The debate over which is healthier – cow’s milk or soymilk – is a longstanding one. What is the difference? Here are several key pieces of nutritional information about the differences between the two options based on 100-gram (3.5 ounce) servings.
It is important to consider the comparison between vitamin contents in each type of milk. Most people do not realize that Vitamins A, C, and D are completely destroyed during the process of pasteurization. What vitamins appear on the nutritional information label have been added separately. These same vitamins are also terminated during the manufacturing of soymilk. Soy protein does, however, have an abundance of other vitamins and minerals animal protein does not have. In comparison to cow’s milk, soymilk includes over four times the thiamin (Vitamin B-1), almost two times the amount of niacin (Vitamin B-3), twelve times the amount of copper, forty-two times the amount of manganese, and significantly higher amounts of magnesium. Nutritionally these vitamins and minerals are crucial for neural activity, formation of bones, and preventing anemia. In the end, soymilk offers greater benefits in terms of vitamin content.
If amino acids and protein are your main concern of comparison as you ponder which carton to reach for, checking the nutritional information label will show it really doesn’t matter. Only one-half gram of protein and one-fifth of a gram more of the nine essential amino acids in cow’s milk separate the two. This slight difference in amino acid content should not be altogether ignored, though. Methionine, an essential amino acid with sulfur at its core, is found in cow’s milk in quantities more than twice that of soy based milk. When this protein builds up in the bloodstream, the body brings balance back by extracting calcium from bones. This can eventually result in osteoporosis. Another nutritional benefit of soymilk is its richness in amino acids arginine, alanine, aspartic acid, and glycine. These elements provide the benefits of acting as anti-oxidants to slow cancer growth, boosting both metabolism and the immune system, and supporting brain and nervous system functioning.
In terms of caloric information, soy based milk beats cow’s milk by over half (33 calories as opposed to 61 in cow’s milk). It is also significantly lower in fat content in comparison. Cow’s milk contains 3.34 grams of fat whereas soymilk contains only 1.91. Another drawback to cow’s milk is its complete lack of dietary fiber. Soymilk holds 1.3 grams of fiber and zero cholesterol compared to the 14 milligrams of cholesterol in regular milk. Weight conscious individuals who drink milk regularly might experience benefits from switching from animal milk to soy-based milk for cutting out additional fat.
Having some basic nutritional information should help you decide what is best for your diet. In comparison, choosing soy over animal protein is the superior nutritional option.