A new study found that milk alternatives might not give kids enough vitamin D. The study, published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, found that young children who drank milk alternatives, such as almond, soy or rice milk, were more likely to have low levels of vitamin D in their blood.
Researchers collected information on the amounts and types of milk consumed by nearly 3,000 preschoolers who had tests for vitamin D levels. They found low vitamin D levels in 5 percent of children who drank only cow’s milk, compared to 11 percent of children who drank only the milk alternatives.
Some manufacturers fortify milk and other foods with vitamin D, which helps with strong bones and teeth. Milk also naturally contains nine essential nutrients, including vitamin D, calcium and protein.
“Unlike cow’s milk you find in your store, you cannot be certain that essential nutrients are found among the various types of non-dairy beverages,” said Stephanie Cundith, a registered dietitian with the Midwest Dairy Council. “That’s why I rely on cow’s milk to provide my son with the essential nutrients he needs for healthy development.”