How the alt-milks are taking on dairy

Emma Brown - Nutritionist | 26 May, 2019

We're spoilt for choice with all the cow's milk alternatives in the chillers these days. But which is best in terms of nutrition?

It's well known that cow's milk is naturally rich in important nutrients such as protein, calcium and vitamin B12, so it's a good choice from a nutrition perspective – providing you're not lactose intolerant or have an allergy to cow's milk.

However, if you would prefer to opt for a dairy free alternative for health or environmental reasons or simply personal preference, which is the best from a nutritional point of view? Many of the plant based milks aren't naturally rich in the same nutrients as cow's milk, but more often than not they have been fortified with these nutrients instead – so are still a good source.

Below is a comparison table showing the nutrient profile of various milks – per 100ml

  Green = best choice for this nutrient.
Milk Kcals Protein Sat fat Calcium Vit B12 Iodine Vit D
Cows (semi) 46 3.5g 1.1g 124mg 0.9µg 30µg -
Goats (semi) 44 2.9g 1.0g 120mg 0.1µg 0µg -
Lacto free (semi) 39 3.5g 1.0g 114mg 0.9µg 30µg -
A2 cows (semi) 48 3.5g 1.0g 120mg 0.9µg 30µg -
Soya (unsweetened) 33 3.3g 0.3g 120mg* 0.38µg* 22.5µg* 0.75µg*
Soya (sweetened) 39 3.0g 0.3g 120 mg* 0.38µg* 22.5µg* 0.75µg*
Almond (unsweetened) 13 0.4g 0.1g 120mg* 0.38µg* 0.2µg* 0.75µg*
Almond (sweetened) 22 0.4g 0.1g 120mg* 0.38µg* 0.2µg* 0.75µg*
Hemp 45 0.5g 0.3g 120mg* 0.38µg* 0.2µg* 0.75µg*
Rice 47 0.1g 0.1g 120mg* 0.38µg* 0.2µg* 0.75µg*
Oat 44 0.3g 0.1g 120mg* 0.38µg* 0.2µg* 1.5µg*

*Based on average fortification amounts – always check the label, as some may not be fortified.

Nutritionist Emma Brown (ANutr), MSc Human Nutrition is passionate about how food science applies to the human body, and how the nutrients in what we eat affect us and ultimately have an impact on our health.