The Confusion Between Almond Milk and Dairy Milk


Dairy milk used to be raised on a royal pedestal, encouraging Americans to drink three glasses of low fat or skim milk everyday. You would see the ads with athletes and other famous people, sporting their milk mustaches and looking independent, invincible and unshakably strong. Dairy milk, the leading provider of protein, calcium, vitamin D, phosphorus, potassium, and riboflavin. 

Today, the dairy milk craze has shifted slightly. We now have several new products in the market including almond milk, rice milk, soy milk and other nut milks to choose from. With so many new products to graze through, how do we know which one is best for our budget AND our health? There is so much controversy about which milk is better for us and which should be avoided, but who can you trust to be unbiased? Fortunately, the facts on nutrition end favorably for both competitors. However, there are pros and cons to each side of the milk match up, making the decision ultimately fall on your shoulders. Before you make your decision, there are a few things you need to know.

I present to you THE GOOD, THE BAD and THE TASTY SIDE of both almond milk vs dairy milk in this nutrition match up.

Dairy Milk

(8 ounce)

Almond Milk

(8 ounce)


110 cal

60 cal


8 g

1 g


2.5 g

2.5 g


12 g

8 g












Vitamin B12



Vitamin A



Vitamin D



Price per 1/2 Gallon





Dairy Milk Benefits


Let’s start with Dairy Milk. After all, it is the first of its milk generation to be under the spotlight.

+ Dairy Milk contains several nutrients of interest including Potassium, Phosphorus, Protein, Calcium, Vitamin D, Vitamin A, Riboflavin, Niacin, Magnesium, Vitamin B12, and Zinc. Furthermore, it contains twice the amount of potassium and phosphorus than its leading almond milk competitor. Potassium and phosphorus help to regulate blood pressure and build strong bones, both of which are important in young and older adults.

+ Dairy milk contains 8x the amount of protein than almond milk, providing 8 grams of protein per cup. This amount puts milk and other dairy products in the high protein category, giving it a leading edge for young adults, athletes, and people who need to increase their protein consumption.

+ Dairy milk also contains less sodium than almond milk. Dairy milk is a big part of the DASH diet (Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension), which helps to reduce high blood pressure by decreasing the sodium in the diet. At 8 ounces or 1 serving size, skim dairy milk contains 103 mg of sodium whereas almond milk can contain 160 mg per serving

+Lastly, dairy milk is historically known to be safe for children, giving them enough protein, calcium, vitamin D, and fat content their bodies need to grow. Almond milk however, may not be the best option for children because of the small amount of protein and fat.

-Dairy Milk can be heavy on the fat and calories, if you prefer dairy milk over almond milk look for skim or 1% dairy milk to reduce saturated fat in your diet. 



Almond Milk Benefits


Almond milk, the increasingly popular dairy milk substitute

that provides not only nutrients but good taste as well.


+Almond milk contains up to 50% more calcium than any dairy milk on the shelf. This is because of the fortification process, allowing the producers to incorporate vitamins and nutrients during the processing and manufacturing. Calcium helps us to grow strong bones and healthy teeth.

+One serving of unsweetened almond milk is around 30 calories, providing the diligent calorie counter with a great substitute from dairy milk at 80-90 calories. The unsweetened almond milk contains no added sugars, thus another great option for adding to your coffee.

+Almond milk also contains Vitamin E at around 20% of the Daily Value (DV) compared to 0% DV in dairy milk. This amount of vitamin E comes from the fortification process just like the added calcium. Vitamin E is an antioxidant used in the body to reduce inflammation.

+Lactose sensitivity and lactose intolerance is a hot topic and seems to be increasing with self-reported cases. However, the actual percentage of the population with lactose intolerance is unknown. This sensitivity awareness is leading to more and more people with a void of dairy products in their diet. Almond milk is a great substitution for Vegans, Vegetarians, and other Lactose Intolerant/Sensitive individuals who do not consume dairy on a daily basis.

-Almond milk has other additives that can take away from its high nutrient profile. Some almond milks contain added sweeteners, sugars, preservatives, carrageenan (stabilizer derived from seaweed) and other foreign ingredients. If you prefer almond milk over dairy milk, look for an almond milk with the fewest ingredients, no carrageenan, and no added sugars.




And The Winner Is…?

As you can see, both sides of this match contain benefits unique to each side.

Dairy Milk contains certain properties and nutrients that almond milk can only be fortified with in order to compete. It contains high amounts of protein, potassium, phosphorus, vitamin D, B12, riboflavin, and niacin.

Almond Milk is a great substitute for those who have preferences, sensitivities/ intolerances to lactose and do not consume enough calcium in their diet. It contains a higher amount of calcium, vitamin E and is low in calories, fats, sugars.

As it reigns, both dairy milk and almond milk can be beneficial towards a healthy diet. As a Nutrition Professional, I would recommend buying the product that works with your lifestyle and how it performs with your body. If you get an upset stomach and feel sluggish after drinking dairy milk, try switching it up to almond milk (no added sugar). However, if almond milk is hard to find or too expensive- dairy milk (1% or skim) is a great option as well. The nutrition facts don’t lie, friends, I hope the confusion in the dairy aisle is now cleared up and you can enjoy that cold glass of                       milk!






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**All photos were taken by and for The Healthy Chew – all rights reserved.

Updated: 3/30/2017

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