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COW'S MILK VS PLANT-BASED ALTERNATIVES: WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE?

Is all milk created equal? A look at the labels reveal some interesting facts.

*Nutritional values based on 1 cup serving size

FACT Cow's milk is naturally nutrient rich and provides essential nutrients including calcium, vitamin B2 and potassium.

Plant-based alternatives don't always have the same natural occurring nutrients.

FACT Cow's milk has no food additives.

Plant-based alternatives have added ingredients including salt, sugar, stabilisers, emulsifiers and more.

FACT Cow's milk provides our body with high-quality complete protein.

Milk protein contains 9 essential amino acids that the body needs daily in order to function properly including maintenance of bone mass and muscles which promotes growth. Plant-based alternatives only contain incomplete protein.

FACT Cow's milk is naturally rich in calcium.

Plant-based alternatives contain no calcium. Calcium in cow's milk plays an important role in supporting body functions and mechanisms. It contributes to the maintenance of bones and teeth, and to the functioning of muscles. Calcium also supports normal neurotransmission, blood clotting and functioning of the digestive enzymes.

Malaysia Food Composition Database, Dutch Lady Purefarm Pasteurised Fresh Milk | Australia's Own, Soy Milk Unsweetened | Australia's Own, Almond Milk Unsweetened | Australia's Own, Coconut Milk Unsweetened | Pure Harvest, Oat Milk | Milk Life.com, Dairy vs. Non-Dairy Milk: What's the Difference? | FrieslandCampina Institute, The Goodness of Dairy | Ministry of Health Malaysia, RNI: Recommended Nutrient Intakes for Malaysia, 2017

COMPARING MILK TYPES:
FULL CREAM vs LOW FAT vs SKIM MILK

The different types of dairy milk are produced by using seperation and mixing techniques to remove fat content before milk is bottled or packaged. However, no matter which milk-fat percentage you choose, all dairy milk still contain the same essential nutrients.

Ministry of Health Malaysia, Malaysian Dietary Guidelines for Children and Adolescents, 2013 | The Dairy Alliance, Health Benefits of Dairy.

UNDERSTANDING MILK FORMULAS AND POWDERS

Gain a better understanding of what milk formulas and milk powders are made from and what each is suitable for.

TYPE OF MILK

Formulated Milk Powder/Growing Up Milk PowderFormulated Milk Powder/Growing Up Milk Powder for children is specially formulated for children aged 1 to 9 years old. It is usually derived from cow's milk or other animals. It is then enriched with vitamins and minerals that are suitable for children.

Suitability/Use | For children aged 1 to 9 years old.

Full Cream Milk PowderMilk or recombined milk from which the water has been removed for it to be in powder form. Full Cream Milk Powder contains a minimum of 26% milk fat of cow origin.

Suitability/Use | For home consumption, baking and food preparation.

Filled Milk Powder Filled Milk Powder as a product is similar in general composition, appearance, characteristic and intended use to Full Cream Milk Powder. Milk fat in Filled Milk Powder has been replaced wholly or partly by an equivalent amount of edible vegetable oil or edible vegetable fat or a combination of both.


Filled Milk Powder was developed so that it can dissolve faster in liquid, therefore saving time. It is also commonly known as Instant Milk Powder.

Suitability/Use | For home consumption, baking and food preparation.

Malted Milk PowderMalted Milk Powder is produced from wheat or cereals and vegetable oils. Malted Milk Powder is an alternative to Full Cream Milk Powder.

Suitability/Use | Used to make malt-flavoured drinks and as a flavouring ingredient in baked goods.
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, CODEX Alimentarius | Ministry of Health Malaysia, Food Regulation 1985

SUGARS & OUR FOOD

Sugar is conventionally used to describe monosaccharides and disaccharides such as sucrose, dextrose, glucose, galactose and fructose. It can be found naturally in foods or can be added to foods during processing.

Lactose is a naturally occurring sugar in milk and dairy products. It is a type of carbohydrate that when broken down is slowly absorbed by our body. Undigested lactose helps increase the absorption of minerals such as calcium, magnesium and zinc. Natural sugars in milk fuel our body and brain. In addition, lactose may also have beneficials effect on gut health and early immune development.

Fructose is a naturally occurring sugar commonly found in fruits, honey and root vegetables. It is absorbed directly into the bloodstream during digestion and has no impact on insulin production or blood glucose levels. Excessive fructose intake may increase the risk of metabolic syndrome and fatty liver disease.

Sucrose is the scientific name for table sugar. It is crystallised white sugar produced from natural sources like sugar cane or sugar beets. It is commonly added to processed foods and can be broken down by the body rapidly. As a result, consuming sucrose may cause spikes in insulin and blood sugar levels.

BBC Good Food, Sugar Explained, 18 January 2019 | Healthline.com, Sucrose vs Glucose vs Fructose: What's the Difference? 8 June 2018 | Healthline.com, How Much Sugar Is in Milk? 10 December 2019 | Health Designs.net, Natural vs Refined Sugar: Why the Difference Matters, 30 October 2017 | National Library of Medicine, Fructose and Sugar: A Major Mediator of Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease, 2018 | National Library of Medicine, Human Milk: Composition and Health Benefits, 2017 | Science Direct, Lactose and lactose derivatives as bioactive ingredients in human nutrition, May 2008 | Nutrients, The Importance of Lactose in the Human Diet: Outcomes of a Mexican Consensus Meeting, 12 November 2019