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5 milks: Which ones should you be drinking?

Houston dietitian breaks down the best milk replacements available for you

HOUSTON – Many of us grew up drinking milk, but if you have issues digesting dairy, you are not alone.

A growing number of people have lactose intolerance, or are sensitive or allergic to casein.

The good news is there are more alternatives than ever. And Jennifer Ingram, registered dietitian at Life Time Lake Houston, stopped by our studio with a simple guide to milk and milk alternatives you can find at the supermarket.

“There’s two proteins in cow’s milk, whey and casein, a lot of times people are allergic to the casein, and a lot of times is to the whey,” said Ingram, who recommends to always check the nutrition facts label and watch out for added sugar, or carrageenan.

“Carrageenan is a stabilizer that they put in on a lot of dairy and non-dairy products just for product consistency but it can really upset the digestive system. Some people just react poorly to it and it’s not great for the gut is used often. There’s plenty (of products) that don’t have it. So you just want to make sure you choose one of those,” she said.  

Here’s a breakdown of the five milks you can find in stores to help you choose the right one for you.

COW’S MILK

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Benefits: Dairy can provide a variety of nutrients.

“It’s a great part of a whole food’s diet. It’s got good proteins, good healthy fats, good calcium and vitamin E,” said Ingram.

COCONUT MILK

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Benefits: It is low in fat and protein.

“It’s a very light alternative, it’s great with protein shakes. A lot of my clients like to use it to blend with things because it’s really light, there’s not a lot of flavor," said Ingram.

ALMOND MILK

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Benefits: Almonds are a good source of vitamin E.

“It’s a little sweeter, even the unsweetened version than coconut milk, which makes it even more delicious and a shaker of its own. It also has calcium, which is a reason why a lot of times we drink dairy, so it’s a great alternative to that,” said Ingram.

CASHEW MILK

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Benefits: It’s one of the creamiest options and has a good mix of healthy fats, protein and vitamin.

“It’s really delicious, a little darker in color and it’s lower in fat and protein than some of the other versions," said Ingram, who suggests looking for a variety that has as few ingredients as possible.

OAT MILK

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Benefits: It’s lactose, soy and nut free for those with food sensitivities.

“For a lot of people who can't tolerate nuts, this is a great alternative. It’s oats that are soaked in water and strained through a cheesecloth. Still tastes light and delicious. One of the things you really got to watch out for in oat milk is added sugar,” she said.

To see Ingram’s complete interview, watch the video above.