Have you noticed the dairy aisle at the grocery store these days? It seems to expand almost weekly with new yogurt and more types of "milk". I'm frequently asked by clients, "What is the best milk for me?" and my response is usually, “What is it you want to get from your milk and dairy products? Is it calcium and vitamin D? Protein? An after-workout recovery food? A product your stomach tolerates? Or all of the above?” The answers to these questions determine which milk choice is the best choice for you.
One product to check out is Fairlife fat-free or 1% milk. The benefit of this milk is that it’s higher in protein and calcium compared to cow’s milk and most other forms of “milk” (soy, almond, rice, cashew, coconut). Fairlife milk is ultra-filtered, so the same one cup of milk provides 13 grams of protein (vs. 8 grams for cow’s milk) and 40% calcium (vs. 30%). This is a great bonus for women who struggle to eat enough dairy to meet their calcium needs. It's also a good "nutritional bang for your buck" because you are getting more calcium and protein without having to spend extra calories.
In addition, the milk is pasteurized at a higher temperature than most milks, so it has a longer shelf life (when unopened). The milk is lactose free, making it a great choice for women with lactose intolerance. Finally, the ultra-filtration gives it a bit creamier taste without having to add the milk solids that most fat-free milks contain.
It’s worth noting that Coca-Cola owns Fairlife milk. As soda consumption declines, Coca-Cola is finding a new revenue generator and is heavily promoting this milk.
Another milk that most women are unfamiliar with is A2 milk. This is cow’s milk that contains only A2 beta-casein protein. Most milk usually has the A1 protein instead, but the A2 Milk company has developed a genetic test to determine which cows produce the A2 protein and only use these cows for their milk. The company claims people experience less GI discomfort when drinking their milk.
But the research to support their claim is minimal. I found one study from a couple of years ago. It was a pilot study of 40 people and no follow up research has been done. So at this point, I can’t recommend this product based on research, but if you experience gas, bloating or diarrhea when you drink cow’s milk it might be worth trying this milk to see if it works for you. Otherwise, it’s not worth the extra cost to buy this milk, in my opinion.
In a future post I'll talk about the pros and cons of many of the other "milks", including as soy, almond, rice, cashew, and coconut milk compared to cow's milk.