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Demystifying milk & milk alternatives

Keeping your body in its best possible condition should be a top priority, whether you’re a competitive athlete, a fitness fanatic or simply taking charge of your health. To do so, it’s important to know that what’s going into your body is right nutritionally for you.

Did you know that studies have shown that after a workout, milk can be better at replenishing and rehydrating you than even energy drinks and water? The high protein content in milk can help to repair muscles, build stronger bones and even aid in reducing body mass.

However up to 5% of the UK population has an intolerance to the lactose in milk, and this number shoots up to 50% of the populations in South America, Africa and Asia. Nowadays, it’s far more common for people to have a mixed heritage, meaning that it can be difficult to know whether your ancestors have passed on genes that give you an intolerance or sensitivity to dairy. This can give symptoms ranging from mild bloating to stomach pains and sickness.

If you’re worried that you might be experiencing these symptoms after consuming dairy, a simple nutrition DNA test can give you an insight into the intolerances and sensitivities your body might have. But don’t worry! There are plenty of milk alternatives that offer many of the same benefits that cow’s milk does, some of which you may even prefer taste-wise too.

Almond Milk

This is one of the most common milk substitutes, is readily available in supermarkets and can even be made at home too. It has a light and slightly nutty flavour and is also low in calories. In addition, it offers a range of additional vitamins and minerals including vitamin E, iron, fibre, potassium and many more.
Almond milk does lack quite as much protein as cow’s milk, however this can be found from other sources if need be too.

Soy Milk

The fat and protein content of soy milk is the closest you can get to the levels found in cow’s milk without the real thing. It’s another common dairy alternative that can be easily bought in supermarkets and is especially popular in Asia, however make sure to check the carton before you make a purchase – some brands add sweeteners and sugars which will add up quickly in your daily coffees and teas!

Rice Milk

While rice milk is the best hypoallergenic option as those with dairy, casein, nut and soy intolerances can drink it, it’s not regarded as the best alternative generally. Due to the high sugar content that’s naturally occurring in rice, it’s less healthy than cow’s milk and has a pretty low protein content. It doesn’t make the most viable alternative for a cup of coffee or tea due to its watery texture, but taste-wise, most people enjoy it.

Oat Milk

Oat milk is highly regarded as one of the best milk alternatives as it can be consumed by those with dairy and nut intolerances and allergies, has limited saturated fats and also has a high fibre content compared to other options. Where cow’s milk has 0g fibre, and almond and soy have 1g per serving, oat milk has 2g. Even those with gluten intolerances or celiac disease may be able to drink oat milk if it’s made with gluten-free oats, although it’s recommended to find out beforehand whether this is something that applies to you.
This substitute is popular in pancakes and waffles as well as smoothies and creamy soups made without dairy due to its creamy consistency and slightly sweet flavour.

It’s worth noting that before you take the leap into trying different milk substitutes, you take a fitness DNA test as nuts and soy are other common intolerances that many people suffer from. Taking a test in advance will most likely save you time, effort, cost and some even potentially some discomfort while you find your ideal alternative.


 

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