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Should Kids Avoid This Kind of Milk?

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola Fact Checked

plant based milk

Story at-a-glance -

  • A panel of experts found plant-based milks, such as rice, nut and seed milk, or milk made from oats or peas, should be avoided by young children
  • For infants aged zero to 12 months, the panel stated plant milks are not recommended; for those aged 1 to 5 years, plant milks were also not recommended for exclusive consumption in place of dairy milk
  • One major problem with plant milks, particularly if you’re giving it to a child as a significant portion of their diet, is that they don’t offer much nutrition and may contain added sugar and unhealthy additives
  • From zero to 6 months, infants need only breastmilk; at 6 to 12 months, breastmilk along with a small amount of pure water (one-half cup to 1 cup a day) can be given
  • For those older than 12 months, the panel recommended a combination of pure water and milk — raw grass fed milk is the best choice, but you can also obtain all of the nutrients found in milk via other whole foods

Plant-based milk has become increasingly popular. Once regarded as a fringe product geared toward “health nuts,” it’s now gone mainstream and is available at many supermarkets and coffee shops. The health benefits, if any, of alternative milks are debatable, and new health guidelines released by a group of health organizations suggest most young children should not consume it.

Childhood nutrition sets the stage for optimal development and lifelong health. What your child drinks is part of this equation, as is what your child does not drink. It’s widely known that sugar-sweetened beverages and even fruit juice should be limited or avoided, but milk is largely considered to be a go-to beverage option for children. However, not all milk is created equal.

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