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You Ask, I Answer: Dairy Alternatives/Rice Milk

Posted Aug 23 2008 11:51pm
I found recently that cows milk and I don't get on, which is a pity since I love cheese.

Anyway, I've been avoiding cheese while I try to lose weight.

I have also switched from cow's milk to rice milk, but I'm not sure if rice milk has more fat or calories, and I'm finding the labeling on my cartons a little confusing.

Is rice milk okay, or should I be looking to other alternatives? (I'm not a big fan of the soy milk flavor).

-- Ryan Nelson

Brighton , England

Lactose intolerance can occur in varying degrees.

Being unable to digest cow’s milk does not necessarily mean cheese and yogurts should also be off-limits.

A slice of hard cheese – such as Swiss – offers a tenth of the lactose in a glass of milk. The active cultures in some yogurts, meanwhile, can also help avoid digestive problems.

Let’s assume, though, that your intolerance to lactose is such that even the tiniest amount in any dairy product offsets problems.

In that case, I don’t consider rice milk an equal alternative to cow’s milk.

Whereas soy milk is a good source of protein and is often fortified with calcium and vitamin D, the same does not hold for rice milk.

Consider the following:

A cup (8 fluid ounces) of skim milk contains 91 calories, 8.7 grams of protein, and 30% of the daily calcium requirement.

A cup of reduced-fat (2%) milk adds up to 123 calories, 8.1 grams of protein, and 28.5% of a day’s calcium needs.

A cup of rice milk? 120 calories, 1 gram of protein, and just 2% of the daily calcium requirement.

In your case, I would recommend Lactaid products (which I believe are sold under the name Milkaid in the UK ) – whether it’s actual Lactaid milk or having a Lactaid pill prior to consuming dairy.
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