Different Types of Milk

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

There are many different types of milk available on the market these days, due to flavor preferences, avoidance of animal-derived products, and health concerns.

Different Types of Milk

The most common types of milk include almond milk, oat milk, skim milk, lactose-free milk, soy milk, and rice milk, among others.

Almond Milk

This is a popular plant-based type of milk that has a creamy consistency and a good amount of natural sweetness. As a nut milk, it is a good source of healthy fats, such as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, as well as a good amount of protein, fiber, and vitamin E, as well as magnesium, calcium, and potassium. This is a great milk to include in healthy smoothies and in sweeter desserts. [1]

Soy Milk

Derived from soybeans, this is a very nutrient-dense, plant-based milk variety. This milk has a very high level of soy protein and calcium, but it is less nutrient-rich than many other varieties of milk. Soy milk is particularly popular with vegetarians and vegans, and it has a consistency that is similar to skim milk, slightly thin and watery. [2]

Rice Milk

Derived from rice mixed with water, rice milk has a very low level of allergens, and no lactose, making it very popular with those who have lactose intolerance. There is also no fat or cholesterol in this milk variety, making it great for those who are struggling with cardiovascular issues or high blood pressure. It also provides a good amount of vitamin E and D and has a rather neutral flavor. [3]

A picture showing the different types of vegan milk

Plant-based milk is the best option you have if you are lactose-intolerant. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Hemp Milk

Derived from the hemp plant, this type of milk is rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, but has a lower level of protein than cow’s milk or soy milk. Many people also use hemp milk because of its antioxidant content and other unique nutrients. The flavor of hemp milk, however, is quite strong, so there are only a few recipes where this should be incorporated, so the flavor isn’t overly dominant. [4]

Oat Milk

Many people overlook oat milk, which is a blend of cooked oats and water, which is then strained to leave behind a nutrient-dense, plant-based milk. Offering more protein than hemp milk, oat milk has no fat or cholesterol and has a watery consistency and a milder flavor than many other types of milk. [5]

Coconut Milk

This rich form of milk is made by blending the flesh of a coconut with water and then straining the resultant liquid. What you have is a very dense, nutrient-filled milk, that is also quite sweet and packed with calories. There is also a high level of fat in this milk, so if you are trying to lose weight or boost heart health, you may want to choose a different type of milk. [6]

Cow’s Milk

From whole milk to skim milk, this is the traditional form of milk, high in calcium, vitamin D, and protein, as well as certain fats, depending on the type. [7]

Goat Milk

This form of milk offers more calcium, vitamin B6, and vitamin A than cow’s milk, but the flavor is quite earthy at times, which turns many people off to drinking this healthy form of milk. [8]

Lactose-free Milk

Some forms of milk have the lactose removed for those with lactose intolerance, but other nutrient levels remain equal. [9]

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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, publisher and photographer with English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (USA). He co-founded the literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and now serves as the Content Director for Stain’d Arts, a non-profit based in Denver, Colorado. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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