– Hate milk?
When Tony Fronce of Springfield, Mo., heard goats milk was easier to digest than cows milk, he gave it a try because cows milk sometimes bothered his stomach.
That was eight years ago, and hes been drinking goat milk ever since.
At Mama Jeans Natural Food Market in Springfield, sales of alternative dairy products parallel sales of cow milk products, says employee Jim Nail.
A lot of people are lactose-intolerant. Goat is easier on the stomach than cow. Soy satisfies their craving for milk, thick and creamy, but they dont have the reaction, Nail says.
These days theres an alternative form of dairy for just about everyone. Lactose-intolerant? Try soy milk. Soy allergy? Give rice milk a try. Need milk packed with protein? Sheep milk has almost double the amount of protein as cow milk. So how do you know what is best for your lifestyle? Heres a breakdown of benefits and downsides of different forms of dairy, including a few taste tips.
Soy and rice
Soy and rice milk may appeal to vegetarians, vegans or people who are lactose-intolerant, says Terry Egan, nutrition and health education specialist with the University of Missouri extension.
Soy and rice dont have lactose because they are from plant sources, Egan says. Rice versus soy is more of a taste preference. If you dont like the taste of soy, you might try rice.
Soy is the closest nutritionally to cows milk, Egan says.
One advantage of soy is it contains isoflavins, which help lower bad cholesterol, says Lisa Frazier, a registered dietitian at Skaggs Community Health Center in Branson, Mo.
Thanks to the isoflavins, soy is good for your heart. (They are) in all soy products, Frazier says.
Soy has virtually no saturated fat and is cholesterol-free, says Kathryn Fleming, dietitian with CoxHealth.
However, soy milk has twice as much fat as rice milk: 4 grams per cup versus 2 grams per cup.
Soy has about a third as many carbohydrates as rice milk – 8 grams versus 24.8 grams – according to information from www.calorie-count.com, an online resource that tracks nutritional information and grades foods.
Soy milk also has 7 grams of protein versus 0.4 grams in rice milk, according to the Web site.
Sheep, cow and goat
Most people dont want or need to increase their fat intake, but those who do want a high-fat and high-protein drink – a bodybuilder, perhaps – will find it in sheeps milk.
Sheeps milk is very rich. Whereas cows milk has 8 grams of fat per cup, sheep has 17 grams, Frazier says. Sheeps milk also has more calories: 260 per cup, whereas cows milk has 150, she says.
Sheeps milk has more protein than cows milk – almost twice as much – and also has more calcium.
Sheeps milk is low in sodium, has no sugar and is high in phosphorus, riboflavin, calcium and vitamin B12 – but it is also high in saturated fat.
Cows milk has an advantage for some people because it comes in reduced-fat versions and is an excellent source of protein and calcium, says Frazier.
Lower-fat varieties are still high in calcium and vitamins, but lower in fat and calories, she says.
Most cows milk is vitamin-D fortified, which may not be the case for sheep and goat milk, so be sure to read the label, Fleming says.
On the downside, a lot of people cant drink cows milk because they have trouble digesting it.
Technically, someone who is lactose-intolerant shouldnt be able to (digest goat milk), but I can tell you from working with clients some people who cant tolerate cows milk can tolerate goats milk. Goats milk has a different fatty-acid profile, Fleming says.
If your allergy to cows milk is severe, it may not be worth trying goats milk because you may have a similar reaction. If your reaction is a simple stomachache, then give goats milk a try, Frazier suggests.
Goats milk and whole milk from a cow are similar when it comes to calories, although lower-fat varieties of cows milk are lower in calories, says Egan.
Goats milk is higher in fat than cow milk, with about 10 grams per cup.
Goats milk may have health benefits: A study from University of Granada in Spain implied goats milk could prevent anemia and demineralization (softening of the bones) better than cows milk. The study was conducted on rats; further study on humans would be needed to conclude if people would share the same benefits. If they do, goats milk could potentially benefit osteoporosis patients or people with anemia, Frazier says.