What kind of milk is best to drink if you are over 65 years of age?

I am interesting in finding out the pros and cons of the various types of milk on the market.

  • Hi thank you for the question. The milk aisle has exploded and includes varieties from different animals, AND a
    plethora of plants as well. Below is a review of most milks on the market today.

    Main Types: Whole, 2%, 1%, skim (varying fat content)
    Why we like it: Cow’s milk is not only a natural source of calcium, but it contains other necessary micronutrients including vitamin D, phosphorus, B vitamins, and potassium. Cow’s milk is a great source of complete protein it contains all 9 essential amino acids. Casein, a slowly digested protein, makes up the majority of the protein found in milk which supports satiety and has been shown to aid weight loss. Cow’s milk also contains good for you fatty acids such as CLA and omega 3s (more plentiful in grass fed milk).
    Possible down sides: Individuals with lactose intolerance are unable to digest lactose, the natural sugar found in milk . Milk is one of the top 9 major food allergies, so those with a milk allergy will need to avoid.
    The bottom line: If you can tolerate cow’s milk, it’s our top pick. The balance of protein and carbohydrates make it a great choice for a beverage or snack, especially for picky eaters. Don’t be fooled by the sugars on the label these are natural, not added, and the benefits of milk far outweigh the grams of sugar. Also, there are NEVER hormones added to milk. If you are worried about bovine hormones, opt for organic. Choose reduced fat or skim milk for anyone over the age of 2.

    Types: Lactose Free, A2, Ultra Filtered
    Why we like it: Many people experience digestive discomfort when drinking cow’s milk. Fortunately, there are a few options available for people who experience this. Lactose Free milk is the same as regular cow’s milk, but the natural sugar, lactose, has been removed. This means that individuals who are lactose intolerant can drink it without the resulting GI discomfort after. There are two common variants of the milk protein casein, commonly referred to as A1 casein and A2 casein. Some cows produce milk that has both variants and some produce milk with only the A2 casein. A2 milk is regular cow’s milk that only contains the A2 casein. Some individuals may have less stomach discomfort with the A1 protein removed. Lastly, ultra filtered milks have gone through an additional filtration step that eliminates some of the milk liquids, and leaves behind a higher concentration of the solids. Ultra filtered milk is often higher in protein and calcium while being lower in lactose or lactose free.
    Possible down sides: All of these milks still contain milk protein, so are not suitable for those with a milk allergy.
    The bottom line: These varieties of milk still contain all the beneficial nutrients from milk that we love, and
    may be easier on the digestive system for some.

    Main Types: Sweetened, Unsweetened, Vanilla, Chocolate 
    Why we like it: Almond milk is fortified with calcium, vitamin D, and vitamin E which are important for bone and overall health. This plant based alternative is free of saturated fat and cholesterol, and its mild, sweet taste is appealing to most. It works well as a substitute in most recipes.
    Possible down sides: Almond milk is mostly water (it contains only about 2% almonds!) with added thickening agents, stabilizers, sweeteners, and vitamins and minerals. Some brands use carrageenans as a stabilizer which is a potentially inflammatory ingredient whose safety is questionable. Most importantly, almond milk is not a good source of protein with only about 2 grams (compared to 8 grams in cow’s milk) per serving.
    The bottom line: Almond milk is by far the most popular plant based milk taking over 60% of the market share. It’s lack of protein makes it less than ideal, but if looking for a low calorie liquid to add to a high protein shake or cereal, choose an unsweetened variety with a short ingredient list.

    Types: Sweetened, unsweetened, barista blend, extra creamy
    Why we like it: Oat milk has a creamier texture than most plant based alternatives making it a fan favorite for coffee drinks such as lattes and cappuccinos. Most are fortified with calcium, vitamin D, and B vitamins and are suitable for those with allergies to milk, soy and nuts its also lactose free.
    Possible down sides: Many oat milk varieties have added oils such as sunflower or palm oil and are often higher in calories than cow, soy, or almond milk. You will see added sugar on the nutrition facts panel rest assured there aren’t typically added sugars, but the oats are broken down in the processing and must be listed as added sugars. Its low in protein an average of about 2g per serving which is less than ideal. The claim of added fiber in oat milk typically only applies when making it yourself from whole oats, and those suffering from gluten sensitivity or a wheat allergy should avoid (unless certified gluten free) as most oats are cross contaminated with wheat during processing.
    The bottom line: Oat milk in our eyes is a great “sometimes milk” for specialty coffee beverages or smoothies requiring a little creaminess or foam. Due to its higher calories, added sugar, and low protein content, it doesn’t top our list of plant based milks.

    Types: Sweetened, unsweetened, vanilla, chocolate
    Why we like it: Soy milk is lactose, gluten, and nut free making it a great choice for those with allergies. It is also a complete plant protein which has close to the same amount of protein as cow’s milk. It contains calcium, vitamin D, and is low in saturated fat.
    Possible down sides: Some say the taste of soy milk is not as enjoyable as other plant based milks as it can have a slightly chalky taste when unsweetened. Flavored and sweetened varieties can have added sugar and calories. While the protein aligns with cow’s milk, it is not as slowly digested, making it less satiating. Although nutrient rich, many worry about the GMO status of soy, so choose a brand made from non GMO soybeans to alleviate this controversy if desired.
    The bottom line: The protein status of this plant based choice gives soy milk some major points. Choose an unsweetened variety with a short ingredient list.

    Types: Canned, carton, sweetened, unsweetened, lite
    Why we like it: Traditional, canned coconut milk is a delicious, rich ingredient used in cultural cuisine. Its high fat content can make it quite filling, and it naturally contains electrolytes potassium, magnesium and phosphorous. Canned coconut milk also contains fiber (5 grams) and a moderate amount of protein (5 grams) per cup.
    Possible down sides: Canned coconut milk is a very high calorie food (about 550 calories per cup!) with over 90% of its calories coming from fat specifically saturated fat (don’t be fooled by marketing campaigns saturated fat is saturated fat!) Carton coconut milk is far from the canned variety. It is mostly water with additives such as sugar, oils, salt, vitamins and minerals. Unsweetened coconut milk in the carton is only about 40 calories per cup but has 0g of protein and 4g of fat a less than ideal combo. Although safe for many, coconut is recognized as a tree nut and may not be suitable for those with nut allergies.
    The bottom line: Choose traditional canned coconut for authentic recipes or decadent desserts that are eaten in moderation. You can opt for lite coconut milk if you’re looking for the same creamy flavor but fewer calories. Skip the carton variety and choose an alternative plant based milk for larger servings in cereals, smoothies, or coffee drinks.


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