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A few years ago, milk was as simple as "comes from a cow, is delivered by the milk man". However, a raised awareness around intolerance, allergies and health benefits of other forms has led to a much greater availability of non-cow milk.

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The influx of options has led to some confusion, so we've looked at the pros and cons if the white stuff available, to help you make your choice...

milk

1 cup of whole milk: 148 calories, 8g fat (4.6g saturated), 24mg cholesterol, 12g carbohydrate (12g sugar), 8g protein

Pros: A complete protein, with healthy fat, also contains 27% of daily calcium needed, 31% of vitamin D, 18% of vitamin A.

Cons: Higher fat means higher in calories, some people are intolerant

Whole milk has no fat removed - there's around 8 grams per cup, and 88% water. Skimmed and semi-skimmed varieties have less fat, and fewer calories, but the same volume of protein - therefore they are often recommended by diaticians.

The best variety for athletes is under debate. The extra fat in whole milk means it could take longer to digest, potentially making skim a better option. We do, however, need fat in our diets, so whole milk could be a good option, unless you are consciously trying to lose weight.

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If you are intolarant to lactose, but want cows milk, you can buy lactose free milk. This is processed to break down lactose - a natural sugar. You still get plenty of protein, calcium, vitamins and minerals, and you can buy 2% fat to 0% fat variaties as per normal milk.

almonds

1 cup of almond milk: 40 calories, 3.5g fat (0.2g saturated), 0mg cholesterol, 1.4g carbohydrate (0.8g sugar), 1.5 protein

Pros: Much lower in fat and sugar than cows milk

Cons: Also lower in protein and carbohydrate

Almond milk is made by grinding down almonds, and adding water. It's free from cholesterol, low in fat, and lactose free.

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Though almonds are a great source of protein, the milk is not, and it's also contains no calcium or vitamin D. However, some brands add supplements to help you meet your requirements.

soy

1 cup of soy milk: 127 calories, 4.7g fat (0.5g saturated), 0mg cholesterol, 12g carbohydrate (1.2g sugar), 10g protein

Pros: A complete protein, without the fat of cow's milk. Also contains 30% of daily vitamin A requirement, 15% iron and 9% calcium requirements.

Cons: Sweetened varieties can be high in sugar

Soy milk comes from soy beans - it's got no cholesterol, is lactose free and fine for vegans. It contains plenty of protein, and fortified versions have calcium, too.

Soy Milk can sometimes be sweetened - so it's worth checking the packaging, and asking at coffee shops, as you don't want to swap healthy fat for copious amounts of the white stuff.

642x361-5-Rice_Milk-Almond_Milk_vs_Cow_Milk_vs_Soy_Milk

1 cup of soy milk: 127 calories, 4.7g fat (0.5g saturated), 0mg cholesterol, 12g carbohydrate (1.2g sugar), 10g protein

Pros: Least likely to result in allergies

Cons: Low in protein, high in carbohydrate

You guessed it - rice milk comes from rice and water. It's the one milk that people are least likely to be allergic too, it's vegan friendly and fortified versions will have calcium and vitamin D.

However, it's very high in carbohydrates, and doesn't give you much/any protein at all - so it's not the first choice for most athletes.

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1 cup of oat milk: 130 calories, 2.5g fat (05g saturated), 0mg cholesterol, 24g carbohydrate (19g sugar), 4g protein

Pros: Low in fat, and contains 10% of daily requirement for Vitamin A and Iron, plus 36% calcium

Cons: Low in protein

Made from oats and water, oat milk is another option - but like rice milk, it doesn't contain the protein most athletes will be looking for.

Porridge oats with milk, however, make a fantastic alternative to sugar saturated breakfast cereals, so don't think we're putting down the British staple.

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