3 Things You Didn’t Know About Real Milk

Nutrition Labels Reveal the Real Story for Almond Milk vs. Milk

With so many choices on grocery store shelves today, making the right selection for your family can be confusing. Take milk, for example. How do you know what you should choose — especially if you have growing children at home? Start with the label — it can reveal some surprising information to help you choose your beverage.

Here are three things that may surprise you about real dairy milk. 

1. Milk has more protein than you may think. An 8-ounce glass of real milk has 8 grams of high-quality protein. In fact, it has 8 times more protein than some other plant-based beverages, like almond milk. A glass of almond milk has only one gram of protein per serving. In addition, milk protein is a complete protein, while most plant protein sources are missing some of the amino acids your body needs.

2. Milk has no added sugar. The sugar you do find in milk is from naturally occurring lactose, not added sugar. This is true if you buy whole, lowfat or skim milk (also known as fat free milk). Many types of almond milk, have added sugar so look at the ingredient list for what’s added. Ingredients like cane sugar or cane juice indicate sugar has been added.

3. Milk’s ingredient list is short and simple. Real milk’s ingredient list is short — simply milk and vitamins D and A. And, dairy milk is a nutrient powerhouse naturally providing many nutrients, including protein, calcium and potassium. Compare that to other plant-based milks, like almond milk, which provides no nutrients naturally. Plus, when you look at the ingredient list of many plant-based milks, you’ll find more than 10 ingredients, including stabilizers and emulsifiers like locust bean gum, sunflower lecithin and gellan gum.  

Bottom line? If you aren’t sure, look to the label as your guide to ensure you and your family are getting what you want.


Fat free milk

Vanilla almond milk





8g (16% DV)

1 g (2% DV)



2.5 g


12 g

16 g


12 g

15 g


300 mg (30% DV)

450 mg (45% DV)*


250 mg (25% DV)

19 mg (2% DV)


380 mg (10% DV)

120 mg (4% DV)


0.4 mg (25% DV)

0.43 mg (25% DV)*

Vitamin B-12

1.2 mcg (20% DV)

3 mcg (50% DV)*

Vitamin A

500 IU (10%DV)*

500 IU (10% DV)*

Vitamin D

120 IU (30% DV)*

100 IU (25% DV)*



  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service. 2015. USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 28.

o   USDA #01085; Milk, nonfat, fluid, with added vitamin A and vitamin D (fat free or skim)

o   USDA #14016; Beverages, almond milk, sweetened, vanilla flavor, ready-to-drink

Keep reading: How Does Dairy Milk Compare to Almond Milk?