Cow's Milk vs. Soya Milk

Soya milk is marketed as a dairy-free, lactose-free milk alternative. How do they compare in terms of nutrient content?

School Of Nutrition Posted Dec 22, 2015 Future Fit Training

Cow's milk is a significant source of calcium and vitamins. However, it is not suitable for vegans. Also, people who are either lactose intolerant or allergic to cow’s milk may need to avoid it.

Let’s look at some stats comparing cow’s skimmed milk and Alpro Original Soya Fresh milk:

  Cow's skimmed milk Soya Milk
  Portion size  200ml  200ml
  Calories  69kcal  80kcl
  Protein  6.8g  6g
  Carbohydrates  10g  5.6g
    of which sugars  10g  5.4g
  Fat  0.2g  3.6g
  Saturated fat  0.1g  0.6g
  Calcium  248mg  240mg
  Vitamin B2 (riboflavin)  0.2mg  0.4mg
  Vitamin B12  0.8mcg  0.8mcg
  Vitamin D  1.025mcg (41 IU)  1.5mcg (60 IU)
  Ingredients  Pasteurised skimmed milk, 0.1% fat  Water, Hulled Soya Beans (6%), Sugar, Acidity Regulators (Monopotassium Phosphate, Dipotassium Phosphate), Calcium (Calcium Carbonate), Flavouring, Sea Salt, Stabiliser (Gellan Gum), Vitamins (Riboflavin (B2), B12, D2)


Here are some highlights:

  • Both contain similar amounts of protein and calories and are low in saturated fat.
  • Soya milk is higher in total fat than skimmed milk but lower in carbohydrates and sugar.
  • Both contain similar amounts of calcium and vitamin B12 but a glass of soya milk provides more riboflavin and vitamin D than cow’s milk.
  • A quick glance at the ingredients label shows that soya milk has been fortified with calcium and vitamins B2, B12 and D. But it also has added sugar, salt, acidity regulators, flavouring and a stabiliser.

Our winner:  It’s a tie!

Both milks are nutritious, low-fat sources of protein. As soya milk is free from animal product and lactose, it is a suitable alternative for vegans and also for people who are either lactose intolerant or allergic to cow’s milk. However, ideally, you should choose a soya milk with no added sugar, salt and additives. Other cow’s milk alternatives include almond milk, rice milk and oat milk.

Written by Victora Trouse