Dairy vs. Plant: Understanding your options

Seattle, WA, March 23, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Standing in the dairy aisle at your local grocer, you’ll see more options than ever before. How do you know what to choose between dairy and plant-based options? Let’s break it down.   

Dairy foods provide key nutrients that are historically difficult to replace in a healthy diet. Cow’s milk provides an excellent source of vitamins and minerals, such as calcium, phosphorus, B vitamins, potassium, and vitamin D, all of which are under-consumed and lacking in many diets, according to medical research from the U.S. National Institutes of Health. If you’re looking to get more from your nutrition needs, cow’s milk contains 8 natural grams of protein, which is more than the standard hardboiled egg. Cheese is a constant favorite, with the research to back it up. Eating around a little more than 1 ounce of cheese everyday could help reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. If you’re looking for more variety, try eating some yogurt. Yogurt encourages intestinal health, helps build stronger bones, and enhances immunity. In fact, Greek yogurt contains 15 to 20 grams of high-quality protein! That’s the same amount of protein as a 2 to 3 ounce cut of lean meat. Greek yogurt is also easier on the stomach as it contains less sugar.

Milk sugar, known as lactose (a combination of glucose and galactose), occurs naturally in dairy products. Some people have an intolerance to lactose, which can cause G.I. discomfort. In this case, there are plenty of lactose free options. People with dairy allergies on the other hand, have a sensitivity to a protein in milk. Therefore, a plant-based dairy option may be a better choice. It’s best to consult with a physician or a registered dietitian.

Some people choose plant-based dairy alternatives due to taste, religion or the use of natural resources. However, there’s discrepancy with their use. Plant-based dairy products do not deliver the same amount of nutrients. Almond milk has only 2 grams of protein, whereas soy milk has 8 grams of protein. It’s important to check to see if the label on the plant-base package is fortified, which means nutrients have been added that don’t naturally occur in the food itself. Like most packaged foods, plant-based cheese and yogurts greatly vary in terms of their list of ingredients and nutrition facts. It’s important to note that plant-based alternatives are not inherently healthier and may not deliver on the reason why you chose them in the first place.

When you’re deciding what to consume and purchase, choose quality, locality, and nutrient density to feel good and fuel your body. This will make it easier to develop healthy, and sustainable eating habits.



Dairy vs. Plant Options