Love it, Like it, Hate it: White Milk + Non-Milk Milk Alternatives

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Plain old cow’s milk is getting more and more competition in the dairy case, with options ranging from goat milk to coconut milk and more.   Today we’re Getting the Skinny on what to look for and what to avoid in these milk alternatives, plus Molly’s top picks.


  • Non-dairy milk alternatives can be appealing to those looking for vegan alternatives, as well as those with lactose intolerance or milk protein allergies. Many are also much lower in calorie compared to cow’s milk
  • Taste, appearance, and texture vary widely; it comes down to personal preference for most people



Compare labels for:                           

  • Added sugar – Non-milk alternatives can be filled with added sugars, as much as 17 grams per cup
  • Calories – Calories can range from 25 to 170 calories per cup.
  • Protein – Ranges from <1 gram to 13 grams protein per cup
  • Calcium – Look for products fortified with at least 30% DV for calcium
  • Vitamin D – Look for products with at least 25% DV for Vitamin D





10X Almond Milk by Orgain – Unsweetened Vanilla

  • Per cup: 80 calories, 3 grams carb, 0 sugar, 10 grams protein
  • Made with added pea protein


Ultra-Filtered Organic Cow’s Milk – e.g. Organic Valley brand

  • Per cup: 130 calories, 6 grams carb, 6 grams sugar (0 added sugar), 13 grams protein
  • 50% less sugar [lactose and 50% more protein than regular cow’s milk


Ripple Plant-Based Milk – Original

  • Per cup: 70 calories, <1 gram carb, 0 sugar, 8 grams protein
  • Ingredients include pea protein, DHA algal oil, guar gum, gellan gum, vitamin + mineral blend


Coconut Milk: Unsweetened Vanilla – e.g. 365 Brand

  • Per cup: 50 calories, <1 gram carb, 0 sugar, <1 gram protein
  • Ingredients include coconut milk (water, coconut cream), locust bean gum, vitamin + mineral blend
  • Very low in protein, but can add scoop of whey or plant-based protein if want to boost protein





2% Reduced Fat HIGH PROTEIN Organic Cow’s Milk – e.g. Horizon Brand

  • Per cup: 150 calories, 13 grams carb, 12 grams sugar (0 added sugar), 12 grams protein
  • Added milk protein concentrate


A2 Reduced Fat Cow’s Milk

  • Per cup: 120 calories, 12 grams carb, 12 grams sugar (0 added sugar), 8 grams protein
  • Most cow’s milk contains blend of A1 and A2 proteins. Milk from cows that only produce A2 protein may be easier for some to digest.


Goat Milk

  • Per cup: 100 calories, 11 grams carb, 11 grams sugar, 8 grams protein
  • Goat milk protein can be easier for some people to digest, compared to cow’s milk







Hood Calorie Countdown ‘Dairy Beverage’ [also available in chocolate]

  • Per cup: 70 calories, 3 grams carb, 2 grams sugar (0 added sugar), 5 grams protein
  • Artificially sweetened with sucralose + acesulfame potassium
  • Tastes like regular milk with 75% fewer carbs


‘Original’ or ‘Plain’ varieties that are still high in sugar, such as:


Soy Milk – e.g. 365 Unsweetened

  • Per cup: 100 calories, 8 grams carbohydrate, 6 grams added sugar, 7 grams protein
  • Sweetened with organic cane sugar



Oat Milk – e.g. Pacific Foods Original

  • Per cup: 130 calories, 25 grams carbohydrate, 17 grams added sugar, 4 grams protein
  • Sweetened with 17 grams added sugar – that’s more than 4 spoonfuls added sugar per cup!



Rice Milk – e.g. Rice Dream Original

  • Per cup: 120 calories, 23 grams carbohydrate, 10 grams sugar, 1 gram protein





Want more from Molly?  Click here to sign up for Nutrition Bites, her weekly e-newsletter with links to her Get the Skinny TV segments here on WGNO, and her articles in Thrive Global!   Follow Molly on Facebook, Twitter, & Instagram:  @MollyKimballRD – and check out her weekly podcast; just search ‘Molly Kimball’ on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or your favorite podcast app.


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