Got milk? Not anymore. More Americans are moving away from cow’s milk, USDA data has shown. In fact, overall cow’s milk consumption has dropped 37% since the 1970s. (Whole milk? Down 78%!) What are we drinking instead? Just about anything else.
While carbonated beverages, juices, and coffee are still fairly popular, alternatives to cow’s milk are on the rise. Soy, almond, rice, hemp, coconut and other plant milks are being consumed by vegans and meat-eaters alike. Some opt for non-dairy milks due to allergies or vegan beliefs, many choose it for taste, and for some it’s a matter of price. The price of cow’s milk has increased 10% in just the last year.
Allergies aside, plant-based milks are much healthier for humans than cow’s milk. (Obviously cow’s milk is perfect for baby cows.) Plant milks are rich in protein and calcium and are fortified with other vitamins, much like breakfast cereals. Non-dairy milks also have a good source of calcium that has higher absorption than cow’s milk, other studies are showing. The rates of bone fracture are highest in cow’s milk-drinking countries.
The popularity of non-dairy milks is also good news for dairy cows, who are forcefully impregnated only to have their babies taken away so their milk can go to humans. Furthermore, undercover investigations regularly reveal brutal treatment of these animals on dairy farms, as if their lives of confinement, exploitation, and mental anguish weren’t bad enough.
While the dairy industry is trying to rev up their reputation by swapping out their “Got Milk?” slogan with “Milk Life” and boasting cow’s milk’s protein, the facts are clear: we can get better, healthier protein from non-dairy milks, and no one has to suffer.
What’s your favorite plant milk?
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