Thought Dairy Was Bad? The Alternatives Might Not Be Better

Dacy Knight

Anyone who's ever tried to navigate the dairy-free milk section of a grocery store knows there's an overwhelming selection of alternatives. While giving up animal milk can certainly have its health benefits, the other options aren't necessarily better. To help navigate the many milks made from almonds, soy, coconut, and so on, Self had registered dietitians weigh in on the truth about each—naming their pros and cons and telling us exactly what we can expect. So before you assume that dairy-free options are guaranteed to be a healthy alternative to animal milk, read what the experts have to say. By considering their variances in flavors and nutritional benefits, you can better determine which option is right for you.

Almond milk is the most popular of the options, especially now that people have moved away from soy. It's low in calories and has no saturated fat, yet the downside is that—like cashew milk and rice milk—it's lacking in a lot of nutritional value and has very little protein, though you can find versions that have been fortified. Soy milk boasts more protein but isn't as healthy as it's purported to be. Coconut milk doesn't have the popularity of its oil and water forms, as it has very little nutritional value and is best left for cooking. Hemp milk was one of the few on the list about which the dietitians named no cons, yet they admit it's extremely difficult to find.

Read the full breakdown on Self, and then head to the comments to share your thoughts on these findings

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