“Never cry over spilt milk, because it may have been poisoned.” W. C. Fields

There’s no one in the world who doesn’t know it: that liquid, creamy joy that’s accompanied us since birth — with our morning granola, in a foamy latte, or as a delicious side to freshly baked cookies. Cleopatra poured it in her bathwater thinking it would keep her skin eternally youthful. “Milk is full of calcium, it’ll make you big and strong,” or so we’ve heard since we were children. Known the world over and accepted for centuries as one of the foundations of our food pyramid, a peek in the office refrigerator is illustration enough — rice, soy, skim, almond, and lactose-free sit alongside the universally known whole milk, each variety offering its own benefits and disadvantages.

Rice Milk

Rice milk is a type of grain milk made from rice. It is commonly unsweetened; the sweet taste originates from a natural enzymatic process, in which the carbohydrates are split into sugars.


Rice milk is the most hypoallergenic of all milk products. Rice milk contains a generous supply of balanced nutrients. Rice milk has the least amount of fat in comparison other types of milks. There is only one gram of unsaturated fat per cup. Rice milk is a good source of B vitamins, which are essential to metabolism.


Rice milk is highly starchy. One cup of rice milk contains 33 grams of carbohydrates, three to four times the amount in cow or soy milk. For those with diabetes, rice milk can cause a sugar overload. It has little protein in comparison to cow or soy milk. Many find it to be less satisfying in taste and ineffective for appetite control. It contains almost no calcium, aside from brands that contain artificially added calcium.

Almond Milk

Almond milk is made from ground almonds. It does not contain any animal products, making it suitable for vegans and vegetarians. Vanilla and chocolate flavors are often added, as well as sweeteners.


Almond milk is a good source of the antioxidant vitamin E, which can prevent cancer and has been shown to help slow the signs of aging. Almond milk contains no cholesterol and no saturated fats, so it won’t harm your cardiovascular system. Compared to cow or soy milk, almond milk has the highest concentrations of vitamins and minerals. All of the nutrients, which are added to other milk varieties, occur naturally in almond milk. Almond milk is very low in calories and contains only about three grams of healthy fat per serving.


Feeding almond milk to infants may cause tree nut allergies to develop. Processed almond milk may also contain unwanted additives and sweeteners. It is very dangerous for those who have even the lightest of tree nut allergies.

Long-Life/Ultra High Temperature Milk

While fresh (pasteurized) milk is heated to 74°C for 15 seconds, long-life milk is super heated to 140°C for two seconds and then packaged in a completely sterile environment.


Long-life milk can be stored for months. It is easier to digest than fresh milk. And in long-life milk, pathogenic microorganisms are already destroyed. It can also be cheaper.


Due to the heating process important vitamins are lost. The taste is weak in comparison to fresh milk. The loss of lactic bacteria makes it hard to notice when the milk is spoiled.

Lactose-Free Milk

People who lack the enzyme lactase cannot digest lactose, the milk sugar. Based on human evolution almost 75 percent of the world’s population is lactose intolerant. In lactose-free dairy products the milk sugar is already split into the two primary sugars, dextrose and galactose, mostly by adding the enzyme lactase.


Because of the sweetness of lactose-free milk, extra sugar isn’t necessary in coffee and other beverages.


Lactose-free products may contain unwanted additives, preservatives, and acids.