Dietitian’s dish: Dairy and dairy alternatives

Published 6:27 pm Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Pour a glass of nutrient-dense milk to celebrate National Family Meals Month! Bone health is often thought of as the primary benefit of dairy, but dairy foods provide a myriad of health benefits beyond strengthening bones. Milk and dairy products naturally provide the body with a variety of essential vitamins and minerals including calcium, protein, phosphorus, potassium, riboflavin, vitamin A, vitamin B12, magnesium and niacin. Studies have shown that because of dairy products’ unique nutritional profile, they can improve the overall nutritional quality of the diet and reduce the risk of osteoporosis, hypertension, cardiovascular disease and more!

However, dairy milk is not an option for everyone — specifically those with allergies or intolerances to traditional cow’s milk. Keep in mind: A milk allergy is not the same as lactose intolerance. Individuals with a milk allergy experience symptoms such as hives, upset stomach or even anaphylactic shock because their immune system reacts to the proteins in milk when ingested. An individual with lactose intolerance cannot digest the sugar in milk because they are deficient in lactase, an enzyme produced by cells in the lining of the small intestine. Symptoms can include gas, gastrointestinal distress or abdominal cramping.

There are many dairy and dairy alternatives available at your local Hy-Vee. Let’s explore the varieties on store shelves today and see which is the best fit for your family.

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Fairlife – Ultra Filtered Milk

This traditional cow’s milk comes from family-owned farms throughout the Midwest, New Mexico and Texas. Fairlife is lactose free and goes through an ultra filtration process. During this ultra filtration process, the milk is sent through extra filters that concentrate the protein and filter out additional sugar. This results in roughly double the amount of protein and half the amount of sugar as a regular glass of milk. It is a great option for individuals looking to manage blood sugar, amplify the nutrient density of their smoothie base, or for those who are lactose intolerant.

A2 Milk

A2 milk is traditional cow’s milk that comes from cows raised in the U.S. It is called A2 milk because it is made from cows that only produce the A2 protein which has been shown to decrease gastrointestinal distress caused by the A1 protein found in traditional cow’s milk. If you are an individual who is not lactose intolerant and does not have a milk allergy but has found that your stomach is sensitive to traditional dairy milk – this may be a solution for you.

Original Silk Protein

This is a blend of almond and cashew milk with pea protein added. This vegan dairy alternative provides 10g of protein per serving. This is a nut-based dairy alternative and not appropriate for those with nut allergies. It contains vitamin D, calcium, potassium and iron and can be used as a base for your next smoothie or served to enjoy by the glass.

Full Circle Market – Original Soymilk Unsweetened

This vegan soymilk is nut free and appropriate for those with milk allergies or lactose intolerance. It contains 7g of protein per serving, similar to traditional cow’s milk. It is easy to drink by the glass or used to make your morning oatmeal or smoothie. Look for unsweetened varieties of soymilk and other dairy alternatives to limit added sugar consumption.

Do you have more questions on milk or dairy alternatives and selecting the best one for your family? Reach out to your local Hy-Vee dietitian today!

The information is not intended as medical advice. Please consult a medical professional for individual advice.