Friday June 1st is World Milk Day and Queen’s University Hospitality Services is joining in on the celebration! At our $5 Friday staff and faculty Barbecue outside MacCorry, there will be games and prizes for all to enjoy.
In light of this event, here’s a few interesting facts about milk:
- Health Canada recommends 2-3 servings of milk and alternatives each day.
One serving would be 1 cup of milk (or dairy free alternative), ¾ cup yogurt or kefir, or 1.5 ounces cheese (about the size of a small eraser).
- Milk and dairy products are a great source of a variety of nutrients.
Milk and dairy products naturally provide calcium, vitamin A and D, B12, riboflavin, zinc and magnesium, each with an important role in our bodies. Calcium and Vitamin D are essential for developing strong and healthy bones and teeth and reducing the risk of osteoporosis, so it’s pretty important!
In fact, 1 cup of 1% cow’s milk offers about 25% of your daily calcium needs and about 45% of your daily vitamin D needs. Awesome!
If choosing a dairy free milk alternative, be sure to choose those that are fortified with calcium and vitamin D (and other vitamins) because not all of them are!
- Nutritionally speaking, dairy free soy milk is the most comparable to cow’s milk.
For those that follow a vegan diet, or prefer a dairy free alternative, soy milk is shown to have the most comparable nutrient profile to cow’s milk with its protein and fat content in similar amounts. Rice and almond milk, on the other hand, are both lower in fat and protein.
Interested in specifics? Protein amounts per cup include cow’s milk (9g), soy milk (7g), almond milk (1g), and rice milk (less than 1g).
Another tip when choosing your dairy free milk alternative: go for the unsweetened versions, as many are heavily sweetened (including vanilla flavour).
- There are many lactose free options for lactose intolerant individuals.
Lactose free milk has the same benefits as regular cow’s milk, and therefore a great choice for those with lactose intolerance. Soy, almond and rice milk are also lactose free products, depending on individual needs and preferences. Depending on tolerance, lower lactose products may be eaten in smaller quantities (1/4 cup) such as yogurt and kefir with live cultures, lactose reduced yogurts and some hard cheeses (cheddar, swiss, parmesan).
- A variety of foods contain calcium, but it takes a LOT more to meet your calcium needs.
Men and women 19-50 years old should aim for an intake of 1000mg calcium per day. Some higher calcium food products include white and navy beans, tofu with calcium sulfate, spinach, bok choy, sardines with bones, and almonds to name a few. However, it would take about 8 cups of spinach and 5 cups of beans to obtain the same amount of calcium as 1 cup of milk. That’s a lot! This is because the calcium in cow’s milk is easily absorbed, but plant sources contain compounds that inhibit this absorption.
If you are following a vegan lifestyle, it will take some planning, but meeting your calcium needs are achievable by consuming a variety of calcium rich foods and fortified dairy free alternatives.