What is better – soymilk or skim milk?
Both skim milk and unflavored soy milk are healthy choices when it comes to dairy. If you have diabetes, you need to remember that regular milk and soy milk are both sources of carbohydrate, so they should be worked into your meal plan in appropriate portions. However, it is still important to include dairy your diet, since dairy is an important source of calcium and protein for many of us. The best choices of dairy products are:
• Fat-free or low-fat (1% milk)
• Plain non-fat yogurt
• Non-fat light yogurt without added sugar
• Unflavored soy milk
• Light soy milk
The lactose in milk does not make it a less healthy or undesirable choice, unless you have a lactose intolerance. When you are lactose intolerant, your body does not have enough of the enzyme lactase, which helps us digest milk and milk products. When your body can’t digest milk or milk products, you may have uncomfortable symptoms like bloating, gas, and stomach cramps.
People who are lactose intolerant still have options, however. There are many milk substitutes like soy milk, rice milk, almond milk, and lactose-free dairy products. Look to buy fortified milk substitutes to make sure you get enough vitamin D and calcium. Some people who are lactose intolerant can handle smaller servings of dairy. Others may choose to take lactase pills before eating dairy products, which help with digestion.
Though skim milk and soy milk are both good choices, there are some slight differences in nutrition. See the comparison below, which may help with meal planning:
1 cup Soy Milk:
4.1 g. total fat
0.5 g. saturated fat
3.5 grams unsaturated fat
0 mg cholesterol
107 mg sodium
11 g carbohydrate
2 g dietary fiber
8 g protein
350 mg potassium
Skim has less calories and fat
1 cup Skim Milk:
0.2 g total fat
0.1 g saturated fat
0.1 g unsaturated fat
4 mg cholesterol
130 g sodium
13 g carbohydrate
0 g fiber
9 g protein
380 g potassium
As you can see, soy milk has more calories and fat than skim milk. However, most of the fat in soy milk is unsaturated fat - the type of healthy fat that may help bring cholesterol levels down. Soy milk also has some fiber in it, while skim milk does not have any. Both have about the same amount of protein, sodium, carbohydrate, and minimal cholesterol. Both are good choices when compared to full-fat dairy products like whole milk, cream, etc. You may also want to try “light” or low-fat varieties of soymilk.
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