Cow’s Milk vs Almond Milk: Which is Healthier?

July 1, 2012 · 6 comments

almond milk Cows Milk vs Almond Milk: Which is Healthier?When you think of milk you may think of calcium and strong bones. You may also remember the old slogan “milk: does a body good”, or images of attractive celebrities showing off their milk mustaches. The dairy industry has done a fantastic job of selling the American public on the health benefits of their product for generations. They do not even have to tell us how great it is anymore because they have convinced our elders to pass down the message to their children, clients, patients, and loved ones.

If you are familiar with The China Study or have seen the film, Forks Over Knifes you are aware that even though Asian countries have consumed very little dairy and animal protein for centuries they have extremely low rates of osteoporosis, cancer, and other common western diseases. Yet, in the past several decades as their diets have become more like the way we eat in America their rates of disease have increased. I believe that it is more than coincidence. The reality is, nations with the highest levels of dairy consumption are the same nations with the highest rates of osteoporosis.

An article on the reputable site WedMD explains that the Harvard School of Public Health believes milk recommendations are a “step in the wrong direction.”

Walter Willett, MD, PhD, professor of epidemiology and head of the nutrition department at the Harvard School of Public Health says, “One of the main arguments for USDA recommendations is that drinking milk or equivalent dairy products will reduce the risk of fractures. But in fact there’s very little evidence that milk consumption is associated with reduced fractures,” Willett tells WebMD.vanilla unsweetened almond milk Cows Milk vs Almond Milk: Which is Healthier?MilkNutritionFacts Cows Milk vs Almond Milk: Which is Healthier?

A study posted on PubMed states, “Both, restriction of milk consumption or generation of less insulinotropic milk will have an enormous impact on the prevention of epidemic western diseases like obesity, diabetes mellitus, cancer, neurodegenerative diseases and acne.”

Side by side these nutrition labels show that unsweetened vanilla almond milk is clearly the more nutritious of the two. With 11 grams more sugar, 80 more calories, more carbs, cholesterol and saturated fat, added hormones and antibiotics there is no comparison!

The only benefit of milk is protein, but studies have linked to milk protein to cancer, allergies, respiratory problems, and other illnesses. The average American diet gets well above a healthy amount of animal protein so adding more through milk consumption will not help your health or your waistline.

dairy cow Cows Milk vs Almond Milk: Which is Healthier?People often tend to think of milk as “natural”. I do not believe that humans nursing cattle is the way nature intended. Having a machine nurse a cow that has been held captive, continuously artificially inseminated only to have her babies taken away, regularly injected with antibiotics to keep her alive, and hormones to make her produce more milk than her body ever intended, to then be sold for human consumption seems even less natural!

Almonds contain antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, and have a long list of health benefits. Consider giving almond milk a try in your morning coffee, your recipes, and whatever else you use milk for. It’s delicious!

If you are not convinced, I encourage you to not just take my word for it. Do your own research, and make up your mind based on what you learn.

Milking dairy cows Cows Milk vs Almond Milk: Which is Healthier?Sources:
Evidence for acne-promoting effects of milk and other insulinotropic dairy products. Pubmed

The Pros and Cons of Milk and Dairy. WebMD

Casein Protein Dangers. Livestrong

Why Milk Won’t Prevent Osteoporosis. MSU


  • Tatum

    Here is a comment left on Facebook about this post. I thought it was too important not to share, and something I didn’t touch on:
    “You know I’m with you on cow’s milk. What’s funny is that the protein that Dairy Industry uses as their selling point in cow’s milk is a big part of the osteoporosis problem. Studies have shown that our high consumption of animal protein (cow’s milk) leads to lowering the pH of our blood which, in turn, releases calcium FROM our bones to raise the pH of our blood to optimum levels. This causes a net LOSS of bone calcium and actually CONTRIBUTES TO osteoporosis!! Nice, Dairy. Nice…”

  • Mel Rabang

    Almond milk is considered a heavy weight in the nutritional side of it. Aside from its palatability it contains manganese and phosphorous to maintain strong and healthy teeth and bones. Almond milk nutrition can go a long way as it is produced and available in local groceries. Commercial almond milk may also come in chocolate or vanilla flavors and are often supplemented with vitamins. Unsweetened versions are better off for you as manufacturers usually add more sugar to improve its taste and thus giving you a high amount that what is necessary for your daily food intake.

  • Harriett Collins

    not everyone can tolerate almond milk. It irritates my GI tract if I drink it or use it on cereal. I prefer coconut milk.

    • TatumRebelle

      I’ve heard great things about coconut milk. Thanks for your input!

  • Ryan111

    I agree Almond Milk irritates my GI tract as well, and most almond milk brands use carrageenan, which can be potentially hazardous as it breaks down in the body into a more unstable form. There are some brands that do not include carrageenan, but really it’s up to you and your doctor to decide what is best for your dietary needs based on your blood work. I wouldn’t necessarily attribute the increase of dairy intake to an increase in cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis, but rather take a look at a comprehensive picture of how Asian countries have had an influx of high simple sugar, high fat, low nutrient diets from popular fried food restaurant chains, and how certain chemical additives may have an impact on the absorption of calcium. With all that said it’s important to not jump to conclusions without knowing your blood work, and discussing it in detail with your doctor before making a decision to dramatically alter your diet. As far as some other comment below regarding protein and blood pH, it’s not high protein intake that lowers blood pH, but the conversion of excess acetyl-CoA to ketone bodies after fatty acid metabolism, which occurs when you are 1) diabetic and have insulin resistance or no insulin at all to initiate the absorption of glucose into the cells for glycolysis to occur, or 2) exclude carbohydrates from your diet, essentially inducing the same effect as if you were diabetic; since carbohydrates break down into glucose and glucose is the primary and preferred metabolic fuel source in your body and brain, without it your body will resort to breaking down fatty acids which ends up yielding excess ketone bodies in the blood that lower your blood’s pH, making it more acidic, and in severe cases can result in ketoacidosis, which can be fatal. The bottom line is: Be careful, talk to your doctor, get blood work done, and plan accordingly.

  • Emma Powell

    I disagree. I’m a huge proponent of high fat diets with unprocessed fats (pressed plants only like coconut, olive, flax, nuts, or animal fat from clean sources like bone broth, fish oil, full-fat dairy). We have goats for the raw goat milk, full fat, and my hair, nails, eyes, joints, skin, and attitude have had such a dramatic improvement it’s surprising.

    After 8 years of Forks Over Knives, my body told me I had to add healthy fats. Dr. Esselstyn says no fats at all, no olive oil, not even vegan fats, nothing, but my mental health cried out against it. I try to stick to as low processing as possible, meaning raw veggie recipes like a raw vegan, or select products straight from an animal.

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