stay away from it.

Coconut milk

Coconut milk, not to be confused with coconut water, comes from the flesh of ripe brown coconuts.

It provides the body with more magnesium than traditional cow’s milk and contains about 40 percent of the daily recommended amount of iron in one cup.

At the same time, coconut milk contains about half the protein of a glass of cow’s milk and more than four times as many calories, but no cholesterol.

The coconut has a high glycemic index (GI), meaning it is likely to cause a spike in blood sugar levels after eating it and diabetics may need to find another plant-based milk alternative.

But it’s not all bad.

Although the GI is high, coconut milk has a low glycemic load, a measure that takes into account the glycemic index and the portion eaten. A low glycemic load means it has very little impact on blood sugar levels.