Got milk? Not anymore. An increasing body of evidence suggests that consumers are foregoing traditional dairy milk and opting for soy, rice, and almond-based substitutes.
Although these alternatives were initially intended for individuals with lactose or gluten intolerance, they have become a mainstream phenomenon among the general population as well.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, milk consumption per capita has been steadily declining, dropping 25% from 1975-2012. Meanwhile, dairy substitutes have averaged an annual sales growth of 10.9% since 1999 in the U.S.
So why the sudden change of heart? Typically dairy-free milk alternatives are far lower in fat and calories than traditional cow's milk. That being said, some of these soy, rice, and almond-based beverages lack the protein and Vitamin D found in cow's milk. However, manufacturers have found ways to infuse the substitutes with these nutrients to meet the body's needs.
Here's an infographic from Everyday Health that gives you the skinny on these non-dairy milk alternatives.
Image Source: Everyday Health
So, when deciding between traditional dairy milk, here are a few key takeaways to consider:
- Dairy milk, although rich in protein and Vitamin D, is also very high in fat.
- Non-dairy beverages are typically easy to digest for individuals with a lactose and/or gluten intolerance.
- Rice, soy, and almond-based milk alternatives are infused with several essential vitamins and minerals to meet the body's nutritional needs.
- Research all the different types of dairy milk and milk alternatives to decide which option is best for your health!