Milk vs. Soy milk: Which is better and why?


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With lots of online information, ads and new products available around, it may be a little tricky to decide which milk is best for you! While we have known for centuries that cow’s milk has several benefits, how good is soy milk in comparison with it?

Cow’s milk has a higher quality protein compared to soy milk, which means it contains all the essential amino acids that our bodies need to build muscle and prevent muscle breakdown. The protein in cow’s milk can be digested and absorbed in the body easily. Soy milk has many varieties, added calcium and less phosphorus, riboflavin, vitamin A and zinc compared to cow’s milk.

Soy milk is suitable for people with a cow’s milk allergy. It is lactose-free, and a vegan alternative to milk. It is also richer in iron compared with cow's milk. When choosing between a non-dairy milk alternative, like soy milk, and dairy milk, a simple, farm-fresh drink, the choice is actually yours but here are the differences that you should note.


A cup of cow’s milk contains lactose (a sugar found only in milk), 8.03 grams of protein and 11.49 grams of carbohydrates and 8 grams fat content. It also contains 28% of an adult’s daily calcium and 50% of needed riboflavin and cyanocobalamin.

Soy milk contains no lactose, half the fat of cow’s milk (4.7 grams), more protein (10.98 grams) and less carbohydrates per cup. Soy milk naturally has very less calcium and vitamin B, but is fortified with them for nutrition.


Cow’s milk contains lactose that can be hard to digest for some people. People with lactose intolerance can try Soy milk as an alternative. Soy milk is extracted from soy and does not involve animals in its production, which is a strong preference for vegans.

Health Benefits

Cow’s milk is an excellent source of calcium, vitamin A and D, which is essential for good health and strong bones. It also contains casein and whey protein which is good for building muscle.

Soy milk on the other hand contains more vitamin B and iron than cow's milk. It also has 42 times more manganese, for proper bone formation. It reduces the bad cholesterol (LDL) and raises HDL. It also contains more fiber than cow’s milk, and isoflavones, which help prevent cancer, heart disease and osteoporosis.


While cow’s milk may be the best nutrition for infants and little children, many adults look for alternatives in order to intake less fat. Cow’s milk contributes to the gassy, bloated feeling. Soy milk contains a high percentage of phytoestrogens, which may decrease fertility in men if consumed more than 3 quarts per day. Too much estrogen can also cause hormonal imbalance in women. Soy milk also contains oligosaccharides, a type of carbohydrate the body has difficulty breaking down and some people may experience a lot of gas. Soy milk also contains phytates, which is known to interfere with calcium absorption.

India is the world’s largest producer and consumer of milk. Soy milk originated in China and it is popular in Malaysia and other South Asian countries. It is also gaining more popularity in India, owing to the increasing numbers of vegans and vegetarians. You must keep in mind the nutritional value of both the milk variants while choosing one for yourself. Remember that consuming milk regularly is good for your health irrespective of which milk you prefer and overconsumption of it can cause health issues.