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Which milk is healthier?

Lactose intolerance isn’t uncommon. As we get older our bodies do tend to naturally produce a bit less of the enzyme called lactase that breaks down the lactose in milk, with varying consequences.

For some people this is a non event and they tolerate dairy very well in their coffee, their breakfast, on a cheese platter or as a snack. In fact, really, unless they drink a big milkshake there’s no problem at all.

For other clients, even smaller amounts of dairy cause discomfort and often where I see this to be the biggest issue is when dairy is removed almost entirely from their diet because you can actually make an intolerance worse.

So the first thing I will say here is – if you think you have a lactose intolerance – don’t remove all the dairy from your diet. Come in and have a chat because we can usually preserve some tolerance to it if it is something you have developed over time.

Secondly, regardless of the stage of life you develop an intolerance at, it does not negate your need for calcium in your diet. In fact, particularly if you are a woman, as you reach menopause you need even more calcium.

Inside of all of that, one of the most common questions I get asked is “which milk should I drink?”

If you are lactose intolerant I recommend drinking lactose free milk as opposed to any of the other options.

Why? Because its just milk, with the lactose removed. So you have all the benefits of actual milk, those being protein and calcium, without the discomfort.

As soon as you walk the path of drinking milk alternatives you also start to lose nutritional value and find yourself consuming a lot of additives. You need only look at the ingredients of any of the alternatives to see that its not just almonds and water in your almond milk.

If dairy isn’t your thing then I recommend soy as your second option. But make sure it has been fortified with calcium. Soy milk at least contains a reasonable amount of protein.

Then everything else comes after that because nutritionally there’s nothing positive about any of the other milk alternatives. Some are fortified with assorted vitamins and minerals, but essentially they are just water with sugar, additives and a bit of wet nuts, oats or rice. They will make your coffee white or your cereal wet but that’s about all they are good for.

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