In 2023, the market is flooded with an array of milk options — from almond to oat to traditional cow’s milk. But which milk has the most protein content? Dive into this comprehensive review to learn the nutritional profiles of the most popularly consumed types of milk and why you might want to consider switching up your morning pour.
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Milk: Dairy vs. Dairy-free Options
In the world of milk, it is essential to differentiate between dairy and dairy-free options.
While dairy milk predominantly includes that obtained from cows, buffaloes, goats, and sheep, non-dairy milk is predominantly plant-based.
Standard dairy-free milk options are:
- Nut milk like almond, coconut
- Grain-based milk like rice and oats
- Others, like hemp and soy milk
What Milk Has The Most Protein?
Cow’s milk has the most protein compared to many plant-based milks.
According to a new study, while 72% of plant-based milk matches cow’s milk in terms of calcium and vitamin D content, only a few came even close to dairy’s protein levels.
While a cup of cow milk can give you approximately 8-9 g of protein, soy milk comes close, with 7 g of protein for every cup.
The One With The Least Carbs
Unsweetened almond, soy, and hemp milk have the least amount of carbs.
The One With The Least Fat
While whole milk contains all the nutrients, skimmed milk is one with the fat removed.
Processing whole milk to skim milk also causes it to lose some of its other essential nutrients.
Of all the popular dairy and dairy-free milk options today, rice milk is low in fat (one cup contains 2.37 g of fat).
What Dairy-free Milk Has The Most Protein?
Soy milk is considered to have the highest protein content among dairy-free milk options.
One cup of pea milk contains 6-7 g of protein.
Which Is The Best Dairy-free Milk?
In terms of nutrients, soy milk is the best dairy-free milk option.
This is due to its moderately-high protein, calcium, and vitamin D content and low carbohydrate content- all of which are close to that found in cow milk.
Nutritional Value Per Glass Of Milk (8 ounces)
|Cow’s milk||259||12 g||9 g||10.99 g||300 mg||0 IU|
|Almond milk||29||3 g||1.01 g||2.50 g||0 mg*||101 IU|
|Soy milk||101||3 g||6 g||3.5 g||300 mg||120 IU|
|Oat milk||130||12 g||4.01 g||2.5 g||10 mg*||101 IU|
|Coconut milk||76||7 g||0.5 g||5 g||130 mg||42 IU|
|Rice milk||115||22.4 g||0.683 g||2.37 g||288 mg||8.12 IU|
|Hemp milk||60||3 g||3 g||4.51 g||283 mg||0 IU|
*While many plant-based milks naturally have low calcium content, most of the manufacturers fortify them with key nutrients like calcium and vitamin D.
Is There One Healthiest Type Of Milk?
For people open to dairy options, cow milk is usually the most recommended by nutritionists worldwide.
If you are a vegan or wish to opt for dairy-free milk, soy milk is the next best option for you.
What Do Nutritionists Say?
From a nutritionist’s perspective, cow milk, with the maximum protein and other nutrients, is the healthiest.
The nutrients in cow milk support the growth and development of healthy bones and the body.
If you are planning to go dairy-free, soy milk is comparable to cow milk in terms of protein and nutrition.
Other dairy-free milk options may not be naturally nutrient-rich, but you will find plenty of fortified options.
What Is The Best Milk For Lactose Intolerant People?
If you are lactose intolerant and cannot consume cow or other dairy, soy milk is the best for you.
Which Is The Best Milk For Weight Loss?
If you are on a weight loss journey and are looking for the best milk option to add to your diet, unsweetened almond milk is the best for you!
According to a study by NIH, unsweetened almond milk has the lowest calories and is a perfect addition to a low-carb diet.
Almond milk is also rich in monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) that help achieve weight loss and management.
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Bottomline: What Milk Has The Most Protein?
While dairy options, especially cow milk, have been a staple worldwide for centuries, newer plant-based options are becoming increasingly popular.
In terms of nutrition, dairy-based milk, like those from cows and sheep, contains the highest amount of proteins.
Among dairy-free milk options, soy milk is the closest in terms of nutrition to cow milk.