Milk Alternatives Are All the Rage; Are They Healthier for Growing Kids?

Local News

Milk alternatives like soy milk, almond, coconut or even hemp milk, are becoming the trend. While the often lower fat and calorie content may be great for adult drinkers, what about kids?

A local pediatrician told KX News that dairy milk is always best for growing kids.

But, she also says these alternatives be a saving grace for families struggling with dairy allergies. We sat down with one of her patients, who has found a solution in alternative milk.

Two-year-old Emma Bruns loves her milk, but they haven’t always agreed with one another. When her mom, Becca Bruns decided to stop breastfeeding around Emma’s first birthday, they discovered cow’s milk was not an option for her.

Becca Bruns shares, “She started getting this rash around her tummy and on her back, and she had this stuffy nose that just wouldn’t go away. And that was the only thing that changed in her diet or anything.”

Bruns says with all the alternatives on the shelves these days, it was a bit overwhelming at first.

Bruns adds, “At that point, we were at a different pediatrician. He really just dismissed her skin issues, so I kind of did some of my own research.”

Emma’s current pediatrician, Dr. Amy Juelson says every alternative is totally different.

Dr. Juelson explains, “Differences in protein, calories, fat, calcium and vitamin D.”

She says paying attention to the nutritional benefits of each is crucial.

Dr. Juelson adds, “Specifically in infants and toddlers: the fat, the protein are very important.”

In the above video, we compared some of the more popular alternatives according to the most important elements: fat and protein. You can see why Dr. Juelson says kids should only be taken off of dairy milk if they have an allergy or reaction to it.

Bruns drinks almond milk herself and found it was a great match for Emma too.

She shares, “Haven’t had to deal anymore with any rashes. She just gets the occasional cold and that’s the only stuffy nose she gets. So it’s been awesome.”

And Emma is continuing to grow like any other child her age.

Bruns says she may try switching Emma back to dairy milk in the next couple of years.

We also spoke with a dietician from the Midwest Dairy Council. She told us, “The good news is many kids outgrow a milk allergy by their fourth birthday.”

The big takeaway here: it’s wonderful for families to have options, but as Dr. Juelson says, nothing beats the nutritional benefits of cow’s milk for young kids.

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