Considering cow's milk and "milk" alternatives

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A frequent question from my undergraduate students is about the value of drinking milk as an adult - and which of the plant-based "milks" might be a good alternative. First, there is not good evidence that moderate cow's milk or dairy consumption as part of an overall healthy diet presents risk - and actually some good evidence of health benefits. However, it is also very possible to have a healthy and adequate diet without cow's milk - just may need to consider alternate sources or supplements for nutrients (like calcium, vitamin D, riboflavin) for which milk is a good source. Here is an excellent article with an overview of cow's milk and milk alternatives by a registered dietitian. My vote for the closest milk alternative is soy.


About the Author
Jamie Pope, a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Assistant Professor of Practice in Medicine, Health and Society at Vanderbilt University, has worked in the areas of obesity research, health promotion, heart disease prevention, and since 2000 teaching introductory nutrition. Beyond the classroom, she adapted portions of her nutrition courses to produce a Massive Open Online Course attracting more than 175,000 participants from around the world. This experience earned Jamie an Innovation in Teaching award from the Vanderbilt University School of Nursing. She is the co-author of the textbook entitled Nutrition for a Changing World. Now in its second edition, the text is in use in over 140 universities across the U.S. and the recipient of a 2020 Textbook Excellence Award. Most recently she developed and produced an audio course for (Nutrition 101: Understanding the Science and Practice of Eating Well) that is also featured on platforms like Apple Books and Audible. Jamie holds a Master’s of Science degree in Nutrition and post graduate work in Health Psychology. She is a Fellow of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. She has authored or contributed to numerous scientific and popular press publications. Jamie also held several corporate positions, serving as nutrition consultant and media representative.