Regular milk is often referred to as cow’s milk, a white liquid that is produced by cow’s mammary gland and used to feed their young. Soy milk is not technically milk, but a beverage made from soybeans. It’s called milk because it has milk like color and is roughly the consistency of milk.
The primary difference between cow’s milk and soy milk is that the cow’s milk comes from an animal source, while the latter is from a plant source.
Another difference between cow’s milk and soy milk is that soy milk does not contain any lactose while cow’s milk does. Lactose is a natural sugar found in milk. It is digested in the intestines by lactase, an enzyme that responsible for breaking lactose into smaller sugars. If you are lactose intolerance or don’t produce lactase, the lactose goes undigested and may result in lactose maldigestion. The symptoms of lactose maldigestion include bloating, cramping, gas and diarrhea.
Since soy milk doesn’t contain any lactose, it is the best alternative for the lactose intolerant. It’s also a popular cow’s milk substitute for vegans since it’s based on a plant source.
In terms of nutrients, the plant-based milk does not carry the same exceptional nutrient profile as cow’s milk. For instance, cow’s milk is a good source of calcium while soy milk does not. Cow’s milk also has more protein, vitamin B2 and phosphorus than soy milk.
On other hand, soy milk contains plant chemicals called isoflavones, which helps in lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol and responsible for the prevention of cancers, heart disease, and osteoporosis. However, women who have had breast cancer may want to limit their intake of soy milk as several studies have pointed to the possible link between excess soy milk consumption and increased risk of breast cancer.
Both cow’s milk and soy milk can benefit you greatly. As each one have its own health benefits. Depending on your diet and lifestyle, you can benefit from both or individually. Cow’s milk is great for most people as it is more nutrient dense and naturally contains more vitamins, calcium and other minerals than soy milk. Soy milk is great for lactose intolerant persons as well as those who are vegetarians. Either way, both are good for you which are provide essential vitamins and minerals for your body.