What are the different types of milk?
Food Myths

What are the different types of milk?

13 Mins read
cigna-team Author Cigna Team

Packed with protein, calcium, vitamins D and B12, milk is a nutritious essential that is good for bone health. Milk is also regarded as a complete protein since it contains all nine types of essential amino acids for the body to function at an optimal level. 

Besides cow's milk, the rising popularity of plant-based milk now opens up a few options including almond milk and oat milk for vegans and those who are lactose intolerant. Here we take a look at the nutritional benefits of different kinds of milk and how these dairy products are good for your body.

Traditional nutrition study suggests that an adult should consume about 300g of dairy products a day. Milk is the most popular choice. Sometimes people order "cha zau" in a restaurant, the milk tea with condensed milk instead of evaporated milk. In fact, both condensed and evaporated milk are milk products after removing certain water content. Condensed milk is sweetened, evaporated milk is sugar-free, while both of them contain a lot of additives, best to drink less.

Due to allergy, lactose intolerance or vegetarianism, some people are not capable of absorbing milk. Besides, the production and storage of animal products generate abundant greenhouse gases, some consumers tend to avoid milk as of environmental considerations. Plant milk made from soybeans, oats, and almonds, becomes a good substitute.

In the United States alone, plant milk sales have reached billions of dollars each year. Market monitoring and data analysis company Nielsen also pointed out that oat milk has become the most popular plant milk in the UK market in 2020.

According to a consumer survey in the US, nearly one-fifth of plant milk buyers value health factors the most. Many plant milk promotions also use health as their selling point, but the information is sometimes not comprehensive. As for certain kinds of plant milk with rough texture, some manufacturers add sugar and thickeners to make their products smoother. Consumers should thus check the nutrition label in detail before purchasing.

The following table compares the nutritional content of different products:

Nutrient Content(8oz)

Soy milk

Quinoa Milk

Oat milk

Almond milk

Whole milk

Skim milk

Low-fat milk


105 kcal

111 kcal

40 kcal

130 kcal

150 kcal

100 kcal

80 kcal




1.51 g













Whole milk or full cream milk is rich in taste and contains 3.25% milkfat by weight. It is higher in calories, with an 8-ounce glass containing 150 calories, 8 grams of protein, 8 grams of fat, including 5 grams of saturated fat. 

Although those who are watching their weight may be wary of drinking whole milk, it is worth noting that the body needs fat to absorb vitamins A and D. 

An 8-ounce glass of skim milk contains just 80 calories. But worry not, as the 8 grams of protein and other essential nutrients in the milk remain intact.  Although it appears to be a healthier option, some skim milk contains flavourings and additives.

Low-fat milk has less fat, with an 8-ounce glass containing 2.5 grams of fat and 100 calories; a relatively low-calorie source of protein.

Nutritionally, soy milk comes closest to cow's milk. Soybeans are an excellent source of complete protein and thus a great option if you wish to avoid dairy beverage. An 8-ounce serving of unsweetened soy milk approximately provides 105 calories, 6 grams of protein and 4 grams of fat. It also contains vitamin B12 and D, calcium and phosphorus.

Quinoa is an excellent source of manganese which acts as a cofactor of several enzymes to facilitate a dozen different metabolic processes. Each 8-ounce serving of Quinoa Milk contains 111 calories, 1.6 grams of fat and 3.8 grams of protein.

Oat milk is high in soluble fibre and beta-glucans. It is, however, lower in protein, vitamins and minerals compared to cow's milk. An 8-ounce glass of oat milk contains 130 calories, 2 grams of fat and 4 grams of protein.

Almond milk is imbued with a nutty taste and contains magnesium, selenium and vitamin E. An 8-ounce glass of almond milk contains 40 calories, 3.58 grams of fat and 1.51 grams of protein.


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