There are an endless amount of choices in grocery stores these days. At Homestead Creamery, we passionately support the right to choose the best quality products that are right for your family. We’re also passionate about helping individuals make choices based on a solid foundation of information and education. That’s why we’re breaking down the nutritional differences between milk and non-dairy alternatives.
While many people purchase alternatives because of an allergy to lactose or dairy proteins*, others choose them for nutritional value. But does making the switch really balance out? Let’s take a look at a few key elements of what makes a product good or bad for you.
The whole foods movement has taken kitchen pantries by storm in recent years. The concept behind whole foods is purchasing foods that have a little ingredients as possible. In this way, you can be certain that your food isn’t overly processed and doesn’t have ingredients that you can’t quite pronounce or understand.
Let’s take a look at milk. Our milk, for example, only contains one or two ingredients. Whole milk contains two: milk and cream. Technically, these “two” ingredients are still from one source and go through very minimal processing. On the other hand, our skim milk contains only milk. We simply remove the cream and lightly pasteurize the milk.
On the other hand, dairy alternatives such as soy, almond, or coconut -based drinks can sometimes rack up a long list of ingredients. Because these do not contain naturally occurring nutrients, these drinks have to be fortified with vitamins and often require other additives to maintain a texture that is similar to milk.
Milklife.com has created a helpful interactive comparison chart so you can see just how many extra ingredients are in these alternatives.
Did you know that milk contains 16 essential nutrients? It’s not just the high protein and Vitamin D content that makes milk great for you. Many vitamins and minerals depend on other nutrients to help your body thoroughly process them. For example, Vitamin D enhances Calcium and Phosphorus absorption. That’s why milk is so well-rounded. It has them all!
While non-dairy alternatives can boast a lot of the same key vitamins and minerals, the percentages and number of them are no comparison to that of milk.
Yes, milk does contain naturally occurring sugar. You’ll never see a sugar free milk come from Homestead Creamery. However, there is a big difference between added sugars and naturally occurring sugar. Often times, ingredients like high fructose corn syrup, sucrose, maltose, and dextrose are added to non-dairy alternatives to enhance the flavor. We’re lucky enough to have great tasting milk that’s fresh off of local farms, so we don’t have to add the sugar!
At the end of the day, when you gather around the dinner table with your family, we want you to choose the beverage that best fits your needs. While all of these options have their benefits, we can’t help but feel a little biased towards simple, nutritious milk. As long as you feel like you’re making an educated decision, we’re happy!
*If you have made the switch to a dairy alternative because digestive problems, we could have a solution for you! Learn more about our new, all natural A2A2 milk!