When it comes to the food we eat, it’s hard to improve on nature. That’s why Washington dairy families are committed to keeping our milk pure, fresh and naturally filled with the nutrients our bodies need. And not everything called "milk" is the same. Choosing the right beverage is easy if you read the label and compare. Milk has fewer ingredients than milk substitutes like coconut, rice or soy beverages -- making it the healthier, more natural milk choice.
Real Milk vs. “Milk Substitutes”
Real milk is an all-natural food that usually takes about two days to get from the cow to your grocery store, ensuring the milk you’re drinking is fresh. Milk delivers a powerful nutrient package including 9 essential nutrients: calcium (for strong bones and teeth), potassium (regulates fluids and maintains blood pressure), phosphorous (strengthens bones and generates energy), protein (builds muscle tissue and generates energy), Vitamin A (for normal vision and skin), Vitamin D (promotes calcium absorption), Vitamin B12 (builds red blood cells), riboflavin (converts food ino energy) and niacin (facilitates enzymes and metabolizes sugars and fatty acids). The calcium in milk is naturally occurring, making it easier for the human body to absorb.
But what are you getting when you don’t choose the real thing? If you never read ingredient labels, you should start. While milk substitutes claim to be healthy and natural, one glance at the nutrition label could have you thinking otherwise. Many milk substitute beverages are sweetened with added sugars that add flavor but also calories. You can spot added sugars in the ingredients list by looking for words like cane, corn or syrup or other words that end in “-ose.” You can also find other additives that improve the taste or texture, like L-selenomethionine and carrageenan. Can you even pronounce those words?
Less is More
Fat-free milk only has three ingredients: milk, Vitamin A and Vitamin D3. We think the fewer ingredients a food has, the better. It means you’re avoiding all the added sugars, flavoring, colors and preservatives that have invaded the American food system and our healthy lives. Less really is more.
Some people choose to drink milk substitutes due to a milk allergy or lactose intolerance. A milk allergy is an abnormal response to the protein in milk and milk products; and lactose intolerance means the body can’t digest lactose, the naturally occurring sugar found in dairy foods. While people with milk allergies should avoid milk and other products made with milk, it turns out that if you’re lactose intolerant the best substitute for milk is still milk. Like regular milk, lactose-free milk has that same powerful nutrient package -- so your body gets the nourishment it needs. Lactose-free milk also has fewer ingredients than milk alternatives. Lactose-free milk is just like all other types of milk -- it just has had the lactose removed.
And maybe we’re biased, but real milk just tastes better. For the most nutritious and delicious option, make real milk your milk choice.