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4 Dairy Alternatives

Are you thinking about swapping out cow’s milk for something else, are you vegan and looking for a dairy alternative or just interested in the topic? Then this blog post is for you! You’ve probably seen all the different types of milk that’s available these days. There’s so many options that you may not know where to start and might not even know if it is really worth it, as they’re sometimes expensive. In this post I want to discuss the nutrition composition of 4 of the alternatives that we often see on South African shelves. Lets start with looking at the original ;).

Cow’s milk

Available in full cream, low fat and fat free, the milk that most of us grew up with I believe. Naturally high in protein, calcium, vitamin A, riboflavin (B2) and vitamin B12. The protein being good for your overall health and the calcium is important for healthy bones and teeth. More on the nutrition profile below.

Almond milk

With almond milk there’s quite a few options, original, unsweetened and sometimes there’s even a few flavours available and it has a lot less calories and protein than cow’s milk. It’s also fortified with calcium, vitamin A, vitamin D and vitamin E. This might be a good option if you’re looking to cut calories for weight loss.

Soya milk

Soy milk’s nutrition profile is the closest to cow’s milk, it’s also high in protein and some are even fortified with calcium and vitamin D, just check the packaging to be sure. Soy milk is often available in different flavours as well.

Rice milk

Like almond milk, rice milk doesn’t contain a lot of protein and has a neutral flavour. Some brands (e.g. Woolworths) are also fortified with calcium, vitamin B2 and vitamin B12.

Coconut milk

Coconut milk is also available in original and low fat/lite. For those who love coconut flavour this is definitely an option. Although it is creamy and sweet, it doesn’t contain much protein and might not even be fortified with any of the goods like calcium, vitamin B2 and vitamin B12 found in cow’s milk.

Lets look at their nutritional info put together…

In this table I compared products from Woolworths, as it is just fair to compare products from the same brand. In the table I looked at full cream milk, unsweetened almond milk and normal coconut milk. All are recorded per 100 g/ml.

Compiled by Mariska Barnard (25/03/2021)


So what now, you might be thinking. Well if we look at this table and the quick summaries I gave about the different milk alternatives, it might be confusing. BUT, think about what you need, think about your goal! Ask yourself what you want…and now I’m thinking about that Notebook meme. What do you want?!

Back to the current topic. If you want to lose some weight and you’re able to include other protein sources in your diet, almond milk might be for you. Allergic to cow’s milk, why not try soya milk, as it has almost just as much protein and even less energy and fat, score! If you want to try coconut milk, I would advise the low fat/lite option, as the normal one has quite a bit of saturated fat and almost no protein.

Bottom line…always choose the option that’s best for your health and goals!

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