Coffee orders are weirdly intimate, aren’t they?
Once you find the one that rolls perfectly off your tongue (or mumbles out of your mouth) before 9am, you probably won’t change it for years.
But is your beloved, cherished coffee order that good for you?
‘Who cares?’ you cry, sipping your mocha. ‘It tastes good!’
The answer is no one… if you’re only drinking one a day or every other day. But if you’re known to smash two or more a day, every day, the coffee you order could be affecting your health.
To find out, we asked nutritionist and naturopath Jess Blair to rank your go-to coffee milk choice from not so healthy to healthiest. By healthy, we don’t mean the skinniest or best for weight loss, but how nutritionally sound the milk is and what it can do for your body.
Also, there’s no shame or judgement here about hot chocolates or chai lattes. Just the facts about the milk you’re putting in your coffee.
You might very well decide to stick to your favourite no matter what, but at least you’ll be informed.
Side note – here’s some other things you can do with coffee that are good for you. Post continues after video.
4. Almond milk
Sorry friends, almond milk isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
Yes, it’s nutrient dense and low in calories, but it’s also low in all the other things we drink milk for.
“Almond milk is very nutrient dense and full of protein, fibre, calcium, zinc, selenium and vitamin E. The negative of almond milk is that it does not contain as much calcium as cow’s milk alternatives, leaving us to find our calcium intake from other sources during the day,” Blair told Mamamia.
“Another con is that some almond milks are high in sugar, sweetener and are also processed, so be sure to ask what brand your regular cafe uses or buy unsweetened at the supermarket.”
If you live on almond lattes because you’re avoiding diary or are lactose intolerant, there’s technically a better choice you can make.
3. Soy milk
Fact: Soy milk isn’t as sexy as almond milk.
However, it is designed to bolster your nutrition if you can’t drink cow’s milk.
“Soy milk is lactose-free, so it’s well tolerate by those who are sensitive to lactose. It also has a similar fat content to cow’s milk, is packed full of nutrients, rich in protein and in some cases, fortified with calcium to get the calcium benefits of cow’s milk,” Blair said.
“While nut milks are actually low in calories, they’re also low in protein and don’t offer the wide range of nutrients dairy and soy milks do. Unless someone has an intolerance or preference to avoid dairy, stick to soy.”
2. Skim milk
"Low fat or skim milks are lower in calories and obviously lower in fat than full cream milk," Blair said.
"If you're consciously trying to lose weight or cut your calorie intake, a skim latte will provide a good source of protein and calcium for just 100 calories."
That said, skim milks can contain more sugar to make up for the loss of fat (because fat tastes goooood).
This is one of the reasons skim milk is Blair's runner up.
1. Full cream
Tada! It's probably not a surprise that Blair gave full cream milk, well, full marks.
Yes, 90s advertising and aerobic videos might've told you otherwise, but nutritionally speaking, good ole full cream milk is hard to beat.
"Full cream milk is full of calcium, essential for our bones and our teeth. It’s also packed full of vitamin A and D," Blair said.
"Because of its fat content, full cream milk makes vitamins and minerals easier to absorb."
Speaking of fat, full cream milk indeed contains fat, which is why many turn to skin or no fat milk for a lower calorie option. Only thing is, this choice is kind of counterproductive, Blair said.
"Calorie wise, full cream is higher than some of it’s other milky friends but it has been proven to make us feel fuller for longer because of its fat content, and also its high protein content.
"For those who are not lactose intolerant, it's a nutrient dense milk with all the added benefits of being high in calcium as well as vitamin D, and potassium which our bodies need to survive."
What milk do you put in your coffee? Do you make a conscious effort to order a 'healthier' coffee?