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Milk intolerance alternatives

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Milk AlternativesIf you have an allergy or intolerance to cow's milk, or are looking to try something different, you'll find plenty of choice on the supermarket shelves. Here's a guide to some popular options. 

With so many of us striving to eat more healthily, people are increasingly exploring alternative options to traditional milk products. In fact dairy-free is a huge growth area here in the UK. Retail experts MySupermarket found that between 2010 and 2014 there was a 20 per cent drop in the number of people putting milk into their shopping trollies, with a corresponding 15 per cent increase in those opting for non-dairy alternatives. For those who are sensitive specifically to lactose, there are also lactose-free milks on the market.

Sheep's milk and goat's milk

According to Allergy UK, milk intolerance is fairly common. They say that many people who are intolerant of but not truly allergic to cows’ milk may find goat’s milk or sheep’s milk easier to digest. If in doubt, the charity recommends checking with your doctor or medical advisor before experimenting. Sheep's milk is readily available as yoghurt, and in cheeses such as pecorino and manchego, though ready-to-drink milk is less easy to find.  Goat's milk is available in milk, yoghurt and cheese forms. The nutritional content can be summarised as below (source: Journal of Food and Nutrition Research):

  Sheeps Milk Goats milk  Cows milk
Fat 7.9% 3.8% 3.6%
Lactose 4.9% 4.1% 4.7%
Protein 6.2% 3.4% 3.2%
Calories (per 100ml) 105  70 69

Non-dairy milks

Popular options include soya-based drinks, rice and oat drinks, as well as nut milks.  You should always check the label for added ingredients; key additions to look out for are whether the product contains sugar, as some brands are highly sweetened.  You should also check for added calcium and essential vitamins (such as B12 and D) that are missing from plant “milks”. The nutritional values below are approximate and will vary between products and brands. Sweetened varieties, for example, will be higher in calories.

  Soy Rice Oat Almond Coconut
Fat 1.7g 1.0g 0.5g 1.2g 1.9g
Protein 3.0g 0.1g 1.0g 0.5g 0.3g
Calories (per 100ml) 32 47 35 14 28

 

Further reading

For further information on nutrition, browse our healthy eating hub, where you'll also find the recipe for a delicious curry made with dairy-free ingredients

 

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