Calcium Added To Milk


Can calcium be added to milk? You mean fortified milk? Usually, when you read an article, they will mention that yes, we can add calcium to milk. But what if this wasn’t always possible? Well in the past, it wasn’t. Back in the early 1900s, people didn’t have the technology that we have today. They had to make due with the tools they had on hand.

Calcium Added To Milk

How Much Calcium is in Milk?

For strong, healthy bones, you must consume calcium, right? And if you’re like most Americans, the majority of your dietary calcium comes from milk.

How much calcium is present in milk, though?

Currently, there are rumors that claim that cow’s milk can contribute to osteoporosis. But Lara Pizzorno, our in-house expert on bone health, gathered all the evidence and created a thorough essay dispelling this milk calcium myth.

Cow’s milk is no longer the sole option available in the milk section, though. To accommodate every dietary requirement, there are numerous milk options available from numerous sources. But how do these alternatives compare to cow’s milk in terms of calcium content? Let’s investigate!

Comparing Milk and Milk Alternatives: Almond, Rice, Soy, Coconut, and Goat Milk

We’re going to compare the nutritional value of traditional cow’s milk with five alternatives; almond milk, rice milk, soy milk, coconut milk, and goat’s milk.

Dairy and Soy Amount     Calcium (mg)   
Milk (skim, low fat, whole) 1 cup 300
Buttermilk 1 cup 300
Cottage Cheese 0.5 cup 65
Ice Cream or Ice Milk 0.5 cup 100
Sour Cream, cultured 1 cup 250
Soy Milk, calcium fortified 1 cup 200 to 400
Yogurt 1 cup 450
Yogurt drink 12 oz 300
Carnation Instant Breakfast 1 packet 250
Hot Cocoa, calcium fortified 1 packet 320
Nonfat dry milk powder 5 Tbsp 300
Brie Cheese 1 oz 50
Hard Cheese (cheddar, jack) 1 oz 200
Mozzarella 1 oz 200
Parmesan Cheese 1 Tbsp 70
Swiss or Gruyere 1 oz 270

Milk and milk alternatives: Nutrition comparison per 1 cup

*You may have noticed the value of calcium in almond milk is 0. We thought that was strange too, but it turns out virtually all the calcium in almond milk is added by the manufacturer. You can read more about these “fortified milks” toward the bottom of this page.
Calcium (mg) Protein (g) Total Fat (g) Sugar (g) Total Carbs (g) Calories (kcal)
Cow’s Milk, Whole 300 7.99 9.0 11 11 161
Cow’s Milk, 2% 300 8.0 5.0 12 12 123
Cow’s Milk, 1% 300 8.0 2.5 12 12 102
Cow’s Milk, skim 300 8.0 0 13 12 86
Almond Milk (unsweetened) 0* 1.01 3.49 0 1.99 45
Rice Milk (unsweetened) 283 0.67 2.33 12.7 22 113
Soy Milk 300 6.34 3.59 1.99 8.91 105
Coconut Milk Beverage (unsweetened) 130 0.0 4.1 0.0 1.99 45.6
Goat’s Milk 300 7.99 2.50 10.99 10.99 101

Cow’s Milk

calcium in cow's milk

Cow’s milk has been the go-to source of calcium for decades. And despite the surge in popularity of milk alternatives, cow’s milk still dominates milk sales in the United States. Reports show that dairy milk raked in $16.2 billion in 2017, and cow’s milk makes up the vast majority of that figure.

How much calcium is in cow’s milk?

Whole, 2%, 1%, and skim milk all provide similar amounts of calcium per cup –– about 300 mg. For reference, the recommended daily intake of calcium is 1,000 mg for women under 51 and men under 71. For women over 51 and men over 71, it’s 1200 mg.

Pros of Cow’s Milk Cons of Cow’s Milk
High in calcium Lots of people are allergic to cow’s milk. Most commonly it’s because of two specific proteins– casein and whey
It contains 18 of 22 essential nutrients in one convenient glass Not suitable for a lot of people with dietary restrictions or choices
Very versatile ingredient Questionable practices. There are concerns over how some dairy farms produce cow’s milk

Almond Milk

calcium in almond milk

The past ten or so years have seen a huge increase in the popularity of almond milk in America. According to research, non-dairy milk sales now account for 64% of the market for almond milk. And the expected total annual value of such sales is $2.11 billion!

Almonds and water are blended to create almond milk. The pulp is then removed from the mixture using a strainer, leaving the “milk” left. Some almond milk producers will also use thickeners like carrageenan, which is derived from seaweed. But beware of sweetened almond milk varieties. They are loaded with additional sugar!

How much calcium is in almond milk?

Almonds do contain a fair amount of calcium, but the calcium in almond milk is almost nonexistent (naturally), as it is lost during production. Numerous manufacturers sell almond milk that has been fortified with calcium, which entails adding more calcium to the milk.

But it’s always a good idea to check the label to see which type of calcium is added. Often times, it’s a rock-based calcium your body can’t absorb very well. (We’ve got a whole section on fortified milks toward the bottom of this page.)

A cup of almond milk also contains:

  • 1.01 grams of protein
  • 3.49 grams of fat
  • 0 grams of sugar
  • 1.99 grams of carbohydrates
  • 161 calories
Pros of Almond Milk Cons of Almond Milk
Very low in sugar and fat Very little natural calcium and protein content
100% vegan Not suitable for people with nut allergies
Contains no lactose. And lactose could be bad for your bones. Often contains a lot of unnatural sweeteners (look out for unsweetened varieties)

Rice Milk

rice milk contains calcium
A naturally sweet substitute for cow’s milk is rice milk. It is prepared by combining water and partially milled rice. The rice’s carbohydrates also convert to sugars during this process. The sweetness originates there!

The presence of residues of arsenic in rice milk is less sweet. As you can see, rice absorbs more arsenic than other cereal crops because it is available in the environment. Therefore, it is suggested against giving rice milk to babies and young children.

How much calcium is in rice milk?

Rice milk contains about 283 mg of calcium per cup. Not far off the 300 mg of calcium per cup cow’s milk provides!

A cup of rice milk also contains:

  • 0.67 grams of protein
  • 2.33 grams of fat
  • 12.67 grams of sugar
  • 22.01 grams of carbohydrates
  • 113 calories
Pros of Rice Milk Cons of Rice Milk
One of the least allergenic milk alternatives Provides very little protein
Naturally sweet flavor Not suitable for infants
Low in fat Contains a lot of carbohydrates, so may not be suitable for diabetics

Soy Milk

calcium in soy milk

Soy milk is made from soybeans, as its name suggests. By soaking, grinding, and boiling the mixture with the beans, milk is created. To create the finished product, the liquid must be filtered as the last step.

Research demonstrates that among all cow milk substitutes, soy milk has the highest nutritionally wholesome value. Additionally, soy milk is inherently lactose-free. Therefore, it’s a fantastic substitute for those who cannot tolerate lactose. Unsweetened soy milk, however, takes some getting used to, especially for those who are used to the flavor of cow’s milk. The most genetically modified crop in the world is soybean, too! In actuality, genetically engineered soy is grown on 94% of American soy farmland. Additionally, genetically modified organisms (GMO) have been connected to environmental and health problems. Therefore, it’s preferable to use organic soy milk since this also ensures that it is non-GMO.

How much calcium is in soy milk?

Soy milk only contains 300 mg of calcium per cup.

A cup of soy milk also contains:

  • 9.00 grams of protein
  • 4.51 grams of fat
  • 1.99 grams of sugar
  • 4.01 grams of carbohydrates
  • 91 calories
Pros of Soy Milk Cons of Soy Milk
Lactose-free Soy is a common allergen
The most balanced nutritional value of all cow milk alternatives An acquired taste
Contains lots of isoflavones, which improve blood pressure Most soybean crops in the United States are genetically modified

Coconut Milk Beverage

calcium in coconut milk

Drinking coconut milk is frequently referred to as coconut milk beverage. Additionally, it differs from the coconut milk in cans that you may have previously used in the kitchen. Both products are derived from the mature, brown coconut’s white, meaty portion. Green, immature coconuts provide coconut water. Shredded coconut flesh is boiled in water, filtered, and then cooked. The mixture then divides into an upper, creamy layer and a lower, liquid layer. Cans of coconut milk for cooking contain these two layers together. In contrast, the creamy layer is skimmed off for coconut milk beverages.

Now, compared to other types of milk, coconut milk has a high content of unsaturated fat. It’s not all terrible news, though! Medium-chain triglycerides are a type of fat found in coconut milk. Additionally, research indicate that this kind of fat can aid in the prevention of obesity. Keeping all of that in mind, you might want to use this kind of milk sparingly.

How much calcium is in coconut milk?

Coconut milk contains a modest amount of calcium naturally. But like other milk alternatives, calcium-fortified options are available.

A cup of coconut milk also contains:

  • 0 grams of protein (this is also a common addition to fortified options)
  • 4.01 grams of fat
  • 0.0 grams of sugar
  • 1.99 grams of carbohydrates
  • 45.6 calories
Pros of Coconut Milk Beverage Cons of Coconut Milk Beverage
Contains healthy fats that can promote weight loss The high-fat content can be an issue if consumed in large quantities
Fortified options often contain high amounts of vitamins A and D Provides very little calcium and protein naturally
Coconut isn’t actually a nut, so allergies aren’t a common issue Some of the thickening agents in coconut milk can cause digestive issues for some people

Goat Milk

calcium in goat milk

Goats may not come to mind when considering milk sources, yet outside of the Western world, goat’s milk is very popular! Additionally, goat’s milk and cow’s milk have equal nutritional values. The calcium readings are essentially the same. Due to its smaller protein particles and lower lactose content, goat’s milk also tends to be easier to digest than cow’s milk.

How much calcium is in goat’s milk?

Goat’s milk contains 300 mg of calcium per cup. That’s the same as cow’s milk.

A cup of goat’s milk also contains:

  • 7.99 grams of protein
  • 2.50 grams of fat
  • 10.99 grams of sugar
  • 10.99 grams of carbohydrates
  • 101 calories
Pros of Goat’s Milk Cons of Goat’s Milk
Easier to digest than cow’s milk Very distinct smell and taste
High in calcium Harder to come by in supermarkets and is often expensive as a result
Less allergenic than cow’s milk

Fortified Milks

You might recall that we briefly covered fortified milks earlier on this page. And what do you need to know about them, specifically?

Fortified milk, then, is milk to which a necessary vitamin has been added by the maker. Vitamins A and D are often added to cow’s milk as supplements.

The naturally occurring form of fat-soluble vitamin A is found in cow’s milk. However, since vitamin A is lost during the processing of making skim or skimmed milk, it is really required by law to be added to these products. Regarding vitamin D, it aids in the body’s absorption of the calcium found in milk.

But milk that has been supplemented need not be cow’s milk. The substitute milks we’ve talked about on this page are frequently fortified as well. But in order to match the nutritional content of cow’s milk, these fortified milks have extra calcium added to them. But is it really too good to be true? See if fortified milks are a healthy source of calcium in the video below.


1. Supports bone health

From infancy through age, bone formation requires enough calcium consumption. To maintain adult bone mass at its maximum, intake is also required. Without sufficient calcium consumption, bones thin out, become more fragile, and are more likely to shatter and fracture. Additionally, osteoporosis, which is characterized by a loss of bone mass, is brought on by weakened bones. Due to falls, people with osteoporosis run the risk of developing major health issues. Although women are more likely to develop osteoporosis than males, this does not indicate that men are immune. Since osteoporosis can affect everyone, calcium intake is crucial over the course of a lifetime.

woman with healthy bones running up stairs

2. Helps regulate muscle contractions

Calcium and magnesium combine to control how muscles contract. Calcium is released when muscles activate nerves. Muscle contractions are caused by calcium’s binding to muscle proteins. Magnesium helps muscles relax by blocking calcium. Muscles relax when calcium is pushed out of them. For muscles to work properly, this procedure is crucial.

woman flexing

3. Helps maintain weight

Some studies show that adults and children with low calcium intake are also more likely to gain weight. Calcium does not necessarily accelerate weight loss; however, it is involved in maintaining a healthy metabolism that is needed to maintain a healthy weight.

woman with healthy weight

4. Strengthens teeth

Calcium is essential for the growth and maintenance of strong jawbones and teeth. It aids in maintaining your teeth in place and collaborates with phosphorus during childhood to strengthen your teeth. To protect your teeth from bacteria and tartar that cause cavities and deteriorated oral health, calcium is a component of tooth enamel.

woman with healthy teeth

5. Transports nutrients

Your blood vessels need calcium to help move blood and nutrients through blood vessels. This includes hormones and enzymes that impact nearly every function in the body.

6. Lessens PMS

Low calcium consumption is associated with an increase in premenstrual syndrome symptoms. Common PMS symptoms like discomfort, exhaustion, mood swings, bloating, and food cravings may be lessened with calcium. A healthy, calcium-rich diet will help to lessen the bothersome PMS symptoms that interfere with daily life.

woman with PMS pain

7. Supports heart health

Although the majority of people do not consider calcium to be important for heart health, the heart does. It participates in the process that helps your body contract and pump blood. Calcium has a key role in the contraction and relaxation of heart muscles. Additionally, calcium plays a part in preserving healthy blood pressure and maintaining pressure levels in arteries.

8. Balances pH levels

Calcium aids in preserving your body’s normal acid-alkaline balance by neutralizing acidic substances. Your body is consuming acidic foods if you eat cured meats, sweet snacks, sugary drinks, and a lot of processed meals. Acidity impairs healthy food absorption and harms your wellbeing. Maintaining an acidic environment in your body raises health risks over time, hence it is crucial to promote an alkaline environment.

ph balance

9. Wards off kidney stones

It was once thought that kidney stones were brought on by calcium. According to current studies, dehydration and excessive oxalate consumption are more likely to be the causes of kidney stones than dietary calcium, which can help lower the risk of developing them.

woman with kidney stones

10. Reduces indigestion

In addition to being a dietary supplement, calcium carbonate is also a component in antacids. These antacids provide temporary relief from acid indigestion, heartburn, and a sour stomach.

woman with indigestion

One of the most crucial minerals in the body is calcium. Consuming a healthy diet is crucial to maintaining good health because persistent deficiencies can have a negative influence on health throughout childhood and adulthood. It is crucial to talk to your doctor if you have any concerns about your calcium consumption.

The takeaway

Couple canoeing in the lake on a summer day. Man and woman in two different kayaks in the lake on a sunny day.

You need calcium for overall wellness. The calcium you require can be obtained from a variety of foods and, if necessary, supplements. Because calcium interacts with other minerals, such as vitamin D, it’s critical to have a balanced diet. You should watch your calcium consumption to ensure that you aren’t receiving too much or too little, just like you should with any other mineral or nutrient.

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