Milk can be a great addition to your diet if your goal is to lose weight. However, there are so many options these days that it can be tricky to determine which version of this beverage can benefit you the most. Here are some pros and cons to help you sort out which dairy delight is best for you.
PRO: There's no denying that this version provides the most protein and calcium of all milks. It's also wonderful because there are several varieties - whole, 2%, 1%, and skim (nonfat)
- that you can incorporate into your diet. The only difference between them is the fat, and thus calorie, content. The carbohydrate, protein, calcium, and vitamin contents are not affected.
CON: Milk contains the simple sugar lactose, which makes it a poor choice for those suffering from lactose-intolerance. When one lacks the necessary enzyme to break down lactose, gastrointestinal distress can result - this is quite prevalent among American adults, so if this is an issue for you, it is probably best to find versions that have already been treated for lactose (Lactaid).
PRO: Soy milk is still a good source of protein and calcium, although it does not contain as much as cow's milk. It is also free of saturated fat and is low in calories. Since soy milk does not contain lactose, it's a great option for people with lactose-intolerance and there are now many flavors on the market to meet your individual tastes.
CON: There is some preliminary research that exists that suggests that soy may play a role in the development of certain types of breast cancer due to the way it acts as a hormone in breast cells. However, additional research is needed to draw any conclusions. Also, some people experience soy allergies so they should avoid soy milk and other soy products.
Almond or Rice Milk
PRO: These types of milk are becoming more popular - once found only in health stores, you can now track them down at nearly any grocery store. They have about the same fat content as dairy milk, with a rich and nutty flavor. This makes them a good alternative to those with sensitivities to dairy and soy, and these days, there are more flavors and brands to choose from.
CON: There is very little protein in almond milk - only about 1 gram per cup, rather than the 7 or 8 grams in other types, and rice milk does not fare much better in this department. Those with nut allergies cannot consume almond milk, and the B-complex vitamins that are present in dairy milk are absent as well. Rice milk also lacks vitamins A and C, making it a poor choice if you are opting to drink it for a nutritional boost.