Milk is about as American as apple pie or baseball. And after a decade-long ad campaign, the slogan "it does a body good" is imprinted in our brains.
The question is, does it?
The advice can be conflicting. The United States Department of Agriculture's official food pyramid recommends 2-3 cups a day. But, according to Harvard University's influential food pyramid, milk isn't an essential part of a healthy diet and may even pose risks.
Here's what we do know. Fortified milk contains three ingredients—calcium, potassium, and vitamin D—that when packaged together are important for bone health. However, there are downsides including problems with proper digestion.
If you're among the movement seeking a dairy-free lifestyle, but don't know where to start, try the following popular alternatives to dairy. Learn what the pros and cons are to each alternative.
Low in fat and calories, almond milk has half the calories of milk per serving and only 3 grams of fat-all healthy fats.
Almond milk is made from almonds and water (unless you're choosing vanilla or sweetened). It contains no animal by products making it vegetarian and vegan-friendly. Compared to rice and soy milk, almond milk naturally has the most vitamins and minerals including copper, zinc, iron, magnesium, calcium, potassium and many more.Cons:
Almond milk is lactose free, and gluten free, appropriate for those who are lactose intolerant or allergic to gluten. However, if you have any tree nut allergies, you may suffer a dangerous allergic reaction and should not consume almond milk.
Almond milk may not be suitable for infants, as it doesn't contain the nutrition found in breast milk or formula. It can also possibly cause tree nut allergies. It's best to speak to your doctor before choosing this alternative.