Most people these days have heard of the milk controversies going around – is dairy bad for you, or good for you? Is soy bad for you, or good for you? Should you avoid both soy and dairy and go for something like rice, or almond milk? And which milks taste best with your coffee? So let’s go through the different options one by one – in this first part we will cover dairy and soy and in the second part other alternatives.
Traditional dairy milk is still the most common milk used to create lattes and hot chocolates and the one which has a superior texture as it’s the texture people are used to and one that works well for foaming. As there are different dairy milks available – from half and half to no fat varieties it’s also easy to choose how creamy you want your drink to be. However, more and more people are becoming lactose intolerant, or subscribing to veganism, or diets such as the GAPS diet which forbids milk and whereas many seek to avoid the high cholesterol and fat in creamier milk varieties, the health community are now arguing that the healthiest milks are the fattier kind, making it all a tad confusing. Dairy milk does contain both protein and calcium, which are needed by the body though and in that regards it is healthy (although apparently there are less cases of osteoporosis, which is often caused by lack of calcium, in China than in the West and people in China don’t really use dairy). In some instances people choose to use goat’s milk or sheep’s milk as an alternative as they can tolerate it better. Some people also prefer unpasteurized milk, as even though chances of bacteria are greater, it contains live enzymes, helping the body to break it down.
Dairy milk naturally contains some levels of estrogen and can contain growth hormones and antibiotics if these were used for the cows, making organic an obvious choice if you don’t want this in your body.
Soy milk is maybe the most popular dairy milk replacement on the shelves today and in theory it sounds great – it is easy to use for lattes as it creates great foam, it contains lots of protein and little fat and it’s usually fortified with vitamins and minerals that make it similar to milk. Some studies have shown that things that are fortified aren’t necessarily as good as the real deal, but still, it is likely to have some benefits. However, from being touted as a miracle product when first launched it has since come up in several studies that soy is harmful, especially GMO soy, which makes up 90-95% of the market. Word has it that soy might make women infertile, affect men’s hormonal levels, cause certain cancers and create allergies. In fact there are so many studies done by now that it’s hard to cover it all in this blog, but you can read more here.
So if you are choosing between dairy and soy, maybe dairy is the best alternative after all? At least if you go for goat’s milk. However, in part two of this blog we will discuss more alternatives that you may find suit you better!