For a few years, the world waged war on fats ushering in a new era of low-fat options that slapped this macro off of our menus. Dairy was caught in the crossfire with full-cream milks getting shelved in favour of dairy-free options. And while fat has crawled back into the zeitgeist of healthy eating choices, the world—as a whole(fat)—has turned its back on milk-derived staples.
In many parts of the world, dairy consumption has dropped by 40% since 1975 with plant-based alternatives like oat, almond and soy subbing in for milk’s once dominant position on the snacking squad. The driving factors? Veganism, environmental concerns and a widespread negative PR about milk’s apparent health risks.
Is Dairy Really That Bad For You?
No, not really. It might actually even be a healthy choice (in moderation). An analysis investigated claims that dairy is the devil and discovered that regular consumption of this creamy staple wasn’t linked with any long-term health risks.
Not only can consuming dairy help you hit your nutrient requirements, but it might also shield you against the same chronic diseases that some claim dairy once caused. A study published in the European Health Journal found that adding full-fat dairy to your diet might even help ward off heart disease and reduce your risk of premature death.
What About Alternative Milk?
Well, there’s a reason they’re taking off—and it’s not just vegans driving this latest trend. A 2018 study found that alternative milk had a much smaller environmental impact than the OG. The researchers revealed that producing a glass of dairy milk results in three times more greenhouse emissions than the same volume of its alternatives.
But some varieties – like almond milk – do have their own environmental concerns to contend with. Nutritionally, plant-based milks tend to pack far fewer calories than dairy but that deficit comes at the cost of much-needed protein. (A cup of milk can pack up to 10g of this muscle-making macro.)
Factor in calcium and a range of vitamins (including B12) and it becomes difficult for the alt crowd to contend. However, plant-based might be the way to go