BOSTON (CBS) – When shopping for milk we used to have a few simple choices: whole, two-percent, or skim, but now there are more options than ever in the dairy aisle like soy, almond, coconut, and rice.
All of these options are healthy for different reasons.
If you’re looking for calcium, traditional cow’s milk is best.
“There’s about 50-percent of what you need in a day in cow’s milk, ” explains registered dietitian Jennifer Ventrelle. “Kids really need this special type of fat for brain development.”
But whole milk has 150 calories per eight-ounce serving. Drinking regular soy milk can cut that to 100 calories per cup while adding 300 milligrams of heart-healthy potassium.
There are concerns that too much soy protein could cause your body to absorb less potassium and it may be linked to breast cancer.
“If someone were concerned about that I would tell them to limit their intake of soy protein to 25 grams or less. A cup of soy milk is providing eight of those grams,” says Ventrelle.
If you’re willing to sacrifice calcium and protein, rice milk has the least amount of fat.
Coconut milk is cholesterol-free but still high in saturated-fat. And almond milk is the lowest in calories.
Whichever milk you choose, the experts say look for milk that is fortified with vitamin D and calcium.