One of the questions I am regularly asked is ‘Which milk is best?’, or ‘What is your favourite milk to recommend?’. You would expect the answer to be clear cut, however the answer is more shades of grey than black and white.

fat-free-milk-vs-full-creamDairy milk
Full cream, low fat, skim, A2, lactose free… so many options! To keep it short and sweet, when it comes to dairy, it depends on what your goals or health problems are, as to what is ‘best’. If you are choosing milk as part of your recovery from exercise, research shows that low fat is the best bet. Want to use full cream milk? No problem, however I do recommend that you minimise other sources of saturated fat in your diet (such as processed foods, takeaway foods and meat). A2 is an appropriate choice if you find you do not digest ‘normal’ cows milk all that well, and lactose free is the best dairy based choice if you need to avoid lactose. Phew!

The one that has received such mixed media attention, I find most people are really quite confused! Consumption of soy as part of a varied diet is a great choice. The studies indicating it is not so, were mostly done using very high dose soy supplements. If soy were to blame for the many types of cancers it often cops flack for, the rates of these diseases would likely be much higher in Japan! Research indicates that inclusion of soy based products can help reduce risk of prostate and breast cancer, along with improving heart health. If you choose to use soy milk, opt for one without added sugar, that is fortified with calcium, and if possible, made from whole soy beans.

Currently the trendy kid on the block when it comes to milk. Store bought, or home made, there is many health benefits touted for almond milk. Almonds themselves are naturally rich in calcium, and the unsweetened store bought milks, or those made at home are usually low in calories overall. Plus they taste good. Do be wary though, as some products contain large quantities of added sugar, some contain inadequate quantities of calcium, whilst others contain only 2% almonds! An appropriate option as an alternative to other milks, however it is a good idea to spend some time checking labels/recipes to ensure you are making the best choice for you.

20140203-grains-riceRice Milk
Another trendy one at present. This is something I usually recommend to people with food intolerances, as it is the lowest allergenic choice.

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