This is one of a series of articles on food written by David Murray (see the full list on the right hand sidebar).

common-milkSo you want a latte.

Great! But what kind? Lately the latte family has multiplied.

The classic latte is now the embattled cousin of the skinny latte, the soy latte, the almond milk latte, the coconut milk latte, the large-double-ristretto-three-quarter-extra-hot-latte. The experienced coffee drinker can tailor and fine-tune their beverage to the twelfth degree of personal perfection if they know their options.

So many milks, so little time!

Now let’s start with our two dairy choices, full cream and skinny milk.

Full cream milk is our common variety, and is the benchmark against which all other milks are compared. We, as humans, differ from almost every other species in that we drink milk as adults. I suppose it’s unsurprising that there are many people with lactose intolerances or dairy allergies, all things considered. Lactose is a sugar distinctive of dairy products, and is one of the major reasons that people seek non-dairy alternatives. Cow’s milk is biologically designed for cows (surprise, surprise) and so we have adapted it to fit our dietary needs. We fortify it with nutrients and treat it to eliminate harmful bacteria, and make it fit for human consumption. But though it is nutrient-rich and high in calcium, it also holds a hefty fat content as well.

That’s where skinny milk comes into play. If cholesterol or heart disease are concerns in your life (and if they are, your milk won’t be the only culprit) skinny milk offers you a low fat, high calcium alternative. If you want calcium in your diet, dairy milk is where it’s at. While there are other sources of calcium, there are non as powerful and convenient as dairy.

But if that ain’t your bag, there’s a couple of other milks you can try.

Soy milk has long been the non-dairy go-to for coffee drinkers. It steams well, pours well, and tastes great! And in addition to holding par with dairy milks on the coffee machine, soy milk boasts a fibre content that it’s animal-product rivals lack. In truth, soy milk isn’t milk at all. It is a plant-based product manufactured by humans. As such, though, it totally lacks lactose. If diary isn’t doing it for you, or is doing a little too much to you, soy milk could be the way to go.

But then again, there’s almond milk. Yet another dairy-alternative that has skyrocketed in popularity. Soy is still top dog, but almond milk is a serious contender. Why? Mainly the taste. While almond milk can be spun as healthy on the grounds that it has no lactose, low saturated fats, and lower calories than dairy milk, it also has lower of just about everything. That said, it is still a good support for your immune system and is an excellent choice for lowering your blood sugar levels.

Whatever your reason, the options are there. And whichever milk you choose, be careful of commercial brands loaded with additives. ‘Healthy’ milk is often loaded with sugars and preservatives to make them more marketable and better tasting, but remember that this comes at a cost.

And that cost is your health.

Coffee is serious business. Choose wisely.

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