Milk provides a package of protein and essential nutrients that are not easily replaced with other foods. Among registered dietitians, family physicians and pediatricians who participated in a recent survey, fluid milk was among the top sources of calcium and vitamin D they recommended to their clients/patients.
So what’s up with all of the other items filling the shelves claiming to be milk or just like milk? Walk past the dairy case at any given grocery store, and the choices can be dizzying. To make matters even more confusing, the products’ nutrients are not consistent, and the ingredient lists range from simple to complex.
Only cow’s milk has a long track record of research supporting its health benefits, and other alternatives simply cannot match the complete nutritional equivalent. Non-dairy beverages have no FDA-regulated standard of identity as cow’s milk products do, and the nutrition claims for these items vary greatly.
To help you ‘decode the dairy case,’ here’s a short video from our friends at the American Dairy Association: