According to data from the USDA’s economic research service, US per capita dairy milk consumption decreased by 22% between 2000 and 2016. Why the downward trend?
This trend partially stems from digestive issues, but a percentage of it can be attributed to misconceptions about cows' milk. Many people think that plant-based milk is healthier than cows' milk. But the numbers on the labels just don’t add up!
We did a little digging to compare cows' milk to plant-based milk nutritional profiles and have displayed it in an easy-to-read milk comparison chart below. All numbers are a percentage of the Daily Value which is used to recommend nutrient intake levels to prevent deficiencies.
Milk Comparison Chart
Other than the strong levels of vitamins and minerals, milk contains only three ingredients: milk, vitamin D, and vitamin A. The rest of the nutrients are naturally occurring, meaning they are delivered to your body in their natural form.
Below are details outlined in the infographic above. This includes the daily value of each nutrient and whether it’s naturally occurring or fortified.
Calcium: Daily Value = 1000mg
Milk: 300mg = 30% DV; naturally occurring
Soy: 300mg = 30% DV; fortified with Tricalcium Phosphate & Calcium Carbonate
Almond: 520mg = 52% DV; fortified with Calcium Carbonate
Pea: 450mg = 45% DV; fortified with Calcium Phosphate
Vitamin D: Daily Value = 400IU
D3 is what your body produces when your skin is exposed to sunlight and is the body’s preferred source of Vitamin D. D2 is a plant source of Vitamin D and may not be as good at raising blood levels of Vitamin D as D3.*
Milk: 120IU = 30% DV; fortified with Vitamin D3
Soy: 100IU = 25% DV; fortified with Vitamin D2
Almond: 110IU = 30% DV; fortified with Vitamin D2
Pea: 120IU = 30% DV; fortified with Vitamin D2
Riboflavin: Daily Value = 1.7mg
Milk: 0.45mg = 25% DV; naturally occurring
Soy: 0.44mg = 25% DV; fortified with vitamin blend
Almond: 0.123mg = 6% DV; naturally occurring
Vitamin B12: Daily Value = 6mcg
Milk: 1.29mcg = 20%DV; naturally occurring
Soy: 2mcg = 30% DV; fortified with vitamin Blend
Almond: 0mcg = 0% DV
Protein: Daily Value = 50g
Milk: 8g = 16% DV; naturally occurring
Soymilk: 6g = 12% DV; naturally occurring
Almond: 1.55g = 3% DV; naturally occurring
Pea: 8g = 16% DV; naturally occurring
Potassium: Daily Value = 3500mg
Milk: 340mg = 10% DV; naturally occurring
Soy: 300mg = 9% DV; naturally occurring
Almond: 176mg = 5% DV; naturally occurring
Pea: 451mg = 13% DV; naturally occurring
Vitamin A: Daily Value = 5,000IU
Milk: 464 IU = 10% DV when fortified;5% DV naturally occurring + 5% from fortification with Vitamin A palmitate
Soy: 450IU = 10% DV; fortified with vitamin A palmitate
Almond: 372IU = 7% DV; fortified with Vitamin A palmitate
Pea: 499IU = 10% DV; fortified with vitamin A palmitate
Drink real cows' milk for your health; it’s one of the easiest ways to get your daily recommendations of all of these important nutrients!
Milk reference: USDA Nutrient Database Standard Reference #01079 “Milk, reduced fat, fluid, 2% milkfat, with added vitamin A and vitamin D”.
Soymilk reference: USDA Nutrient Database Standard Reference #16139 “Soymilk, original and vanilla with added calcium, vitamins A and D”.
Almond beverage reference: USDA Nutrient Database Standard Reference #14091 “Beverage, almond milk, unsweetened, shelf stable”.
Pea: USDA Nutrient Database Branded Food Products #45138170 “Nutritious Pea Milk” by Ripple Foods.
*Trypkovic et al., Comparison of vitamin D2 and vitamin D3 supplementation in raising serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D status: a systematic review and meta-analysis. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2012;95(6):1357-1364.