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Milk from Soy, Coconut, Rice, Almond, Dairy Compared and Contrasted

Updated on February 27, 2016
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Occasionally Chris will have something to say about food preparation, but only if he has tried it and had good results.

Which Milk Is Best: soy, rice, almond, coconut and dairy

Source

There are more milks available for consumers than many of us might be aware of. Which one should we use for ourselves and our families? There is plenty of information out there about the various types of milk. In fact, we are buried in information, and while it is potentially useful, it is practically useless because it is not presented in a way that is helpful.

In this article I have formulated graphs which compare almond milk, soy milk, rice milk, coconut milk and dairy milk. The comparisons deal with mineral and vitamin content, proteins, fats, carbohydrates and calories. You will be able to see how your milk of choice compares to the others. If you have been considering changing the type of milk you consume, here is reliable information with which to make that decision.

The Difference Between Vitamins and Minerals

The simple difference between vitamins and minerals is that vitamins are affected and changed by contact with air, water, heat and cold. Minerals on the other hand are relatively unaffected by these forces. The consequence is that it is easy to get minerals to our bodies because they are abundant and resistant to breaking down. Vitamins are more difficult to come by because they are constantly being changed by their environment. Even cooking and storage can destroy these vital elements to our health.

Other than that important difference, vitamins and minerals are needed in small amounts so that our bodies can efficiently carry out a multitude of functions. Though the amounts of vitamins and minerals needed by our bodies may be small, the consequences of not having them are severe. Sickness and death are the sure results of not having these valuable elements in our diets in sufficient amounts.

Milking a dairy cow on a farm circa 1935-1942.
Milking a dairy cow on a farm circa 1935-1942. | Source

The Roles of Vitamins and Minerals in Our Diet and Health

If we think of our bodies as a fort full of people that are defending themselves against an attacking enemy, we can better understand why our bodies need vitamins and minerals. The people in the fort would need materials for strengthening the walls, ammunition for defense and medical supplies to treat the wounded. Our bodies use vitamins and minerals to do these very things. They are building blocks in the defense against illness. They are used to repair damage when injury or illness occur. They are part of the body's arsenal which attacks the offending diseases and infections.

Keep in mind that almond, soy, coconut and rice milks are fortified with minerals and vitamins that are lacking in the raw product. In the case of fortified calcium, vitamin D is also added to increase calcium absorption.

Minerals in Almond, Soy, Rice, Coconut and Dairy Milk

Minerals (down)V.....Milk type(across)>
Almond (Blue Diamond; unsweetened)
Soy milk (original and vanilla, with added calcium, vit A & D)
Rice milk
Coconut milk (raw; expressed from raw meat)
Dairy milk (whole; 3.25% milkfat
 
 
Calcium
200mg 20%DV
299mg 30%DV
20mg 2%DV
38.4mg 4%DV
276mg 28%DV
 
 
Iron
0.4mg 2%DV
1mg 6%DV
0.2mg 1%DV
3.9mg 22%DV
0.1mg, 0%DV
 
 
Magnesium
16mg 4%DV
36.4mg 9%DV
-
88.8mg 22%DV
24.4mg 6%DV
 
 
Phosphorus
40mg 4%DV
105mg 10%DV
-
240mg 24%DV
222mg 22%DV
 
 
Potassium
-
296mg 8%DV
-
631mg 18%DV
349mg 10%DV
 
 
Sodium
180mg 8%DV
114 5%DV
86mg 4%DV
360mg 1%DV
97.6mg 4%DV
 
 
Zinc
-
0.6mg 4%DV
-
1.6mg 11%DV
1mg 7%DV
 
 
Copper
-
0.4mg 20%DV
-
0.6mg 32%DV
0.0mg 1%DV
 
 
Manganese
-
0.2mg 8%DV
-
2.2mg 110%DV
0.0mg 0%DV
 
 
Selenium
-
5.6mg 8%DV
-
14.9mcg 21%DV
9mcg 13%DV
 
 
Fluoride
-
-
-
-
-
 
 

Vitamins in Almond, Soy, Rice, Coconut and Dairy Milk

Vitamins(down)V....Milk type(across)>
Almond milk(Blue Diamond; unsweetened)
Soy milk (original and vanilla, with added calcium, vit A & D)
Rice milk
Coconut milk (raw; expressed from raw meat)
Dairy milk (whole; 3.25 milkfat)
Vitamin A
500IU 10%DV
450Iu 9%DV
0.0mg 0%DV
0.0mg 0%DV
249IU 5%DV
Vitamin C
0.0mg 0%DV
0.0mg 0%DV
1.2mg 2%DV
6.7mg 11%DV
0.0mg 0%DV
Vitamin D
100IU 25%DV
105IU 26%DV
-
-
97.6IU 24%DV
Vitamin E
10mg 50%DV
0.3mg 1%DV
-
0.4mg 2%DV
0.1 1%DV
Vitamin K
-
7.3mcg 9%DV
-
0.2mcg 0%DV
0.5mcg 1%DV
Thiamine
-
0.1mg 5%DV
-
0.1mg 4%DV
0.1mg 7%DV
Riboflavin
-
0.4mg 26%DV
-
0.0mg 0%DV
0.4mg 26%DV
Niacin
-
1mg 5%DV
-
1.8mg 9%DV
0.3mg 1%DV
Vitamin B6
-
0.1mg 4%DV
-
0.1mg 4%DV
0.1mg 4%DV
Folate
-
21.9mcg 5%DV
-
38.4mcg 10%DV
12.2mcg 3%DV
Vitamine B12
-
2.1mcg 34%DV
-
0.0mg 0%DV
1.1mcg 18%DV
Pantothenic acid
-
0.3mg 3%DV
-
0.4mg 4%DV
0.9mg 9%DV
Choline
-
57.3mg
-
20.4mg
34.9mg
Betaine
-
1.9mg
-
-
1.5mg
Green Almonds, photographed on the Peñon d'Ifac, Calpe, Spain.
Green Almonds, photographed on the Peñon d'Ifac, Calpe, Spain. | Source

Protein and Our Health

When we speak of dietary protein, we are actually referring to amino acids which the body assembles into proteins. These proteins then are used in building new cells, bone marrow, bones, muscle and in many other bodily functions. There are twenty-one amino acids. The body does not have a way of storing these vital elements. Either the body uses the amino acids on hand, or they are excreted through urine. For this reason, it is important that all twenty-one amino acids be consumed, ideally, on a daily basis.

When we eat meat, we are taking in all twenty-one amino acids. When we eat one kind of vegetable, not all twenty-one amino acids are present. For this reason, vegetarians and vegans need to eat a variety of vegetables on a daily basis so that all the amino acids are taken in. This is not a difficult thing to do. For example, beans are nearly a complete protein. They are missing only one amino acid. Rice has that one amino acid in addition to others. By combining rice and beans, all twenty-one amino acids are consumed. The rice and beans do not need to be eaten together, but they should be eaten in the same day. Adults need .36 grams of protein per pound of weight per day. Children and teens need slightly more as do athletes.

As you study the following chart, keep in mind that dairy milk and soy are complete proteins, in other words, they contain all twenty-one amino acids. The other types of milk in the chart are not complete. But with a diet that includes a variety of vegetables and/or meat, the body can synthesize complete proteins with no problem.

Protein, Carbohydrates and Calories in Almond, Soy, Rice, Coconut and Dairy Milk

Proteins, Carbs, Calories(down)V....Milk type(across)>
Almond milk(Blue Diamond; unsweetened)
Soy milk (original and vanilla, with added calcium, vit A & D)
Rice milk
Coconut milk (raw; expressed from raw meat)
Dairy milk (whole; 3.25 milkfat)
Protein
1g 2%DV
6.3g
0
5.5g 11%DV
7.9g 16%DV
 
 
 
 
 
 
Total carbohydrates
2g 1%DV
12g 4%DV
24.8g 8%DV
13.3g 4%DV
12.8g 4%DV
Dietary fiber
1g 4%DV
0.5g 2%DV
0.4g 2%DV
5.3g 21%DV
0.0g 0%DV
Starch
-
-
-
-
0.0g
Sugars
0.0g
8.9g
0
8g
12.8g
-
 
 
 
 
 
Calories from carbohydrates
6
47.1
102
54.2
43.6
Calories from fat
30
32.1
18
479
71.4
Calories from protein
4
25.3
0
19.1
31.4
Calories from alcohol
-
-
-
-
-
Total calories
40
105
120
552
146
Louisiana rice fields, circa 1928
Louisiana rice fields, circa 1928 | Source

Which milk does the body good?

Which milk do you drink?

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Fat and Fatty Acids and Our Health

While looking at the chart below about fats and fatty acids, keep in mind that conventional wisdom says that mono and polyunsaturated fats, omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids all are good fats and promote a healthy body. Saturated fats and trans fats are the ones to avoid.

Among other things, the "good" fats are used by the body to promote a healthy heart, stabilize blood sugar and assist in blood coagulation.

Fats and Fatty Acids in Almond, Soy, Rice, Coconut and Dairy Milk

Fats/fatty acids(down)V......Milk type(across)>
Almond
Soy
Rice
Coconut
Dairy
Total fat
3g 5%DV
3.6g 5%DV
2g 3%DV
57.2 g 88%DV
7.9g 12%DV
Saturated fat
-
0.5g 2%DV
0.1g 0%DV
50.7g 254%DV
4.6g 23%DV
Monounsaturated fat
-
0.9g
-
2.4g
2g
Polyunsaturated fat
-
2.1g
-
0.6g
0.5g
Total trans fatty acids
-
-
0.3g
-
-
Total trans-monoenoic fatty acids
-
-
-
-
-
Total Omega-3 fatty acids
-
182mg
-
-
183mg
Total Omega-6 fatty acids
-
1419mg
-
626mg
293mg
 
 
 
 
 
 

Almondmilk/Coconutmilk Blend, From Amazon

Almond Breeze Almondmilk Blend, Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Coconut, 32 Ounce (Pack of 12)
Almond Breeze Almondmilk Blend, Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Coconut, 32 Ounce (Pack of 12)

A Blend of Almondmilk & Coconutmilk

50% More Calcium Than Milk

Vegan & Kosher

Lactose, Soy & Gluten Free

 

The options seem to be growing and the decision seems to be more confusing. But now you have information, all in one place, that you can use to make sound decisions for your own health and the health of your family.

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    • cam8510 profile image
      Author

      Chris Mills 2 years ago from Maple City, Michigan

      I ssw that and interpreted. :=)

    • Glenn Stok profile image

      Glenn Stok 2 years ago from Long Island, NY

      Thanks for your response, I just noticed the auto-correction on my iPad messed up one word. I meant "airplane deicer", not decider.

    • cam8510 profile image
      Author

      Chris Mills 2 years ago from Maple City, Michigan

      That is excellent input, Glenn. Yes, the contaminants are something I did not research, and it is something people are interested in. Thanks for the response.

    • Glenn Stok profile image

      Glenn Stok 2 years ago from Long Island, NY

      Well done and informative hub on the various types of milk. Your hub is very detailed and extremely useful. The charts you made are great and they make it easy to compare.

      I know you made it clear at beginning that your hub deals with the comparisons of mineral and vitamin content. However, I also consider other ingredients when choosing alternatives.

      I made a decision a long time ago to stay away from dairy milk because it contains the antibiotics they feed the cows.

      As for an alternative, I don't stick to one brand. I love Soy Milk, Almond Milk and also Rice Milk. But I switch around to avoid consuming too much of the bad ingredients from any one of them.

      The problem is that as good as they are, we can't seem to get away from one problem or another.

      Rice Milk has arsenic in it because arsenic was used to control the Beatle infestation on cotton fields in the old days. Now rice is grown on those fields and the arsenic, still in the ground, is absorbed by the rice.

      Almond Breeze has Carrageenan in it, which is also used as an airplane decider. The FDA approves small quantity for human consumption.

      Soy Milk tends to have more sodium and I try to control my sodium intake.

      So as you can see, this is why I switch around between all these types of milk. I still believe the health benefits outweigh the negatives with dairy milk.

    • cam8510 profile image
      Author

      Chris Mills 3 years ago from Maple City, Michigan

      Hi Kyle. Actually I'm in the process of moving all of my fiction off HubPages. I will still put some Flash Fiction on here for a few days, but it will all end up on my blog eventually. I'm going to focus more on general interest articles like this one for HubPages. Thanks for reading and I hope you and your sister come to an agreement on the milk issue.

    • profile image

      kylesanderson 3 years ago

      My sister and I were having a conversation about this the other day (as strange as that may sound). She claimed up and down that Dairy was the best, and I claimed Almond. I will most definitely have her read this. Great info, well constructed, and I had no idea you did hubs like this.

    • cam8510 profile image
      Author

      Chris Mills 3 years ago from Maple City, Michigan

      Andrew, thanks for reading and for the share. I appreciate it very much.

    • chef-de-jour profile image

      Andrew Spacey 3 years ago from Near Huddersfield, West Yorkshire,UK

      Good work! All the information you need to decide which milk is best. I like the comparative tables you've set out. Very useful. I tend to drink semi-skimmed on cereal, together with yoghurt and fruits.

      Voted up and a share.

    • cam8510 profile image
      Author

      Chris Mills 3 years ago from Maple City, Michigan

      Deb, If you want to get a complete protein, yes, rice and beans in a 24 hour period will provide that. Soy and quinoa are complete proteins. I may need to clarify in the article. Thanks Deb.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Very well done. I didn't realize that I should be eating rice and beans on a daily basis. Thanks, Chris.

    • cam8510 profile image
      Author

      Chris Mills 3 years ago from Maple City, Michigan

      Robert, hello fellow Michigander. Right now I am on the road working, but my home is Traverse City. Thank you for reading and commenting. Making your own milk sounds like a great hobby. Nice to meet you.

    • profile image

      Robertr04 3 years ago from Detroit,Mi.

      Excellent information. We make our own milk, usually from a variety of nuts or seeds.

    • cam8510 profile image
      Author

      Chris Mills 3 years ago from Maple City, Michigan

      Yes, comparative information is very important when it comes to making a decision about our diets and health. It is one thing to have the information for a single product, but an entirely different thing, a better thing, to have all the information for all similar products in one place. Then we can make educated decisions.

    • cam8510 profile image
      Author

      Chris Mills 3 years ago from Maple City, Michigan

      Thanks Anna. I think soy milk is a very good choice. I'm partial to almond milk myself. I avoid additives like vanilla. I grew up on a dairy farm so it seems odd to not be drinking regular milk. But I feel better this way. I'm glad you enjoyed the article.

    • Anna Haven profile image

      Anna Haven 3 years ago from Scotland

      A useful and well informed hub. I am a soya milk devotee. Great to see comparative information in one place.