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​OUR DIETITIAN PENNY OXBY DISCUSSES DAIRY MILK ALTERNATIVES FOR OVER 50s

 

Getting enough dietary calcium is vital to maintaining bone strength – yet less than half of Australians get their recommended daily intake of this important nutrient. We know that three to five serves of calcium rich foods daily is recommended, so is it time to trade the almond milk latte for full cream?

Women above the age of 50 and men above the age of 70 need more serves of calcium containing foods and fluids to avoid bone loss conditions such as osteopenia or osteoporosis (low bone density). For many Australians, dairy foods are an important source of dietary calcium. Milk, yoghurt and most cheeses are particularly high in calcium – this includes reduced fat options.

However, some people choose alternatives to dairy, such as almond or oat milk, due to food intolerance, allergy or personal preference. These kinds of products are widely promoted as a healthy alternative to dairy but may not stack up nutritionally.

If alternate milks are part of your diet, here’s how to figure out if yours is a good choice. Firstly, be aware that the health claims on the front of the package can be misleading. Rather than relying on marketing claims like, “low in sugar” or “high protein”, here’s how to read a nutrition information panel to make an objective assessment about a product. Below are two labels – one is for soy milk and the other is for almond milk.

Be sure to check that your chosen product provides enough calcium for good bone health by comparing the calcium per 100ml. To be a good source of calcium (comparable to dairy), choose products that provide at least 120mg calcium per 100ml. You will see that the almond milk featured below is very  low. The almond milk is also lower in protein than the soy example.

Also, check the amount of sugars. Unsweetened products are best. Products that contain 6g or less of sugars per 100ml will be a better choice.

For more information about choosing the right foods to meet your requirements, book an appointment today with our Accredited Practising Dietitian.

 

NUTRITION INFORMATION – Soy milk example
  PER 250 ML SERVE PER 100ML
Energy (kJ) 683 273
Protein (g) 8.0 3.2
Fat, saturated (g) 1.0 0.4
Carbohydrate, sugars (g) 5.0 2.0
Calcium (mg) 400 160

 

NUTRITION INFORMATION – Almond milk example
  PER 250 ML SERVE PER 100ML
Energy (kJ) 168 67
Protein (g) 1.3 0.5
Fat, saturated (g) 0.2 Less than 0.1
Carbohydrate, sugars (g) 0.3 0.1
Calcium (mg) 200 80.0