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Cowmilk or Noncow Milk? Which is better for an optimal growth?

In today’s market, two types of milk are mainly available such as cow milk and noncow milk beverages (soy milk, almond milk, coconut milk, rice milk). However, many people are wondering what type of milk should be recommended for an optimal child’s growth: cow milk or noncow milk beverages?

To help answer this very common question: It depends! There are many factors to take into consideration before providing any nutritional advice or recommendations regarding cow milk or noncow milk beverages consumption and child’s growth. Firstly, it is important to understand that noncow milk beverages are lower in protein and fat which are actually critical for children’s growth. Children consuming one glass of noncow milk daily tend to be 0.4 cm shorter than children consuming one glass of cow milk (1). Furthermore, children consuming three glass of noncow milk beverages are 1.5 cm shorter compared to children drinking three glasses of cow milk daily.

Secondly, it is important to know if your child is lactose intolerant. In North America, 79% of Native, 90% of Asians, 75% of African Americans, 51% of Hispanic and 21% of Caucasians are lactose intolerant which side effects include; diarrhea, gas and bloating after dairy or milk consumption (2,3). In fact, dairy products are critical for children’s bone health and also reduce the risks of heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and lower blood pressure (2). To help reduce the adverse outcome of lactose intolerance and optimize a better growth, you can simply add LACTAID supplements to your child’s diet which will help absorb and digest the lactose (sugar) from cow milk. Lactaid supplements are available in most stores over the counter.

On the other hand, your child may have an allergy to bovine protein deriving from cow milk. In this case, it would be recommended to provide noncow milk sources such as soymilk to help reduce the impact of bovine protein in their health.

Finally, the human body follows critical periods during development and each one will require specific nutritional guidelines for optimal health. If you think that your child and even you need more information or advice regarding milk consumption, contact your SNC’s Registered Dietitian today and get the help you need for better health! Now, you can mention to your children that two glasses of milk is better than one!



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