Different types of milk explained

Author: FITivate_B | Published date: October 11, 2022 | Category: Nutrition
different types of milk

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Non-dairy alternatives of milk have been getting more and more popular these days. Here we take a look at the more popular choices, and how they square up against one another.

Oat milk

Oat milk is produced by soaking oats (steel-cut or whole) in filtered water before blending. Enzymes are added to the blend to increase the yield. The slurry is then strained to get the oat milk. Sometimes, the companies will add in nutrients to fortify the end product.

Oats absorb water more easily than nuts or soy, so after blending and straining, oat milk has a creamier texture as compared. The thicker consistency, mild oatmeal like, slightly sweet flavor complements coffee very well, and it’s increasingly popular in the barista world.

Benefits of oat milk

Oat milk is gluten free, lactose free and nut free, so it’s appealing to people who have such allergies. Also oat milk is a good source of fibre as compared to other milks. It’s touted to be more sustainable and more environmentally friendly as it uses less water and carbon footprint as compared to soy, almond or cow milk.

Drawbacks of oat milk

One drawback of oat milk is the inherently low protein and calcium, but manufacturers can easily fortify with added nutrients during the processing.

Soy milk

Soy milk is made by soaking soya beans in water, and then blending with water, before straining.

Benefits of soy milk

Soy milk is naturally low in fat and high in protein. It’s also cholesterol-free and helps lower LDL in the body. Soy milk also contains isoflavones, which are a class of chemical known as “phytoestrogens”. Phytoestrogens works like a weaker form of human estrogen but strictly speaking, soy doesn’t contain estrogen. Previously, soy was thought to be bad for men because the estrogen might “feminize” men and lower the testosterone. However recent studies have proven that there’s no conclusive evidence for such a claim.

Because of the isoflavones, studies have also shown that soy milk can help reduce the symptoms of menopause, such as hot flashes. Isoflavones in soy have been linked to lower levels of inflammation in the body.

Soy milk is generally good for people allergic to dairy products (lactose intolerant). But one needs to be careful of nut allergies, as soy milk can trigger that.

Cow milk

Nutrients in cow milk

Cow milk is probably the most popular form of milk in the world as it’s nutrient dense and provide much needed protein and calcium to children and adults. Grass fed cows produce milk that has a high content of omega-3 fats (“good” form of cholesterol) which is beneficial for heart health and antioxidants which help to boost immunity of the body. 

Benefits of cow milk

According to medical research (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5122229/), drinking milk can reduce obesity due to the satiety. Bone health has also improved with no association to risk of bone fracture. There’s also inconsistent evidence to the claim that drinking cow milk will increase the probability of cancer.

Drawbacks of cow milk

However it’s estimated that 65 to 70 percent of the world’s population has some form of lactose intolerance, so high amount of cow milk can cause some to have indigestion issues, resulting in gas, cramps and even diarrhea. Cow milk consumption has also been linked to development of acne, so consumption needs to be moderated accordingly.

Quick comparison of the nutrients of various type of milks available in local markets,

Oat milk

Soy milk

Fresh milk

Calories (Kcal)




Fat (g)




Of which saturates (g)




Carbohydrates (g)




Of which sugars (g)




Fibre (g)




Protein (g)




Vitamin D (mcg)




Calcium (mg)




Riboflavin (mg)




By : Alfred Yeow

Master Fitness Trainer / Fitness Nutrition, Resistance & Endurance Training Specialist (NFPT)



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