Health & Spirit

Not all milk alternatives are equal

By Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. on

In 2013, actress Anne Hathaway was in line to join the string of famous celebrities who've posed with the classic white moustache for the Got Milk? campaign when she discovered she was lactose intolerant! Her campaign was canceled. But in 1999, Whoopi Goldberg, who is also lactose intolerant, did get to do her campaign, quipping, "Lucky for us lactose-intolerant folks, there's lactose-free milk."

If you're lactose intolerant too, or you're on a dairy-free diet or just don't like cows' milk, chances are you're looking for the best nondairy alternatives. Well, researchers at McGill University have weighed the pros and cons of the four most popular varieties: soy, coconut, almond and rice.

Soy milk came out on top because it contains more proteins and isoflavones (loaded with cancer-fighting properties). But, say the researchers: "Women who are pregnant, nursing or attempting to become pregnant should use soy foods with caution and be aware that soy formula may not be the best option for their babies. ... Moderation is likely key and the incorporation of real foods, as opposed to supplements or processed foods to which soy protein is added, is probably essential for maximizing health benefits."

Rice milk got the worst rating, since it has little nutritional value (they note that without proper care, using rice milk can result in malnutrition, especially in infants). As for coconut milk? It offers no protein, say the researchers, and lots of saturated fats. And almond milk? It's a pretty good choice since it delivers healthy monounsaturated fats that help lower lousy LDL cholesterol.


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Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into "The Dr. Oz Show" or visit

(c) 2018 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D.

Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

(c) 2018 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.


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