There are so many dairy and non-dairy milk options out there and it can be tricky to know which is best especially when you are trying to lose weight. Let’s breakdown which milk is best for weight loss so you can stay on top of your health and fitness goals!
The first thing you need to do is cut dairy milk out of your diet. There are several reasons why you shouldn’t have dairy in your diet such as environmental and health reasons, plus it causes inflammation in your body if you aren’t able to digest it properly.
Many adults are lactose intolerant
What is lactose intolerance? Lactose is a sugar found in milk. When your body, specifically the small intestine, doesn’t produce the enzyme called lactase it is not able to digest the lactose in dairy. When you don’t have enough of the enzyme lactase, the milk doesn’t get absorbed through your small intestine and instead goes into the colon where bacteria break down the lactose, producing different gasses. This can cause you to have gas, cramping, nausea, diarrhea, and bloating. We don’t know the exact number but it is estimated that over 30 million Americans are lactose intolerant. If you frequently experience any of these symptoms after consuming dairy, your body is trying to tell you something - cut the dairy!
Cutting out dairy helps the environment
Animal agriculture is a big contributing factor to climate change. By eating a plant-based diet and cutting out animal products we can significantly reduce our carbon footprint which means the earth won't heat up as quickly. Carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide are all powerful greenhouse gases, and together, they cause the vast majority of climate change. If we stopped eating animal products, we would reduce huge amounts of water waste since half of the water in the U.S. goes to raising animals for food. We could be saving at least 50% of our water usage if we all eliminated meat and milk from our diets. We can reduce water pollution and improve our air quality.
Cows milk contains antibiotics
Cows are given antibiotics to help keep them healthy and free of disease when they are living in poor conditions from farming. But research has shown that significant amounts of antibiotics are released through dairy milk which can have harmful effects on human health and cause antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
Now that we have broken down just SOME of the reasons to stop consuming dairy, let’s go over the top milk alternatives that are available.
The main milk alternatives people gravitate towards are:
Just because these options are dairy alternatives doesn’t mean they are all healthy. There are some ingredients in our store-bought milk alternatives that we should definitely steer clear of such as pesticides, carrageenan, gum additives, as well as other questionable ingredients. You can read the full breakdown of all of these unhealthy additives in my post “Is Almond Milk Good For You? The Nutritional Breakdown.”
Pros and cons of dairy-free milk alternatives:
Almond milk is one of the most popular milk alternatives because of its delicious taste and smooth consistency. It is very low fat, low carb and low calorie as long as there isn’t a lot of additional sugars added to it. However, it does not provide a sufficient amount of protein.
Coconut milk is great for people with nut allergies. The saturated fat and calorie content are usually a little higher than other milk alternatives.
Oat milk is a non-allergenic dairy-free alternative and considered to be closest in taste and texture to dairy milk however it is higher in carbohydrates and calories.
Soy milk is a good source of potassium, high protein, cholesterol-free and low in saturated fat but it is a known allergin and commonly made from genetically modified soybean plants. Soy has been said to [potentially have negative effects on one’s health such as mimicking estrogen in the body and could potentially reduce thyroid gland function if consumed in large quantities.
Rice milk is much higher in calories and carbohydrates which isn’t going to help your waistline. It also can contain inorganic arsenic which if consumed at high levels is believed to cause cancer.
Now that we have some of the facts, what is the best milk for weight loss?
The healthiest milk alternative is going to be homemade almond milk! It is naturally lower in fat and calories. It’s easy to make preservative, chemical-free almond milk at home which gives you full control over what’s in it which is a huge win!
If you are looking for additional ways to help you lose weight or learn more about how to navigate a dairy-free diet, then send me an email! I would love to help you along your journey!